Fate of replacement terminal will be in the hands of Burbank voters

It will be up to Burbank voters in November to decide whether the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority can build a 14-gate replacement terminal at Hollywood Burbank Airport.

The Burbank City Council voted 4-1, with Councilman David Gordon dissenting, to approve the airport authority’s environmental-impact report on the project and the development agreement between the city and the airport authority that lays out the ground rules on the project during a meeting on Monday

However, the authority cannot move forward with its plans unless the majority of Burbank’s roughly 64,000 registered voters approve the plans in a Measure B vote. The City Council also voted 4-1 that night to place measure B on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. Gordon also voted against that item.

Gordon did agree to his appointment to write the argument against Measure B. The councilman can be joined by four other people from the public to help write the argument.

Mayor Jess Talamantes, Vice Mayor Will Rogers, Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy, Councilman Bob Frutos and one other signatory will prepare the argument in support of the measure.

Under Measure B, voters must approve any project on the northeast site of the Hollywood Burbank Airport known as the B-6 parcel, on which the city holds an easement.

The authority plans to build a 355,000-square-foot, 14-gate terminal on the B-6 site to replace the current 232,000-square-foot, 14-gate facility built in the 1930s.

Airport officials have said that the existing terminal does not comply with current Federal Aviation Administration standards and does not meet current state seismic standards.

If Measure B fails in November, the authority is ready to move forward with constructing a 355,000-square-foot, 14-gate terminal or a 232,000-square-foot, 14-gate terminal at the southwest quadrant of the airfield, where airport officials have said does not require voter approval because the airport owns the property.

All three options were reviewed under the environmental-impact report.

Gordon, who has been against the project for months, repeated to his colleagues that the project is not sound, and he spoke again about how the environmental-impact report was not detailed enough.

Additionally, the councilman took issue with the development agreement, specifically a key component that establishes a super-majority voting protocol whenever the airport authority discusses major issues, such as adding more gates, expanding the terminal or entering into long-term agreements.

In the super-majority protocol, two members from each of the cities on the nine-member authority board must approve items regarding those major issues.

Gordon said the development agreement would bypass the City Council on these issues and offers no protection for Burbank residents.

“Whether it’s a council member sitting on the airport commission or an appointed non-council member on the commission, the vote will be cast in open or closed session before Mr. Rogers or before anyone else knows anything about it and it’s done,” he said, referring to fellow Councilman Will Rogers. “There’s no environmental review and there’s no council review and there’s no public review.”

Gordon also did not like Measure B appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot because it will require a special election, which is estimated to cost the city about $193,200. At the city’s last meeting, Gordon suggested having the election during the April 2017 municipal election, which would be less expensive.

While the city will have to pay for the election costs up-front, the airport authority agreed earlier on Monday to reimburse the city, even if it is more than what they estimated.

According to Gordon, he saw the authority’s reimbursement as a gift to public funds, which should not be allowed.

By Anthony Clark Carpio, Burbank Leader