Foes of Proposed Burbank Air Terminal Get More Time to Protest
The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority decided Monday to give its new terminal’s enemies, including the City of Los Angeles, more opportunity to complain.
The authority voted at a special meeting to extend the deadline for comment on a draft environmental report from today to Jan. 15, and to hold a public meeting at the Burbank Hilton the night of Dec. 14.
Los Angeles City Council members, and others who oppose the planned terminal at Burbank Airport, had asked at a Nov. 20 public meeting for more time to review the draft document.
Airport commissioners said they were not legally obligated to hold another public session, but will do so anyway, partly because a number of those who showed up for the earlier meeting left without having a chance to speak.
The commissioners differed over whether those who spoke at the first meeting should be restricted, to encourage diversity instead of duplication of comment. A decision was postponed until the regular commission meeting Monday.
Although the authority’s meetings are open to any type of public comment, almost all those who spoke at the first meeting, and all those who asked for more time, expressed hostility to the planned new terminal. They complained that because it would be larger, it would cause more noise, traffic, pollution and safety problems.
The City of Los Angeles, in a letter requesting more time for review of the draft, said the document is “highly technical and complex” and that the original 45-day review period includes the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, when work time is lost.
Leading the opponents of the planned terminal at the first public meeting were Los Angeles City Councilmen Joel Wachs and Zev Yaroslavsky, whose districts include San Fernando Valley neighborhoods where groups protesting airport noise are strong.
Also appearing were representatives of Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City), state Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys), County Supervisor Ed Edelman, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and City Councilman Michael Woo.
The new terminal would have 285,000 square feet of space, more than double the existing terminal’s 130,000 square feet, and the number of boarding gates for aircraft would increase from 14 to 18. It could handle as many as 92,270 takeoffs and landings a year, almost double last year’s 50,827, and 7.3 million passengers annually, more than twice last year’s 3 million.
The Federal Aviation Administration has been pushing airport administrators to construct a new terminal because the present structure, built more than 50 years ago, is too close to the runways to meet modern safety regulations.
However, anti-noise groups have repeatedly called for limits on airport operations, including controls on the direction of jetliner takeoffs and a ceiling on the number of flights allowed. The airport administration argues that, under federal law, it has no authority to do either.