Officials are preparing for a major public outreach effort to sell Burbank residents on a new passenger terminal at Bob Hope Airport and the development of 59 acres that once belonged to Lockheed Martin.
The effort comes as a 2005 development “cease fire” agreement nears an end, and as the once-contentious relationship between the city and airport appears to have turned a corner.
“This is a new day for the authority,” airport Executive Director Dan Feger told the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.
On Monday, the airport authority voted unanimously to extend the development agreement with the city, which expires in 2012, for three more years. An amendment included in the extension lifts the ban on discussing the replacement of the current passenger terminal, although the airport would still be barred from designing or breaking ground on such a project until at least 2015.
The Burbank City Council, which voted last month to enter discussions with the airport on extending the agreement, still needs to give final approval.
“The City Council gets it,” Feger told airport commissioners. “This is what we need to once and for all have a compromise [plan] for our future.”
Officials have emphasized the public aspect of the process, including regular staff-level meetings between the airport and city, extensive public outreach and talks with the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines that serve Bob Hope Airport.
Officials also said any proposal for a new passenger terminal would require approval from two of the three airport authority members who represent each of the three cities — Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena — and from Burbank voters.
“This is not a process whereby the city and the airport huddle together and come up with a new concept that would or would not include a terminal,” airport spokesman Victor Gill said. “It is going to the people first.”
Key topics to be addressed, Feger said, include: Replacement of the 81-year-old terminal building, which the FAA has deemed a safety concern because it is too close to runways; long-standing complaints about aircraft noise; and the development of the empty 59-acre former Lockheed Martin site along Hollywood Way, north of the passenger terminal.
Regulations limiting the airport authority’s ability to expand would also be drafted for voters.
“The citizens of Burbank will make the ultimate decision,” said airport authority commission President Frank Quintero, a Glendale City Council member.
The FAA has long sought a new terminal at Bob Hope, but legal disputes between the airport and city in the 1990s effectively blocked the airport from moving forward.
Airport officials have said securing a mandatory nighttime and early-morning flight curfew would also be a top priority, although the FAA, which so far has rejected the proposal, would have to sign off on it.
Commercial airlines today abide by a voluntary curfew on flights between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., but efforts to pass a curfew law have met opposition from the FAA and cargo carriers, such as FedEx.
Bill Wiggins, a Burbank airport commissioner, said the prospect for peaceful negotiations with the city once seemed unthinkable.
“If I look back, it is remarkable we are where we are right now,” Wiggins said.