“The reason is almost entirely economic,” said Tom Sloan, deputy building official. “Burbank has a particularly good housing base, and a good commercial base, but it is not protected.”
The number of permits issued by the city dropped from 389 in January 2007 to 248 in January 2009. Similarly, inspections in that period decreased from 1,916 to 1,214. Revenue from permits went from $241,124 in January 2007 to $122,055 in January 2009.
Rough economic conditions have put equal strain on developers, who in the last year have submitted 40% fewer building applications to the city than the year before. The City Council in January pored over a list of eight projects that entered plan check before Jan. 1, 2008, and whose plan checks and permits had expired. A plan check is one of the final stages before construction can begin.
The projects include a three-story office and retail building at 1112 W. Burbank Blvd., a four-unit residential project at 565 E. Cypress Ave., a 20-unit residential project at 514 Harvard Road, a two-story warehouse building at 124 W. Linden Court, a 12-unit residential project at 1014 Omer Lane, a two-unit residential project at 423 E. Verdugo Ave. and a two-story office building at 4201 W. Magnolia Blvd.
The council weighed extending the deadlines, but ultimately passed on the decision because some of the projects, including the two-story office on Magnolia Boulevard, faced fierce opposition from neighbors.
“As a result of that decision, probably about a dozen projects ended up expiring,” Forbes said. “If and when they want to proceed, they have to start the projects over again.”