Burbank Airport replacement terminal talks are set to resume

Burbank officials will resume talks this week with representatives of Burbank Airport about a proposal for a 14-gate replacement terminal.

The City Council is scheduled to meet Wednesday with officials from the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority at Buena Vista Library. The authority's nine-member commission is made up of three representatives from each city.

Before the terminal project can proceed, the authority needs approvals from the Burbank City Council and the city's voters. The authority needs the city to release an easement that would give the authority access to the proposed development site.

But the council has long argued for a change in the authority's governance that would enhance its role on "critically important" decisions affecting the airport, which is within the city's limits. Currently, only five votes are needed for approval on such decisions, even if all of Burbank's representatives vote no.

The Burbank City Council wants a consensus vote of the three cities on some specific issues, such as increasing the number of commercial airline passenger gates beyond 14 and amending the authority's noise rules.

Last week, Burbank City Manager Mark Scott said recent conversations with Dan Feger, the airport's executive director, had been "hopeful." He said airport officials have suggested that the authority might be agreeable to Burbank's conditions.

Scott said Feger also indicated that a proposal to delegate the building-inspection process to Glendale or Pasadena — an issue important to the authority — would be "very warmly received and that perhaps we might be getting very close to resolving those two issues." But, he cautioned, "this is just two staff people talking. I want to put a big asterisk on it."

Even if all goes well among officials, however, Burbank voters would still have the final say. Under Measure B, a public vote is required to validate any council action on an expanded or relocated airport terminal. And this process could take at least a year.

At Wednesday's meeting, residents will have an opportunity to make comments or ask questions. Council members were clear, however, that the meeting would not involve negotiating.

"It's not an outright negotiation," Councilman David Gordon said. "It's an opportunity to exchange ideas publicly."


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