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Burbank bursting at its city seams?

Josh Kleinbaum

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.

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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

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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

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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

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parts of Los Angeles County, not Orange County. Burbank Senior

Planner Barbara Lazar said that could be because of politics, not

statistics.

“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.”


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