By Dana Bartholomew, Los Angeles Daily News October 23, 2015
After decades of wrangling, Burbank and the operator of Bob Hope Airport have hammered out terms that agree for replacement of its historic airport terminal, paving the way for an environmental study and citywide vote next year.
City officials will vote Tuesday on a so-called terminal conception sheet that allows the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to launch into an environmental impact study. Photo by Dean Musgrove/)
City officials will decide Tuesday on a landmark deal that would allow the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to raze its 85-year-old terminal and replace it with a larger air passenger facility. A new terminal must then be approved by Burbank voters.
“It’s a happy day,” said Frank Quintero, president of the joint powers authority that governs the airport, looking out Friday onto its historic runway. “We’re very happy that we’ve finally reached this agreement. We have been negotiating since 2011.
“It paves the way for a 14-gate replacement terminal, and a provision that guarantees Burbank a supermajority vote.”
After decades of wrangling, Burbank and the operator of Bob Hope Airport have hammered out terms that agree for replacement of its historic airport terminal, paving the way for an environmental study and citywide vote next year. City officials will vote Tuesday on a so-called terminal conception sheet that allows the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to launch into an environmental impact study. Photo by Dean Musgrove/Los Angeles Daily News)
The so-called conceptual term sheet released by Burbank on Thursday follows a long-standing disagreement between the city and airport authority over how best to govern the San Fernando Valley airport. A standoff early this year lasted five months, after a battle over a mandatory airport curfew that lasted decades.
Airport officials have long wanted to replace the historic passenger terminal — a curvilinear former Mission-style building now topped by an aircraft control tower — they say is functionally obsolete, seismically unfit and too close to the existing runway.
They hope to build a new 355,000-square-foot terminal and two parking garages, with the same 14 aircraft gates, for a projected cost of between $300 million and $400 million. Passengers would still board and exit aircraft via runway ramps and ladders.
The new agreement, mediated by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, would enhance Burbank’s role in governing the airport in exchange for a city-owned easement barring development of the former Lockheed Skunk Works site, where World War II P-38s and F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters were once built.
It also calls for a meeting in the nation’s capital between Schiff, authority commissioners and Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena officials and the Federal Aviation Administration to discuss the long-sought mandatory airport curfew. Commercial aircraft now abide by a voluntary nighttime curfew for scheduled flights.
“The city’s objective in this effort is to bring long-term peace in our relationship with the authority and to implement protections, which would ensure that such a peace is as permanent as possible,” said Burbank City Manager Mark Scott and City Attorney Amy Albano, in a memo released late Thursdayendorsing the deal.
Under the agreement, the nine-member commission that oversees Burbank Bob Hope Airport, which includes three city council members each from Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, would require two votes from each city to enact major actions related to an airport terminal.
These include increasing the size of the terminal or number of its passenger gates above 14, constructing remote parking for passenger aircraft, or amending airport noise rules or the voluntary nighttime curfew.
The airport has put up for sale nearly 60 acres of the former Lockheed land to finance a replacement terminal, to be located north of the old one and west of the property now for sale at Hollywood Way and Winona Avenue.
There are four bidders for the so-called Trust property, including the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which plans to build one of three proposed Burbank high-speed-rail stations under or near the site. The authority plans to announce a favored buyer and terms on Nov. 2.
Passenger traffic at the Burbank airport increased by 2 percent last year to 3.9 million passengers, airport officials say, off a peak of 5.9 million passengers in 2007.
The new terminal deal is a win-win for Burbank and the entire Valley, they said, which could usher in a new era of safety plus passenger comforts from restaurants to benches to smartphone plug-ins. With a green light from voters, they hope to break ground by 2020, move into a new terminal three years later and tear down the old terminal by 2025.
“The mission for us in building a new terminal: Don’t screw it up,” said Dan Feger, executive director of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, who runs the airport. “It means people will still be able to navigate easily through the building, park conveniently and fly to their destination.
“There is no doubt about it: This agreement is good for Burbank, good for the authority. It will lead to peace — and save the taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted litigation.”
Los Angeles Daily News On October 23, 2015