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City should reject proposed airport development pact

October 16, 2004

The relationship between the Burbank City Council and the public who

elected them has reached a new low over the proposed airport

development agreement. How are we to trust a City Council that makes

every effort to promote airport expansion by working out secret

agreements with the Airport Authority behind closed doors, while

denying our right to vote on airport expansion as promised by the

landslide passage of Measure B?

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In 1999, the city entered into a trust agreement with the Airport

Authority after the City Council spent $14,000,000 of our tax dollars

in court, resulting in the state of California awarding the city of

Burbank land-use rights over the 131-acre B-6 property. The agreement

further required that the city and the airport sell the massive

property if they did not enter into a development agreement by May

2000, and they did not. The default document acknowledging the

failure was filed, although now there appears to be controversy that

this actually happened, and the document cannot be found at the

County Recorder's office.

That was four years ago. What has the city done to honor the

contact, while we waited for the B-6 property would be sold? On Oct.

3, 2001, without public knowledge, the city manager sent a letter to

the Airport Authority telling them not to pursue the sale of the

property in order to work "on a plan that would allow the Authority

to relocate the terminal onto the B-6 property". They met with City

Council members of Glendale and Pasadena to encourage them to oppose

the sale.

Now the city is considering a new development agreement that will

extend the trust agreement on the 131-acre B-6 property for 10 years,

as well as allow the airport to purchase an additional 29 acres of

property from Star Park, in exchange for the promise that the airport

won't build a new terminal building for 10 years.

Does a 10-year relief sound good? No way. In June, just a few

weeks before the "deal" was proposed, the FAA issued a report titled

"Capacity Needs in the National Airspace System," specifying that

additional capacity at Burbank Airport is not needed until the year

2013 or 2020. The deal expires just when the FAA predicts a need for

increased capacity, and the desirable B-6 property will be available.

Perfect timing for them. This deal gives the airport everything it

wants in the form of 160 acres of land for future expansion, and the

politicians can put the "deal" on their resume, but the residents of

Burbank get nothing but fewer restrictions, and potentially more

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