City officials have temporarily suspended work on a report studying the environmental impacts of constructing a new 14-gate terminal at Bob Hope Airport following unresolved differences between the city of Burbank and the airport.
The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority last week voted to defer considering making a payment of nearly $800,000 for the report, which includes the second half of the cost of the nearly $1.4 million report on the proposed terminal as well as potential development of the 58-acre parcel, known as the “B6” site, until Aug. 18.
The first payment was made when the city began preparing the report last November.
The authority will reconsider making the second payment next month, giving officials time to try to resolve their differences. The two parties have yet to reach consensus on the project’s description, as well as how many alternatives and what specific alternatives to study in the report, said airport spokesman Victor Gill.
One disagreement, according to the airport’s Executive Director Dan Feger, is whether to study potential governance changes in the report.
Specifically, he said, the authority is offering to change its voting structure from a simple majority to a super-majority for certain decisions, which airport officials said would protect the public and the Burbank City Council from major expansions.
Each city has three representatives on the authority's commission. The changes would include requiring two representatives from each city to approve certain decisions for them to move forward, officials said. Therefore, a majority of the commission could be in favor of the decision, but a city can vote it down if two of its representatives are against it.
“It’s the authority’s position that those governance changes should be studied in the EIR,” Feger said. “The city takes a different position.”
Additionally, under the California Environmental Quality Act, the city has to study project alternatives that would have less of an environmental impact. Feger said the airport’s ideas for alternatives are not in alignment with those of the city, which has the final say.
“Our intent is not to build a development that doesn’t serve the needs of the community, or overwhelms the infrastructure of the community,” Feger said. “The only thing we ask is whatever gets built there is compatible with the airport.”
Burbank City Manager Mark Scott said he’s hopeful this will be a short delay.
“They have to pay the bills,” Scott said. “They want to make sure they’re paying bills on things they consider are of legitimate public-policy consideration. We obviously have an obligation to sit and listen.”