City looking at land uses

Mark R. Madler

As the City Council continues to look at revising the city's land use

plan, it is engaged in a balancing act of maintaining its character

along with attracting new business.

"The big thing is that Burbank is still viewed as a small town,"

said Barbara Lazar, a senior planner. "It also values the

opportunities of a big city."

To that end, the city has been engaged in a lengthy revising

process so that the land use matches what residents wanted to have

preserved and changed. The council received a report at its Dec. 14

meeting on changes to land use plan recommended by city staff.

The recommendations include a new commercial and industrial land

use hierarchy; mixed use commercial areas; and compact single-family

land use.

In addition, staff recommended creation of a new media production

land use designation that will preserve land specifically for

television and film studios.

The commercial hierarchy will recognize the importance of

neighborhood commercial centers, such as corridors in Magnolia Park

and along Burbank Boulevard; downtown centers, such as the Town

Center mall; and regional centers, such as the Empire Center.

The compact single family proposal would allow for homes to be

built on lot sizes smaller than the 6,000-square-foot minimum now

required for such homes.

Some council members, however, were not sure about allowing the

compact zoning in preexisting commercial strips.

"I see it as a tough product to put in where there is already a

commercial corridor," Council- man Dave Golonski said.

Councilwoman Stacey Murphy said she was not willing to give carte

blanche to allow the compact zoning just anywhere in the city.

"There could be places where it is perfectly fine to do it, I'm

not sure about Burbank Boulevard," Murphy said.

Community Development Director Sue Georgino said that city was

looking to use commercial areas that were no longer viable to serve

the community in other ways, and that housing was a way to do that.

The land use plan revision is being done in conjunction with

updating the mobility plan that looks at the ability of the city's

transportation network to accommodate the traffic generated by the

land uses, Lazar said.

A draft land use plan would be released to the public in June,

followed by 45-day review period.

The Planning Board is scheduled to vote on the plan in August,

with the council to take its vote in September.

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