BURBANK, AIRPORT HEAD BACK TO COURT; CITY, AUTHORITY TO CROSS SWORDS OVER PARCEL SOUGHT FOR TERMINAL.
Lawyers for the city of Burbank and Burbank Airport are set to face off in court today over whether the airport has the right to take over 130 acres of land it needs for a new terminal without the city's approval.
If Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carl J. West rules in Burbank's favor, the decision could further hamper the airport's plans to acquire the parcel and drive the two sides closer to a settlement in a longstanding legal battle.
West ruled in October that a state public utilities code that gives the city the power to veto the airport's land acquisition for expansion is legal under federal law. But lawyers for the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority are expected to argue that the city forfeited its veto rights over land acquisition when it approved the joint-powers agreement between the three cities in 1977.
``The authority believes that the three cities delegated certain powers to the authority,'' said Victor Gill, an airport spokesman.
The airport is in the process of acquiring the ``B-6'' property from Lockheed Martin Corp. through a special land condemnation process - a power the airport says was delegated to it by the city.
Lawyers for the city counter that state laws prevent the city from forfeiting its power over land acquisition to the airport.
``Under state law, the city cannot give power away that was given to it by the state,'' said Peter Kirsch, an attorney representing Burbank.
The judge could also hear a second case in which the airport plans to argue that the Burbank City Council's decision last year to turn down its takeover of the land was unfair because city politicians were biased against the airport.
City lawyers said the council gave the airport's takeover plan a fair review, but added that it is appropriate for politicians to have opinions on projects.
City officials have opposed many aspects of the airport's $250 million terminal plan, saying it does not provide enough safeguards against a possible increase in noise, traffic and pollution.
Gill said a decision against the airport would ``cloud the situation as to how the project moves forward.''