Members of the Burbank Planning Board unanimously approved a project that would bring several Armenian groups under one roof and provide a new community center with a gym, basketball court and office space.
Eighty-eight people on Monday pulled cards to speak during the meeting, all of them in support of the project. However, 80 of them waived their right to speak and just wanted to show that they were behind the center, which will be located at 75 E. Santa Anita Ave. in a commercial area with no residential neighborhoods nearby.
“It’s nice to see such a cohesive group,” board member Undine Petrulis said to the crowd, which included residents of all ages, including members of local Scout groups.
Referring to the center’s combined uses as a puzzle, board member Doug Drake said the location is ideal.
“It seems like it fits perfectly there,” he said.
Plans call for using an existing industrial building as the centerpiece for the project, which would include a 5,707-square-foot basketball court and 2,697-square-foot gym on the first floor, as well as 5,978 square feet of office space.
A second floor with 3,509 square feet of additional office space will be constructed, according to the plans.
The offices will be used by the Armenian Relief Society, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Youth Federation, Armenian National Committee, Homenetmen and Scout groups.
All of the organizations currently have offices in different locations. They would like to combine in one building because they have similar goals and regularly work together.
A post-production company was previously in the building. It had only nine parking spaces, far fewer than the 50 spaces that city planners calculated would be needed for a community center with substantial office space.
However, the owner of an adjacent office building is expected to enter into a five-year lease agreement to provide 41 spaces to the center. City officials said the nearby offices do not need the spots during weekday evenings and weekends — times when the center will be open.
Vahe Hovanessian, chairman of the Planning Board, said he believed the 41 parking spaces will be more than the center needs.
“I think 41 spots off-campus are rarely going to be used in full,” he said.
The basketball court, gym and offices will open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. during the week. On weekends, the basketball court and gym will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the offices will be closed.