City officials abandoned their role

The Leader's account of the Burbank City Council denial of a pool and decks at 2723 Howard Court (“Pool plan pushed back,” Oct. 6) was disappointingly incomplete. A few innocuous sound bites were added to a sketchy history but no depth of understanding of substantive issues was provided. These were probed by three council members, one of whom summed up the case by stating that if the owner wanted a mansion, swimming pool and patios, he should have built on a large lot in the valley instead of on a small, irregular lot on a ridgeline.

Twelve years ago before construction started, the property owner knew his residence was approved, but not the swimming pool and two decks which were to be cantilevered out over the edge of his pad. He chose to forego the pool and decks rather than shrink the size of the mansion to create space for them on the pad. The past year he requested a permit to add the pool and decks. The staff of the Community Development Department prepared the report justifying its director's approval of the project.

Hamline Place owners, including myself, were gratified by the City Council’s rejection of the pool and decks but will always resent city decisions to give away a valued ridgeline to an oversized mansion.

It's my opinion the Community Development Department abandoned its proper role as impartial arbiter of claims by both sides of the issue. Instead it performed as an advocate for the applicant by doing the necessary research and supporting it with unsubstantiated claims. No administrative law judge would condone such actions.

Paul H. Wangsness

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