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City Council OK’s downtown BID

Ben Godar

The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to establish a

property-based business improvement district after a resounding 82%

of property owners who cast ballots voted in favor of assessments to

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improve the downtown area.

“Congratulations to all of you,” Mayor Stacey Murphy said,

following the tabulation of ballots cast by property owners who will

be taxed to help pay for capital improvements, maintenance, security

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and promotions under the plan. “I know you put a lot of long, hard

work into this, and it has paid off.”

A total of 133 property owners fall within the boundaries of the

proposed district, which would be bordered roughly by Burbank

Boulevard, Glenoaks Boulevard, Verdugo Avenue and the Golden State

(5) Freeway. All property owners within the proposed district would

have to pay the assessment whether or not they voted for the

district. It was not announced at the meeting how many property

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owners cast ballots.

Unlike former plans, the latest proposal would include the Media

City Center and new residential and commercial developments slated

for the old police block across from City Hall.

Under the proposed district, property owners would be assessed 16

cents per square foot of land and $2 per linear front footage along

San Fernando Boulevard south of Magnolia Boulevard. The yearly fees

would range from $217,000 for the mall to $254 for the smallest lot.

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Downtown Manager Gail Stewart said the district would allow

downtown merchants to fund improvements the city cannot provide.

“It will be possible to get a lot more done, such as smart parking

and way-finding,” she said. “Without a [property-based business

improvement district], I don’t think those things would be able to

happen -- the city’s budget is so tight.”

The city of Burbank and Burbank Unified School District will also

be subject to the assessment, but city officials have recommended the

Redevelopment Agency cover the total annual cost of about $81,100.

The business improvement district’s total annual budget would be

approximately $730,000.

The improvement district would be established for a five-year

period before it would have to be renewed, and is estimated to take

in more than $3 million during that time. A yet-to-be appointed board

of directors would govern the group, with members representing areas

of the district as well as large- and small-business owners.

The focus groups and research that went into formulating the

proposed improvement district were beneficial in creating a dialogue

between downtown property owners, Chamber of Commerce Executive

Director Susan Bowers said.

“The process helped develop a vision of what downtown can be,”

Bowers said. “In a few years, I think you’re going to see this

marvelous downtown.”


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