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Terminal Plan Could Be Put to Public Vote

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

The planned new Burbank Airport terminal would be submitted to a public vote under two rival measures announced Monday--both of which threaten to undermine the fragile compromise forged by city and airport negotiators.

City Councilman Bob Kramer said he wants to put an advisory measure before Burbank voters on the proposed 14-gate terminal, which could be expanded to 19 gates if additional noise limits are put in place.

Also Monday, a group led by former Councilman Ted McConkey filed papers with the secretary of state’s office for an initiative that would bar expansion of the terminal beyond 14 gates, place caps on the number of flights and institute a mandatory curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

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McConkey’s group would have up to 180 days to collect 7,700 signatures to qualify as an initiative for the municipal ballot, said Burbank City Clerk Judie Sarquiz.

Both proposals come just three weeks after Burbank city officials and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority reached a tentative agreement to build a new $330-million terminal in three phases.

“It’s too important a decision for the five of us to decide on our own,” said Kramer, referring to the City Council. “I would be more comfortable with the entire city weighing in on the issue and I would be happy to take their recommendation seriously.”

Kramer said he will ask the council to approve his measure at its Aug. 31 meeting. If approved, it would set a special election on the advisory measure within 180 days.

To save money, Kramer wants to hold the election by mail, with just one polling place as an alternative--City Hall.

McConkey’s measure would effectively take away the council’s discretion on the issue. McConkey said the council could not be trusted to act in the best interests of the residents.

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“Let’s finally put the question to rest by asking the people,” he said. “If the people turn this down, then they will never hear from me on the airport again.”

Dios Marrero, the Airport Authority’s acting director, declined comment on both measures.

“It’s premature to comment at this stage,” Marrero said.

Last week, more than 250 people attended the first in a series of public hearings. Many residents accused Burbank negotiators of caving in to the Airport Authority in reaching a deal for a new facility.

The draft plan for the new terminal still faces two public hearings before a City Council vote sometime in late October or November.

The new facility would be built northeast of the airport’s main runway and have 5,000 parking spaces. It would be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 p.m. to reduce aircraft noise.

The second phase of the expansion could not begin until the FAA approves the nighttime curfew. If that happens, the authority could then add two gates and 1,000 parking spaces.

The third phase is contingent on the elimination of noise levels averaging 65 decibels or more in adjoining residential neighborhoods.

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Burbank officials said the draft plan is consistent with past pledges to limit the size of the terminal, once planned for 19 gates with expansion to 27 gates.

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