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Burbank Planning Board denies appeal of proposed single-family home

The Burbank Planning Board determined that a proposed single-family home project near the city’s hillsides met all the requirements laid out by the city’s recently adopted guidelines.

Board members unanimously voted on Monday to deny an appeal of the project and allow the Gregorian family to build a two-story, 2,358-square-foot house at 407 S. Bel Aire Drive. Family members said they think they’ve modified the proposed home’s plans to abide by new single-family home guidelines adopted by Burbank officials in January 2017.

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Anita Gregorian, who represented her family during the public hearing, said she and her family members have done everything the city has asked them to do, including reducing the house’s floor-area ratio to be below 0.4, setting back the front-facing garage and having a setback for the second-floor balcony.

“You tell us we’ve made a mistake, and we correct it,” she said. “I understand that [appellant Simon Hammel] was upset that there were some misunderstandings or we did something incorrectly, but they were rectified later on.”

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Hammel, who lives across the street from the proposed house, argued that city planning staff allowed numerous code violations and did not follow the guidelines when the application was approved on May 21.

He said he was also concerned that the project might include a basement and an accessory unit in the back of the property, which he said were not addressed in previous plans.

Additionally, Hammel said the proposed house would ruin his view and ultimately have a negative impact on the property values of his house and the homes around the Gregorians’ property.

“What are we doing here?” Hammel said during the hearing. “This project doesn’t meet basic approval standards that all other projects must meet when they’re treated fairly.”

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Lisa Frank, an associate planner for Burbank, said the city did not allow any code violations, and that whenever an issue arose during the planning of the house, they asked the homeowner to fix the plans so they followed the city’s guidelines.

Regarding views, Frank said the city is not required to analyze the impact on views for a single-family home project unless the house is being built in the hillside zone of the city.

She added that the proposed house’s height measures out to be 24 feet and 9.25 inches, which is below the maximum of 30 feet.

Frank added that there are no plans for the property to have a basement, and that the existing accessory unit on the property will be demolished.

With only the two-story home and an attached two-car garage, Frank said the house’s floor-area ratio was 0.399, which is just under the 0.4 limit.

Board member Apraham Atteukenian grilled Hammel, saying his claims were blown out of proportion.

“My disappointment came from the language used in describing your concerns, [which was] somewhat excessive, excessive in the sense that they were conclusory,” Atteukenian said. “They had no factual support.”

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