Faced with strong neighborhood opposition to his original plan, the developer of a proposed 120-unit condominium development in the Rancho area of Burbank is now asking to build 50 single-family homes on the roughly 5-acre parcel.
New Urban West, which submitted a development application to the city in June for the condo project on Riverside Drive, faced a steep uphill battle, with residents expressing concerns about the proposed development’s impact to traffic, neighborhood density and other issues.
Even before the Burbank City Council had an opportunity to review the project, residents took their case to City Hall, railing against the proposal at a neighborhood planning meeting in November.
“Clearly, the project that we proposed and was on file was getting a lot of opposition from some in the community,” said Tom Zanic, senior vice-president at New Urban West, which submitted revised plans on Friday. “It’s not our style to have that type of opposition. We thought it was designed well and fit well, but a lot of people didn’t think so.”
A residential project with 70, 60 and, finally, 50 units was discussed, Zanic said. The 50-home plan would allow the structures to be single-family homes, he added.
“That’s a pretty significant difference in the eyes of our neighbors and city hall,” Zanic said. “By going to 50, we are able to make all of them detached, single family, traditional homes. That’s where the break-off came.”
Although the lots for the proposed homes are not large enough to qualify them as equestrian lots, the developer plans to partner with three or four stable operations, such as the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, to offer one year of free stabling to the first 10 buyers.
The new homes will range in size from 1,600 to 2,000 square feet, most with two stories and two-car garages, Zanic said.
Rancho resident Bill Smith, who was part of the Rancho Master Plan committee and a member of the Rancho Review Board, said that while he had yet to review the details, it appeared Urban West was
“certainly headed in right direction.”
“[Zanic] has been pretty responsive to the neighborhood, he’s realistic and wants to have a project,” Smith said, adding that the Rancho is a “well-organized” neighborhood with residents who are able “to prevail, based on their activism.”
Kathy Ewing, who has lived in the Rancho more than 20 years, said she had just started her research on the new project Monday.
Among her lingering concerns was the impact to the area’s sewage system.
“With 50 new homes and water usage, is that going to adversely affect things?” Ewing said.
But Zanic hedged against another possible reduction in the size of the project, saying the smaller proposal “is as much as we can do.”
“We can’t do any fewer houses there,” he said. “We’ll figure out what we can do by right and do something else. We made an effort to listen, we heard the concerns. We don’t want to put the community through a lot of angst with the proposal. We want to do the right thing, and we think this proposal does it.”