The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority Commission is aggressively trying to jump start plans this month to build a new terminal at Burbank Bob Hope Airport.
The Tri-Cities joint powers authority, which the owns the airfield, has given the city of Burbank a March 31 deadline to meet a set of conditions it believes will pave the way for construction of the long-delayed terminal – while appeasing city residents who fear it will lead to more flights and noise.
The conditions will cap the terminal at 14 gates, restrict its size to no larger than 355,000 square feet and require the airport to continue a voluntary curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The existing terminal is 211,000 square feet and dates from the 1930s.
The authority wants the city to begin negotiations on an airport development agreement to replace one expiring on March 15 that prohibited expanding or building a new terminal. It also wants to begin an environmental impact report on a new terminal and to have city officials prepare a referendum on the proposal for the ballot.
The conditions were first presented to the city in a private “term sheet” in November, and the authority was scheduled to vote on a public resolution regarding the matter on Monday but the vote was delayed.
The resolution would have stated that the authority did not believe it was bound by previous restrictions on the terminal’s development if the city did not adopt the term sheet.
The Burbank City Council is scheduled to address the authority’s demands at a meeting on Tuesday night. But in a Feb. 6 staff report to the City Council, City Manager Mark Scott and City Attorney Amy Albano said the city has already rejected the term sheet as not being in the best interests of the residents.
“An ultimatum from the authority at this point is perplexing,” the report said.
Proposals for a new terminal building have been raised off and on for decades. In the early 1990s, for instance, the authority board voted to build a new terminal with about 840,000 square feet.
However, in 2000, Burbank residents approved Measure B, an initiative that requires public approval of expansion or relocation of the airport’s terminal. The measure remains in effect and applies to the current proposal.
The latest proposal occurs at a time when the San Fernando Valley’s only commercial airfield has seen a drop in passengers and airlines pulling out flights as they consolidate at larger airports. For 11 months of last year, the airport served about 3.5 million passengers or a half percent increase from 2013.
In addition to the new terminal, the airport is looking to develop for office and retail uses an adjacent 59 acres of property formerly owned by Lockheed Corp. that remains in a trust.
The authority on Monday also deferred voting on two measures related to that property, including one to immediately put the land up for sale