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Airport board clears way for EIR of proposed terminal

Plane takes off from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority will begin the process of studying the potential environmental impacts of building a replacement terminal at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Under an agreement approved during a meeting of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority board Monday, a consultant will begin to study the environmental impacts of building a replacement terminal at Bob Hope Airport – or deciding not to build at all.

“This is the first of several steps,” said Dan Feger, the airport’s executive director. “It is not the last step.”

The authority also approved a memorandum of understanding with the city of Burbank, which replaces a similar agreement from last year related to an environmental review process that stalled while the city and airport wrangled over issues related to the proposed replacement terminal project. The agreement gives the city a role in the review process.

The work product from the earlier, incomplete review will be provided to the new consultant, Feger said. The review must also consider “reasonable alternatives” to the proposed project, he said. He added that the process, which is expected to begin with an informational workshop on Nov. 19, will broaden public education and engagement on the issue.

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“An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy,” Feger said, quoting Thomas Jefferson, at the end of a prepared presentation to the board.

However, aside from Burbank resident Mike Nolan, a regular at city and airport public meetings, no other members of the public attended this week’s airport meeting on the matter. More residents showed up in July at an authority committee meeting to consider dropping Bob Hope from the airport’s name.

Several board members also offered up notable quotes of their own. Ross Selvidge, a commissioner from Pasadena and the board’s newest member, recalled a colleague from his time in the Navy who said it is a mark of a competent man to accept scrutiny.

The scope of work for the $1.2-million environmental review calls for Jacksonville, Florida-based RS&H Inc. to scrutinize two options for a proposed 355,000-square-foot replacement terminal, a third option for a same-size replacement terminal and two “no build” options that assume continued operation out of the existing terminal. Even if a larger terminal building is approved, officials have long stressed the number of gates would not expand beyond its current 14.

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The preferred option is to build a new, larger facility on the 49-acre “Adjacent Property” north of the existing terminal, airport officials have said. The project will cost an estimated $400 million to be paid for through fees charged to passengers and the sale of the 59-acre “Opportunity Site,” which the airport owns in trust.

The sale of the Opportunity Site to Gardena-based Overton Moore Properties for $72.5 million was approved Monday as well, though city officials still need to sign off.

If, for some reason, the preferred option is ruled to have likely environmental impacts that are too drastic, a second option would put the terminal on the “southwest quadrant” of the airfield’s property now used for general aviation and cargo carriers. Both call for the existing terminal to be razed.

Either of these would require the approval of the Burbank City Council and a vote of support by Burbank voters as outlined in Measure B, which was passed by voters in 2000. The other three options could be approved directly by the Airport Authority, and not require city or Burbank residents’ approval, airport officials said.

Officials anticipate the environmental review process will be completed by next July to allow the matter to go before Burbank voters during the November 2016 general election, if necessary.

Airport officials have said they want a larger airport with more space, modern amenities and at a safer distance from the center line of the runway. Feger said an airport survey found the public also supports a modern, safer building.

Pasadena Commissioner Steve Madison and Glendale’s Frank Quintero, the board president, both said they had in mind a quote from a November 1942 speech by Winston Churchill: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Chad Garland, chad.garland@latimes.com

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Twitter: @ChadGarland


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