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Opinions mixed on Platt

January 24, 2004

Jackson Bell

Hoping to appease residents who live near the site of the proposed

Burbank Media Center project, developers this week presented a new

design scenario that would eliminate office space.

Representatives of the Platt Companies introduced their latest

design revision -- the project's fifth -- at a community meeting

Tuesday at the Buena Vista Branch Library. Instead of commercial

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space, the proposal calls for 298 condominiums, with the tallest

building standing nine stories high.

Under the plan, traffic would be reduced from more than 6,000 cars

per day to about 2,300, developers said.

"We're building something that is a benefit to the local

community," said Mark Wittenberg, a project spokesman. "I think

neighbors like that we came back with a smaller project, that we sat

down and really did some work and put forth a project that responds

to [traffic and height] concerns."

The proposed $150-million project, which has been in the works for

nearly four years, has undergone multiple revisions since it was

rejected by City Council in April.

The triangle-shaped lot on nearly four acres is bordered by

Alameda and Lima streets and Olive Avenue.

Some in attendance who live near the project site were pleased to

see developers change their plans to make the project more compatible

with the neighborhood.

"I would be happy to see the homes go there," said Robert Dennis,

who lives in the 300 block of North Catalina Street. "Since they are

on the higher end of the [value] scale, it can only boost our home

value. And there won't be as much transient traffic in the area."

Others who attended the meeting to express concerns about building

height and traffic congestion, said Platt representatives didn't

provide enough information to convince them the revised project won't

negatively affect the neighborhood.

"[Developers] have been very good about meeting with the

neighbors, but this town hall meeting was a waste of time," said Rolf

Darbo, an outspoken critic of the project who lives in the 300 block

of Avon Street. "They talked about what they were presenting but

really didn't have anything worth looking at."

The new scenario presented Tuesday would include about 60% of

open-air space with landscaping by architect Peter Walker, who was

selected earlier this month to design the World Trade Center memorial

in New York, Wittenberg said.

Another community meeting will be scheduled once the city

concludes the project's environmental impact report in late February,

developers said.

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