Letter: Public input was kept out of IKEA deal

To nobody's surprise, the Burbank City Council approved the new IKEA project and agreed to nearly all of the concessions that IKEA requested. The entire approval process was a virtual sham that was not publicized, did not actively solicit public comments, and lacked any transparency because the Planning Board was following in step with the IKEA allies who prepared the environmental impact report and traffic study, both of which stifled and dismissed any public criticism of the project. The actual approval of the project was a mere formality. It was really a done deal months ago.

This is clearly a decision that is being forced upon the residents of zip codes 91501 and 91502 without any public recourse. The City Council has determined that increased environmental degradation and hazards for pedestrians, intolerable vehicle congestion, and a general deterioration of quality of life for the residents are more than offset by the increased revenues that IKEA will generate for the city. When asked at the Council meeting if any of the members would want a 470,000 square foot behemoth in their neighborhoods, all remained silent and unresponsive. Of course they wouldn't want this store close to their homes, but it is not a problem for them if our neighborhood is completely disrupted. So much for the small-town atmosphere of Burbank. The public health and safety of current and future residents will have to endure the consequences of the shortsightedness of this city government.

Thomas Saito

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