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Op-ed: Building a better plan for IKEA

February 11, 2014|By Sharon A. Springer
  • Ikea shoppers head inside the N. San Fernando Road store in Burbank on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.
Ikea shoppers head inside the N. San Fernando Road store… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

There is little effort being made to mitigate the negative impacts of the proposed new IKEA at 805 S. San Fernando Blvd. between Alameda and Verdugo. There are benefits to IKEA expanding in Burbank: jobs, sales tax revenue, recycling underutilized real estate to more productive uses, and proximate shopping for Burbank and other nearby residents. Unfortunately, these positives do not offset the negative impacts and the importance of mitigating them. We must insist, encourage and help IKEA be a good neighbor. Indeed, mitigation is consistent with the "spirit of IKEA — to create a better everyday life for the many people."

The project's massive 472,000 square foot size generates impacts beyond the store property borders and, without mitigation, the proposed IKEA is in conflict with the Burbank 2035 Plan, the Burbank Center Plan, and Assembly Bill 1358, the Complete Streets Act of 2008. Through a process of omitting or not adequately considering surrounding land uses, the EIR ignores the project's cumulative impacts and is therefore in conflict with the requirements of CEQA.

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Impacts and issues include:

  • Worsened air quality once the store is operational

  • Urban heat island effect of the IKEA parking lot

  • Cumulative impacts in the context of the larger neighborhood, the two proposed hotels, and its location on the South San Fernando Road corridor between Magnolia and Alameda avenues.

  • Circulation and safety of pedestrians, children, the elderly, the disabled, the visually impaired and those using walkers and wheelchairs

  • A goal of 100% of the regional shopper traffic should access the store directly from the 5 Freeway and via First Street.

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