Preserve Burbank Makes an Impact at Last Night's City Council Meeting...

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A huge THANK YOU! goes out to the over one dozen Preserve Burbank members who attended and spoke publicly at last night's (Tuesday) City Council meeting.  A special shout out goes to newer PB members Tonja Kahlens and Sam Masaroni who came to the meeting on their WEDDING ANNIVERSARY to speak to City Council members about the damage that's been done to their property due to the adjacent neighbor's excavation. 

It was a long night that included a multitude of high points (Sue Cleereman's fantastic presentation on how current codes are not being followed and how FAR is being manipulated to exclude garages, 2 story spaces and porches) and low points (my failure to find out that all Powerpoint presentations must be submitted by 10 am on the day of a council meeting - thus I had to describe pictures from printed handouts rather than put them on the big screen).  Regardless, we all made a big impact. 

Thanks to Greg Rehner and Kirk Solomon who also spoke and stayed until midnight, and to Greg for taking copious notes during the Design Guidelines discussion among the council members.  Here is his summary of the debate: 

There was no vote to be taken, however, the council unanimously wants to move on this fast. The fairly large  turnout combined with a large number of emails let them know they have our support to move on this. Most immediately they are going after the  'low-hanging fruit' such as closing the loop holes in the city code. A major  loophole is basically the Floor Area Ratio to INCLUDE garages, patios, 2 story vaulted spaces and balconies. In the past, those areas were not included. That will immediately begin to  reduce the size and perception of the mass of  a structure. They also want to find out quickly what they can include in a potential IDCO (moratorium) on construction. And they will actually be recommending a last minute budget request to provide for an architect/resource to identify and develop design guidelines that can be incorporated in city code and implemented in the Building Department.

New Developments TODAY!

City Manager, Mark Scott has informed me that at tomorrow night's City Council meeting (go to to see details and the agenda) he will include his recommendations to:

1. Request a budget item to develop design standards.
2. Request budget options to enhance "code enforcement."

This is HUGE!

You Can Help...
We do not think it is vital for you to attend tomorrow night's council meeting (but you are always welcome to go and speak!) but we think an email with the following items included would certainly nudge the council in the right direction!

•Thank City Council for recognizing the urgency of moving forward with the design guideline issue supported by the Visual Preference Survey results.

•Encourage the City Council to incorporate funds into the budget to support development of design standards and to enhance code enforcement.

•Remind the City Council that they have the support of Preserve Burbank's 400+ members to move quickly on this interim solution.
Send your email with the subject line: "Funding for Design Guidelines" to:

My apologies for the recent barrage of emails, but now is a very important time in our efforts to have the city create and implement Meaningful Design Guidelines.  We had all hoped it would be a sprint, but it's turned into a marathon.  With your continued support we'll cross the finish line and PRESERVE BURBANK!

As always, if you have any questions or need anything, feel free to contact me at 818-641-9050 or
- Jim Casey

Here is one of the photos presented to City Council last night to illustrate the kind of damage owner/contractors have inflicted upon their neighbors.

This is the current "project" going on at 1062 E. San Jose in which the owner removed as much as 3 feet of earth against the neighbors' retaining wall, sidewalk and stairway and then attempted to put up a 6 inch decorative wall (without permits) instead of an engineered retaining wall. 

This is the kind of damage our one rainfall had upon the property.  Can you imagine if we'd had a more typical rainy season?!?

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