Executives of the Burbank Studios, home of Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures film studios, met with Burbank city officials Thursday to protest a city plan to restrict redevelopment in the West Olive Media District and to limit expansion of studios.
“There is obviously a problem with accommodating the studios, and they are extremely upset about what we’ve proposed,” Burbank City Manager Robert (Bud) Ovrom said after he and Community Development Director Larry Kosmont met with the studio executives.
Gary Paster, president of the Burbank Studios; Edward Medman, vice president of the Burbank Studios, and John Shulman, vice president and general counsel of Warner Brothers studios, objected to findings of a preliminary study indicating that further unrestricted development in the part of Burbank dominated by the studios would cause traffic gridlock.
Several Projects Identified
The study, released by Kosmont and his staff, said that the Media District can accommodate only 1.8 million square feet of further development before traffic chokes the area. But at least 5.5 million square feet in potential projects have already been identified. Kosmont said more than 11 million square feet of development projects could be designated for the district if development were allowed to proceed without controls.
The Media District covers one square mile in the southwest corner of Burbank and is home to several motion picture studios, NBC, St. Joseph’s Medical Center and an increasing number of office buildings, as well as the Burbank Studios. The district is next to residential neighborhoods, and homeowners have complained repeatedly about the growth of industry in their community.
In an effort to establish height and density limits, the city has proposed several formulas.
Plan a ‘Little Unworkable’
“We believe the city plan is well-conceived and well-intended, but a little unworkable,” Shulman said. “The proposal did not really take our needs into account. We want to have room for additional expansion, and we have plans to put up additional facilities in order to allow for a reasonable expansion of our operation.”
Shulman declined to detail how much the Burbank Studios and Warner Brothers want to expand. He said discussions between him and city officials will continue.
Executives at NBC Studios have also expressed displeasure with the proposal, saying it would violate NBC’s legal right to expand and severely limit the network’s development plans.