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Burbank Airport Story Slanted Toward Growth

* The article “Squabbles Stall Airport Expansion in Burbank” [Dec. 17] was definitely written to support the proponents of a new, larger air terminal. There is mention that “each side in the debate boasts its own set of numbers,” and then only the numbers that show levels of airplane noise have fallen are printed. No mention is made that the airport operates with a variance and must have hearings every three years because it is incompatible with the surrounding area. When the projected number of passengers is mentioned, nothing is said about the thousands of dollars spent on advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio and television to assure that more people will use the airport.

Also, nothing is mentioned in support of residents directly surrounding the airport. The airport is surrounded mainly by homes, and is not an area conducive to expansion. The airport’s environmental impact report has plans to widen streets such as Hollywood Way and Buena Vista in Burbank to six lanes to better accommodate the crowds projected to use the airport. These streets are lined mainly with homes and apartments. Children and families cross them daily to go to schools, parks and stores.

Most opponents of the expansion agree that the terminal could be modernized and a new baggage area created. We don’t want the airport to go away, we just want it to be a responsible neighbor. We have asked for a curfew and a cap on flights. We don’t want uncontrolled growth. Unfortunately, the three Glendale Airport Authority members and two from Pasadena continually vote against any issues that would benefit residents surrounding the airport. Also, as the “squabble” escalates, there are more reports of lies, secret meetings and improperly spent funds. If the airport can’t be run efficiently as it is now, how can a responsible expansion take place?

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An airport such as the Burbank Airport, situated in a densely populated area, should not be required to service the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita/Newhall area, Antelope Valley, Ventura and Santa Barbara. The fact that these are all rapidly growing areas and the fact that the use of the airport is projected to grow so drastically signals the need for another airport in an area that needs jobs and has more space, such as in the Antelope Valley.

Another thing the article fails to mention is that no matter how “quiet” an airplane is, more planes mean more noise and more air pollution. Burbank now has an expanding mall, expanding office spaces, expanding studios and the possibility of a toxic cleanup smokestack to clean property left contaminated by Lockheed. The airport will bring even more ground and air pollution. How much more pollution can the Valley take? Where does environmental responsibility begin?

GAIL NICOL

Burbank


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