Airport officials seek community input

The community will soon get a chance to weigh in on the future of Bob Hope Airport, which could include construction of a new terminal that for the first time in years will meet federal safety requirements.

Airport officials plan to launch a consensus-building process on Monday with presentations to city councils in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, each of which has representatives on the governing airport authority.

Because the safe areas around Bob Hope’s runways do not meet Federal Aviation Administration standards, the only way to resolve those issues is to relocate the 81-year-old terminal, airport officials say.

“It has outlived its usefulness,” said Dan Feger, the airport’s executive director.

The most pressing issue is what the FAA has determined is inadequate space between terminal gates and the active runaway, forcing planes to encroach into the so-called safety zone, where taxiing aircraft aren’t allowed.

Also, the ends of each runway should have longer safety zones, according to FAA standards.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority will hire a firm to gauge the community’s knowledge of the airport and the safety issues it faces. It will also gauge residents’ opinions about the airport’s future.

Feger said the outcome of the first phase of the surveying process, which should be released in the first quarter of 2012, may show that the community doesn’t want a new terminal. If that’s the case, “we probably won’t go forward with the process,” he said. “What’s the point?”

If there is an interest in a new terminal, the next phase of the consensus-building process would be to focus on specifics, such as its size, number of gates and types of amenities.

The outreach project will also look at the community’s opinions on other issues, such as aircraft noise and traffic congestion around the airport, Feger said.

The study will also examine how to best use the various types of transportation already in place around the airfield.

The airport authority owns property to the north of the existing terminal, but before building a new terminal on the land, the agency would need approval from the Burbank City Council and a majority of local voters.

In a 2005 development agreement, the airport also agreed to not publicly discuss construction of a new terminal.

“The city felt the discussion of a new terminal was inflammatory,” Feger said.

The agreement was originally set to expire next year, but it was extended recently to 2015, and the gag order regarding a new terminal was lifted.

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