Letter: City should not be a doormat to developers

Re: “Building a better plan for a new IKEA,” op-ed, Feb. 12. The city of Burbank needs to grow up and understand that it’s not a doormat for property developers. That t IKEA development has passed through the city staff and Planning Board without additional conditions (beyond those required by the weak EIR) speaks to the city’s lack of sophistication. The city staff and Planning Board fear that IKEA might go elsewhere if any conditions are applied, this notion is utter nonsense.

As an architect with more than 30 years of experience working on major private and public projects, I can attest that other cities wouldn’t miss the opportunity to attach conditions to an IKEA project. They would look for conditions that are reasonable and benefit the community at large. Ms. Springer mentions several elements that would give these types of benefits, shading the parking lot to reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect, PV panels to offset greenhouse gas production and elements that would improve pedestrian safety and circulation in a developing neighborhood.

We all know what summers are like in Burbank; wouldn’t it be nice as an IKEA shopper to have your car parked under a canopy? Wouldn’t it be great if the seniors and other nearby residents could walk safely to IKEA for breakfast or lunchtime meatballs? Require IKEA to shade 40% of its parking lot, and make pedestrian signalization improvements west of the project on San Fernando Road. Encourage IKEA to install PV’s on their massive roof. These are simple requests that won’t drive IKEA away.

Get some courage Burbank, behave like a mature, sophisticated city.

Ken Lewis, AIA LEED AP

Editor's Note: The writer is past chair of the Burbank Sustainability Commission.

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