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Firm approves new screening facility

Project to add building for baggage inspection at Bob Hope Airport takes a step forward despite drawing its share of criticism.

November 07, 2007|By Jeremy Oberstein

CITY HALL — In a bid of support to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, an airport design firm has backed a new baggage-screening facility that critics contend violates Burbank’s development agreement.

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell’s decision approving plans for the facility moves the project one step forward.

The city hired the firm two weeks ago to look into whether the project meets federal aviation security requirements, and whether it satisfies terms of the airport’s 2005 development agreement with the city, City Atty. Dennis Barlow said.

The Community Development Department plans to issue its decision today on whether the project meets those terms, and residents have until Nov. 26 to appeal the decision, Principal Planner Michael Forbes said.

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“While the question is complex and requires a detailed examination of a number of technical and legal sources, the application is for a project that is consistent with the development agreement,” according to a memorandum from Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell that was released Monday.

The issue hinged on whether the new facility breached the development agreement Burbank and Bob Hope Airport agreed to in 2005 to govern against terminal expansion.

“This confirms what we’ve thought all along about this project,” Airport Authority Commissioner Charlie Lombardo said.

“It’s for passenger safety and convenience.”

City officials held a public meeting Monday night to announce the firm’s findings.

Airport Authority Executive Director Dios Marrero extolled the virtues of the proposed $8-million to $10-million 4,500-square-foot facility that would house a new, $2.5-million computerized baggage inspection system for Terminal B.

“This is something I fundamentally believe is an improvement to the community, to public safety and to security,” he said. “We believe this is serious and is intended to be a good thing.”

Members of the business community also rose in support of the project.

“Safety is the primary issue,” Burbank Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Gary Olson said.

“All precautions necessary must be in place to assure that baggage is screened properly. Security has to take precedence over concerns that the airport is expanding.”

Concerns over airport expansion are what brought many out to the meeting.

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