Ideas Offered for Property Near Airport : Burbank: With Lockheed leaving, the city must decide what to do with a lot of land. Suggestions include recreational uses and an 'urban village.'


Burbank city planners Wednesday presented and listened to a series of long-term plans for the land around Burbank Airport, once dominated by the departing Lockheed Corp.

A community meeting was held at the Burbank Airport Hilton to give the public a chance to voice opinions as to how the land should be used.

The discussion was not limited to the approximately 300 acres to be vacated by Lockheed, but the planned departure of the aerospace giant prompted the discussion about the future of the area around the airport.

Burbank officials want to see the area--which traditionally has been home to heavy, polluting industries--converted to cleaner uses.

Eleven plans were prepared for the city by a private planning firm, ranging from an emphasis on recreational facilities such as golf courses and parks to a high-density residential and commercial "urban village."

The City Council will select three alternatives in January for further study.

Comments by about 50 people who attended--homeowners, community activists, business operators and others--addressed concerns that transportation alternatives keep pace with development and that new projects not be built without careful planning.

Some favored light industrial use at current density, others supported a denser mixed-use development of commercial and residential facilities similar to Warner Center in Woodland Hills.

City Planner Rick Pruetz said the public comments will be compiled and presented to a joint meeting of the City Council and the planning board in October. None of the plans is in a final stage, and public hearings on future uses for the area will begin in 1991, said associate city planner Bill Lundgren.

"These are ideas, but they are not recommendations," he said.

"This is really a smorgasbord of ideas," said Randy Jackson of The Planning Center of Newport Beach.

Some of those who attended said they saw desirable and undesirable features in several plans and encouraged choosing elements from among them.

Since Lockheed announced in May that it was pulling much of its operation out of Burbank and leaving behind about 300 acres, city planners have been looking for new uses for the property. The availability of the land allows planners to recreate Burbank's northwest corner. As part of the plan to control both the type and scale of growth in the area, the City Council in May passed an interim control ordinance that places tough development restrictions on 1,000 acres around the airport for two years.

City planners say the ordinance will buy time for them to make permanent zoning changes and formulate a general plan for area that stretches roughly from the airport to the Golden State Freeway between Empire Avenue and Cohasset Street.

The ordinance affects non-Lockheed property as well, because city officials expect many of the nearby businesses that have depended on the aerospace company will leave or fold when it leaves.

Many residents and businesses--including Lockheed itself--have criticized the ordinance, saying that it will frighten new firms out of locating in the area. They say vacant property must be put back to use quickly to preserve the area's economy.

But any plans for the area may be complicated by the presence of toxic substances in the soil and ground water. Federal health officials have said they have no accurate estimate of how much hazardous material may have seeped into the ground over the years, but the area is the center of cleanup operations under the federal government's Superfund program for polluted land. All properties must receive a clean bill of health before any development can begin.

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