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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

Stan Hyman, a Burbank resident who lives three miles from the airport, is concerned that the facility flies in the face of the development agreement.

“By disregarding the development agreement, theoretically they could build whatever they want,” he said.

“Who’s to stop [them] from building a second story? The development agreement is useless if they agree to this.

“The city is willing to give up the protections we have from expanding the terminal.”

If plans are not approved, the airport could lose the new equipment, said Dan Feger, the airport’s deputy executive director.

“The authority is committed to . . . house this $2.5-million investment.” he said.

“Otherwise the [Transportation Security Administration] will take it elsewhere.

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“This allows for a more rapid assessment of what’s in people’s bags. Opening bags in the lobby takes time and exposes people to potential hazards. This will allow for a much more sophisticated analysis. We all benefit from having a better inspection of those bags.”

The impetus for building a new facility hinged on whether the airport received a mandate to do so from the Transportation Security Administration.

The development agreement requires that a permitted terminal expansion project be explicitly mandated by the security administration, Barlow said.

“The report concludes that the proposed improvements are necessary to meet a federal or state mandate that cannot be accommodated within the existing footprint of the terminal,” he wrote in a memorandum Monday.

Barlow referred to a letter from the security administration as a mandate.

In a July 31 correspondence, then-Assistant Federal Security Director Blanca Morales said the current space in Terminal B allotted for security is “inadequate,” and that Burbank is being considered for a new baggage-screening device.

Burbank resident David Piroli, who attended the meeting, was asked if the letter amounts to an explicit mandate.

“No, it doesn’t,” he said. “[Morales] very specifically . . . says Burbank is being considered for equipment. How do you go from being considered to being mandated? The two words don’t gel together.”


 JEREMY OBERSTEIN covers City Hall and public safety. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at jeremy.oberstein@ latimes.com.

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