Council ready to work with airport

The Burbank City Council this week voted unanimously to begin negotiations to extend the city’s development agreement with Bob Hope Airport for an additional three years — a sort of “cease fire” that will allow the two parties to plan future capital projects without high-pressure deadlines.

The negotiations would extend a 2005 agreement between the city and Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority that allowed for only limited development at the airport until June 2012. Other items up for negotiation include requiring voter approval in Burbank of new building projects on the airfield.

Described by the city’s outside airport attorney Peter Kirsch as a “cease fire,” the agreement would also bar the airport from constructing a new terminal building until March 2015.

The Federal Aviation Administration has long had a safety issue with Bob Hope Airport's passenger terminal and its proximity to the runway.

“We don’t want to get to 2012 and wonder what’s next or rush to put a new mechanism in place,” Kirsch told the City Council on Tuesday.

Kirsch recommended the 2015 extension to avoid a return to the type of battles the city and airport authority had for the many years before the agreement was signed.

A working group established by Burbank recommended the City Council extend the agreement for the interim three years and plan for a new agreement with the airport.

The recommendation also includes extensive public outreach when planning for future uses of Bob Hope Airport, and a provision that new building projects at the airfield be submitted to the voters for approval.

Requiring a “super-majority” vote for capital improvements by airport authority commissioners will also be considered, which will mean all three member cities — Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena — would have to agree on a given project, Kirsch said.

“I think we’re headed on a track that will work wonders for the residents of the city of Burbank,” said airport authority president and Glendale City Councilman Frank Quintero. “I think we’re finally going to come to some closure for all of these issues.”

Burbank City Councilman David Gordon emphasized that all parties must work to constantly keep the concerns of Burbank residents in mind.

“There’s a hurdle to overcome in the public eye in terms of trust because there is a long history, and I think that’s going to be one of the hurdles or objectives that are being attempted here,” Gordon said. “Not to be cynical, I think we need to make sure the actions match the words, and I think it will be really effective.”

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