A Nail-Biter Ends in Victory for Burbank Homeowners...
Tuesday night's City Council meeting went into the wee hours of Wednesday morning before there was a unanimous vote in favor of an Interim Development Construction Ordinance (IDCO) for Burbank. About a dozen people including lawyers, contractors, representatives of the Burbank Association of Realtors and a few actual homeowners made emotional, and in some cases dire statements against the IDCO. However, DOZENS of Preserve Burbank, Save Burbank Neighborhoods and current residents spoke in favor of it. After over an hour of discussion among council members and a few slight revisions, the IDCO was passed with a full 5-0 vote.
Here's a summary of what's in the IDCO...
The Floor Area Ratio (FAR) used for calculating the maximum square footage of a home will remain at .40 (roughly 40% of the square footage of the lot) HOWEVER, three major "loopholes" in the current calculation for FAR have been revised. The exemption for up to 600 s.f. for a three car garage has been reduced to 400 s.f. That means you can still put a three car garage in your plan, but anything over 400 square feet will count toward the total FAR for the home. Two-story vaulted space will no longer be excluded from FAR. This means a 20' x 20' Great Room with a vaulted ceiling or a two story foyer will be counted twice (800 s.f.) instead of once (400 s.f.) as it had previously been in calculating FAR (finally an accurate representation of volume instead of just finished floor area). Second story covered porches will now be included in FAR. In addition, second stories will now be required to step back 10 feet from front of the first floor footprint and 5 feet from any side yards without a driveway.
This summary is by no means the complete IDCO. If you would like to download and read the final ordinance, click on this link: http://burbank.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=6752 Scroll down to item 2. Interim Development Control Ordinance and click on Item No. 2 Exhibit A Revised Ordinance.
If you would like to watch the archived video of Tuesday night's meeting, click on this link: http://burbank.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=29&clip_id=6752 You can fast forward to 01:50:00 to see the entire IDCO public comment, discussion and vote.
The real intent of the IDCO is to buy time for the new design guidelines for new construction in Burbank to be drafted and approved later this year (hopefully). It is not a long term or permanent solution.
Our Work Is Not Over!
Our plan is to continue to work with City Council, staff and the architectural firm hired to draft the new design guidelines, but we also plan to set our sites on holding the city accountable for ENFORCING THE CURRENT BUILDING CODES on projects currently under construction. We may be asking you to participate in writing emails and/or attending upcoming Planning Board or City Council meetings as we track some of the flagrant violations happening at several current housing projects. Stop by 1062 E. San Jose if you want to see a real nightmare of shoddy construction practices, altered grading (without a permit) and complete disregard for any semblance of neighborhood character...
We'll keep you posted as things keep happening!