CIVIC CENTER -- Far from ending the challenge, the passage of the
Burbank Historic Preservation Plan merely sets the stage for much work to
come, supporter’s of the historic measure said this week.
The Burbank City Council unanimously approved the plan Nov. 23, but
its authors said they have a tough road ahead in crafting a detailed city
policy that provides both for the restoration and identification of
Craig Bullock, chairman of the Burbank Historical Commission and the
driving force behind the 34-page document, said the six-point plan is
only a blueprint.
“The heritage commission now goes into putting the nuts and bolts into
the plan,” Bullock said. “It’s certainly a tremendous undertaking.”
Though the plan has generally received approval by preservationists
and Realtors, there has been some skepticism about it’s most ambitious
In the coming months, Bullock said he will work with city officials,
the owners of historic properties, Realtors and others to add detail to
the plan. Bullock said it will likely be six months before he returns to
the council with some of that detail in place and longer before the
entire plan is complete.
With its unanimous approval, the council accepted, in principal, the
Mills Act, a 1972 federal law that offers tax breaks to property owners
as an incentive for restoring their classic buildings.
Part of Bullock’s challenge is drafting a plan that both protects the
commercial value of the property for owners, as well as honors it as
Many owners of historic properties are weary of excess restrictions if
they take federal money for a restoration, said Giacinta Koontz, director
of the Portal of Folded Wings, a nationally recognized landmark at the
Valhalla Memorial Park and Mortuary.
“It’s a balance because you have the owners on one hand being afraid
and on the other hand they are looking for help from the government,”
The preservation plan also puts the Burbank Heritage Commission in a
higher-profile role as an advisor on redevelopment projects that involve
properties with historic value.
One of the more controversial elements of the plan asks the city to
revise an ordinance requiring the commission to get permission from
owners of historic places before they can research the property.
“I don’t think people should have the prerogative of inspecting the
property without the owner’s permission,” said Wayne Schulze, president
of the Burbank Association of Realtors. However, Schulze agreed that
properties should be identified if they have historical value.
The plan also seeks to establish a city register that would list
historic properties in Burbank. Bullock said he modeled the idea on the
National Register of Historic Places. The list will initially include the
four National Register properties in the city but will be expanded to
include other landmarks as well.
Historic registers can raise a building’s profile in historic circles,
“Tourists come here because they see it on a list,” Koontz said. “It
BURBANK STRUCTURES ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
Valhalla Memorial Rotunda: 3900 Valhalla Drive, constructed in 1924.
Burbank Post Office, Downtown Station: 125 E. Olive Ave., built in
City Hall: 275 E. Olive Ave., built in 1941.
Bob’s Big Boy Restaurant: 4211 Riverside Drive, built in 1949.