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Council OKs Omer project

Some members and residents fear multifamily housing facility may affect traffic and safety, but all but one vote in favor of it.

September 12, 2007|By Jeremy Oberstein

BURBANK — The City Council on Tuesday approved a controversial multifamily, two-story project on Omer Lane, upholding by a vote of 4-1 the Planning Board’s recommendation to pass a scaled-down version of the plan.

“It’s a question of if the project is compatible with current . . . zoning codes, and it is,” City Councilman Dave Golonski said of the 12-unit apartment project at 1014 and 1018 Omer Lane. “There is no justification for not approving this.”

But in April 2006,the council upheld an appeal protesting the construction of the then-proposed 15-unit multifamily housing project on the Omer Lane cul-de-sac.

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Citing concerns about its compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood, Golonski said the project was out of character with the neighborhood.The developers, Bob Kunert and Varoozh Saroinan, retooled their plans, shrinking the complex from 15 to 12 units to better accommodate the demands from those opposed to the project.

With a revamped plan, Kunert and Saroinan brought their project to Burbank’s Planning Board. At a July 9 meeting, the board agreed that the project would not have adverse effects on the neighborhood and that it was consistent with the area’s character. Subsequently, the board unanimously approved the project, setting the stage for the council’s consideration Tuesday night.

Property owner Patricia Lake, who originally opposed the project in 2006, spoke to the council on behalf of her Omer Lane neighbors.

“Our street is too small to have a 12-unit building,” she said. “Adding more cars will make matters worse and will create a greater chance for more accidents. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

Saroinan countered that he and Kunert have gone beyond what was needed to deal with neighbors’ concerns.

“Parking spaces were added that were not required to be added,” he said. “This will ease parking concerns.”

The project also carried support from local residents.

Burbank resident Laura Dietz had been following the project since its inception.

“I applaud this builder to want to build something in this housing market,” said Dietz, a Realtor. “This is a beautiful project that will uplift the community.”

Leslie Avery, a property owner on Alameda Avenue, near Omer Lane, approved of the project as well.

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