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Top 10 Stories Of The Year

December 30, 2006

On March 7, the City Council passed interim fencing standards, which raised the height limit for residential fences by one foot in most cases and allowed existing fences to remain in place as long as they do not pose a safety hazard.

The council's vote also established a Blue Ribbon Task Force, which would review the interim standards before they are put in place permanently.

Since municipal law requires city inspectors to investigate all complaints filed against homeowners, inspectors were obligated to respond to all 571 that were filed.

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At the onset of inspections, city planners predicted that quite a few properties were consistent with the old fence codes and two-thirds of the complaints would likely be eliminated immediately because they were in compliance with the new standards.

Smoking ban drifts into Burbank

5 At the request of several Burbank residents, the council took up the idea of joining the ranks of cities like Calabasas and Santa Monica that prohibit smoking in public places.

Proponents argue that a smoking ban would make for a cleaner and healthier environment in city centers. But opponents contend that limiting behavior infringes upon personal rights.

At the request of the City Council, the city attorney's office produced several municipal smoking ordinances already in place in other cities. The constraints range from all-out prohibition of smoking in public to specified limits that designate areas where smokers can smoke outside.

The story snagged the attention of the national press and representatives from health organizations like the American Cancer Society turned up in Council Chambers when city officials discussed the issue at the Dec. 5 council meeting.

At that meeting the council directed city staffers to outline a range of elements for a potential ordinance, which will go before the council and the public in what should be a contentious hearing process.

Standard prompts business concerns

6 In what was arguably the biggest rallying of Burbank's business community in 2006, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce led a contingency of property owners and developers opposed to a land-use standard that would limit the scope of development projects.

The proposed standard, called the Trip-Based Intensity Measurement Standard, or TIMS, would base the allowable square footage for new developments on a formula that takes into account both the size of a parcel and the number of expected vehicle trips the business is expected to create.

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