Burbank’s population will grow by nearly 30% by 2030, according to a
report by the Southern California Assn. of Governments, and those
statistics could lead to more housing developments in the city.
But area officials are contesting the data, arguing that the
numbers do not make sense and could have negative long-term
ramifications for Los Angeles County.
“These are just projections,” said Bob Yousefian, a Glendale city
councilman and association representative for the region, which
includes Glendale and Burbank. “But it’s important for us to get the
projections correct, because then we can really do some planning and
deal with these issues.”
According to the projections, future growth will come in the form
of infill -- filling in areas that are already developed, including
replacing houses with apartment buildings and developing urban areas
that are undeveloped. Earlier projections by the association assumed
growth would occur on the edges of urban areas, into areas like
Lancaster, Palmdale and Victorville, but Yousefian said it revised
the projections because the infrastructure, including proper highways
and transportation, is not in place to support that growth.
The association projects that Burbank’s population will increase
from 100,300 in 2000 to 130,200 in 2030. Earlier estimates by the
association projected Burbank’s population at 123,033 in 2030.
The group thinks that the infill will be focused in the urban
parts of Los Angeles County, not Orange County. Burbank Senior
Planner Barbara Lazar said that could be because of politics, not
“Orange County has a tre- mendous amount of repre- sentation [in
the association], and [representatives from] Los Angeles County have
not shown up at the meetings,” Lazar said. “The cities in L.A. County
should’ve been much more involved. There are ramifications as far as
planning and funding transportation in the region.”
Lazar said she has monitored the projections closely and lobbied
the association to get accurate figures for Burbank. While the
numbers are not perfect, she described them as “adequate” for
Burbank, but she is concerned about the rest of the county.
“It’s like the whole city of Chicago is being moved into Southern
California,” Lazar said. “It’s outrageous, the amount of growth
that’s being projected. Rather than saying, ‘Let’s plan for it,’ the
question should be, ‘Can we accommodate it?’ It’s not a
Burbank-specific problem, it’s a regional concern.”
The association’s projections are part of a report that will be
used in making a regional transportation plan in 2004. That report
will be used for long-term planning in the region for the next 25
years, including where to put new housing, Yousefian said.
If the city builds the housing, chances are people will come,
which means that the projections in the report could actually drive
the population growth.
But Lazar said no one can tell the city where to build.
“They can never make us build houses, they cannot do that,” Lazar
said. “What they can do is require us to show that we have adequate
available sites for this housing to be built. The city of Burbank
definitely has that.”