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Project not in the best interest of community

This letter is in response to the article on the community meeting on

the Platt project. I have to laugh at the comments made by the sole

attendee who was in favor of the project. He stated that due to the

negativity of Burbank residents, “They never get anything done.”

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Apparently this individual has not looked around town to see recently

completed, and ongoing, development here in Burbank. Possibly if

every street in town is gridlocked due to the excessive density of

overdevelopment, this individual will be a happy camper.

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A bit about the meeting itself: It was conducted by a public

relations firm, Marathon Communications. The individual in charge,

Richard Lichtenstein, was described by several members of the

audience as being rude and condescending. They were being quite

charitable in so describing him.

It was evident that the folks from Platt and Marathon are not the

least interested in any real community involvement in developing a

suitable plan for the development of this site. The community, the

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planning board, and the City Council soundly rejected the last

proposal. Platt has now begun the process again, with five different

development scenarios that have been put forth to city planners. None

of these five scenarios was even shared with those of us in

attendance at the meeting.

Instead of trying to hold additional meetings in which the entire

community could be involved Marathon tried to use the oldest trick in

the book; divide and conquer. They proposed to have small meetings of

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only 5 to 12 residents at a time so that they could coerce and cajole

them into supporting one of the scenarios. No one in attendance at

the meeting rose to this bait.

Another cute trick Marathon tried to pull off was to have the next

meeting over the Labor Day weekend, when they know full well that

attendance would be low. To say that Platt and Marathon blew any

credibility they may have had with their conniving ways would be an

understatement.

Many attendees voiced the same concerns which they, the planning

board, and the council had voiced earlier: The buildings are too

tall, they shadow nearby residences and block the view of the

Hollywood Hills, the project far exceeds density requirements

outlined in the Media District Specific Plan, and of course,

excessive traffic would be created in an area in which intersections

are already given a D rating for movement of vehicles.

One particular complaint I had with the last plan was the

inclusion of a 30,000-square-foot health club. By my calculations,

this proposed health club would have to have roughly 2,000 members

just to break even. Given this huge membership, we could expect up to

4,000 vehicle trips each weekday just for the health club. Parking

for the entire project was set at only 2,000 total parking spaces. At

peak times, the health club alone could eat up most of those parking

spaces. If my calculations on this are not correct, I would like to

see some hard numbers -- not fluff -- from Platt to refute my

figures.

Both the planning board and the City Council rejected this project

the last time around by 5-0 votes. Let me share with you my guess on

what will happen next: The project will come back again with almost

the same density and height as it had the last time around.

Councilman Golonski will champion the new plan and talk endlessly

about the “major” concessions Platt has made, and how he now supports

this project.

As he always does, Golonski will show his supposed great concern

for the community by counting the number and size of the trees in the

landscaping plan, and probably suggesting changes in it. Golonski is

not all that hard to read. He has already said that he rejected the

last plan “without prejudice” and that this land is “ripe for

development.”

Golonski alone cannot foist this project from hell on us. He will

need two more votes. The next likely vote will come from Councilwoman

Ramos. She knows this project is not good for Burbank, and said so in

the last go-round. But she lacks the will to stand up to Golonski, so

she’ll likely come up with some patter about community protections

and how much this project has been downsized to meet community needs,

etc., and then she will vote for it. Only one more vote is now needed

to totally mess up the West Olive area.

Mayor Murphy seems the least likely to go along with this project.

While her record on community protection is far from flawless

(remember Fort Murphy?), she seems to have matured during her term in

office and now has what it takes to stand up to the imperious

Golonski. What about the other two council members?

As an architect, Jef Vander Borght had reservations about the

earlier Platt plan, but much of his opposition was due to the

ridiculous use of reflective glass. If the architecture of the

revised plan is changed, Vander Borght may possibly go along with it.

This leaves only one other council member, Todd Campbell. Campbell

has strong environmental credentials and he has gone on record saying

the Platt project is just too big. Given his background and

intelligence, Campbell can become one of the best council members

Burbank has seen in a long time. But he will have to remain free of

Golonski’s clutches to do so. Time will tell whether he will remain

independent and whether he will stick to his guns on the Platt issue.

It’s kind of frightening to see how easily the vote of just one

council member can have such a negative impact on so many people. If

anyone thinks that I am being too hard on the council, and Golonski

in particular, stop and think: During what time frame has the buildup

in traffic been the worst? The answer: over the past 10 years, a time frame which coincides almost exactly with Golonski’s tenure in

office.

Ron Vanderford

Burbank


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