Fourth-graders and city planners are teaming up to celebrate what’s coming to Burbank, what has already arrived, and what never made it off the ground.
As part of National Community Planning Month, the lobby of the Community Services Building is lined with displays showcasing the work of city planners and the many stages of development in Burbank.
“It’s mainly to get the public aware of what planning does,” said Martin Potter, an administrative analyst for the city and part of the team responsible for planning the month-long event. “A lot of people don’t know what’s involved with planning and don’t know what projects are going on in the city.”
Besides the new projects coming to the city — 24 Hour Fitness, Nordstrom Rack and Panera Bread to name a few — the planning department is also highlighting examples that never made it past the conceptual stage.
Plaza Olivia — a mixed-used project that was to include restaurants, office space and luxury condominiums with an automated parking garage — was planned for across the street from the Warner Bros. studios, but has been put on hold by the developer for the past year.
“It’s a great way to highlight would could have existed,” Potter said.
Historical districting, a recent focus by the Burbank Heritage Commission, is also explained for residents who might know of a property that qualifies.
Beyond educating the community, the Planning & Transportation Division of the Community Development Department is encouraging residents to contribute to updating the city’s General Plan.
Fourth-graders were asked to submit drawings of what they think Burbank will look like in 2035, the destination year for the new General Plan. More than 150 students from eight Burbank schools participated and the winner will be announced at the City Council meeting on Oct. 19.
City officials have also created a new website, BurbankTownHall.com, where residents can contribute and engage with one another about citywide improvements.
"[The website] allows people to interact and let us know their thoughts about individual projects, as well as bigger ideas,” said Michael Forbes, assistant community development director. “We know there are a lot of people with good ideas out there and we would like to hear them.”
BurbankTownHall.com allows residents to respond and interact about specific topics for two-week periods. This week, “Beautiful Places, Beautiful Spaces” asks citizens about enhancing current destination points in Burbank, and creating new spots. The forum closes Friday.
The planning department will be holding community meetings in the coming months about the General Plan, in addition to the feedback received from those that participate online.
“The purpose of participating in National Community Planning Month is to bring more attention to the importance of planning,” Forbes said. “We want to get an awareness out there.”