Great News for Burbank Homeowners from Tuesday's City Council Meeting...
Oh, what a night! First let me say THANK YOU to the members of Preserve Burbank, Save Burbank Neighborhoods and all the other members of the community who made it out to Tuesday night's meeting. YOU REALLY MADE A DIFFERENCE! We were hoping to push City Council forward to direct staff to draft an Interim Development Construction Ordinance (IDCO) to temporarily stop construction on these ridiculously large homes (see photo above) to give the architectural firm recently hired to revise Burbank's design guidelines a chance to do their work and pass new ordinances by the end of the year. WE NEVER IMAGINED CITY COUNCIL WOULD ALSO REQUEST TO MAKE THE IDCO (which has not yet been drafted and approved) RETROACTIVE TO LAST NIGHT!
Let me explain... After over two hours of "Public Comments" regarding the issue (which was highlighted by fantastic photos from Sue Cleeremen and Julie Fischer and a model by Jim Casey) it became crystal clear to City Council members that SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.
After issuing a blanket public statement last week on Facebook and in an email to its members AGAINST any kind of IDCO by the Burbank Association of Realtors, two representatives from that group also spoke to try to support their position. Their suggestion that any IDCO could possibly have "significant unintended negative consequences" wasn't well received. In fact, most residents felt that the ACTUAL NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES of loss of views, loss of daylight and loss of privacy from these over-sized homes far outweigh the "hypothetical fears" they were suggesting. To be fair, an across the board moratorium on any new construction (single room or bathroom additions, kitchen remodels, etc.) would be a foolish thing for any city to implement.
The beauty of an IDCO, if drafted properly, is that it can be very specific to address a certain kind or size of project for a limited period of time. That is what we proposed and that is what City Council directed staff to have ready for next week's meeting. But as I promised to explain, here's the best part... Instead of letting another week go by so frantic developers can quickly submit plans for big homes under the old guidelines, City Council has the authority to make last night (March 10, 2015) the "effective date" of the new IDCO, even before it is drafted! So, unless you had already submitted plans before yesterday that were "grandfathered in" or "in the pipeline," any new submissions starting today will have to comply with the limitations of the IDCO even if it is passed next week. (call me if you are still confused) :)
If you have would like to see me (Jim Casey) explain how loopholes in our current codes allow a 5,000 square foot home to be considered by our planning department to be a 3,500 square foot home (which is why so many homes in Burbank are being LEGALLY over-built), click on this link and fast forward to 52:38 on the time code (unless you want to watch a very entertaining 2+ hours of public comments). http://burbank.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=29&clip_id=6732
AGAIN, thanks to everyone who attended the meeting and/or sent emails to City Council. We are fighting the good fight and winning!
We'll keep you posted as things keep happening!