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AIRPORT LAND AWAITS STUDY OK NEW TERMINAL, MILLIONS HANG IN BALANCE.

Byline: Susan Abram Staff Writer

BURBANK - City Council members decided Tuesday to wait for federal approval of a noise study before taking action on plans for a new Burbank Airport terminal.

The noise study should be completed this summer, but is not expected to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for another year.

With the Burbank Airport Authority facing an FAA demand to return $46 million in funding for a new terminal, the council agreed to work with the authority to rent out portions of the site, to make it financially viable.

Possible renters include movie studios, which may want to store equipment on the land.

The council had drawn three options to meet a 60-day deadline set by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey last month. The options included allowing the authority to sell property identified for a new terminal, or pursue last-minute efforts to build a new terminal.

Those options were rejected Tuesday by the council members.

``I think keeping the property in play is in everybody's interest, but my sole goal is to get a mandatory curfew,'' said Councilman David Golonski. ``I'm not ready to throw in the towel and say we couldn't do anything.''

Blakey set the deadline after meeting with delegates from Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, who operate the Burbank-based airport under a joint powers agreement.

Building a new terminal would replace an aging facility that is only 300 feet from the main runway. FAA rules call for a terminal-runway buffer of at least 750 feet.

Blakey said unless a terminal is built, the authority would have to return more than $46 million in FAA grants used to buy a terminal site.

The city and Airport Authority now have 30 days left to comply.

Councilwoman Stacey Murphy said she wanted the Airport Authority to make a decision on the terminal property.

``The time to be proactive has past,'' Murphy said. ``At this point, I'm willing to put this in the hands of the (Airport) Authority.''

The City Council has stipulated it would support a new terminal only if there is a nighttime flight curfew in place. The federal noise study - called A Part 161 study - is still 18 months from completion and is required before a curfew can be imposed.

Airport Authority spokesman Victor Gill said Monday the authority has made no final decision on the property.

``We have no formal announcements to make,'' he said.

But Gill said the authority had been auditing each piece of land acquired with FAA grants. An announcement is expected to be made before the deadline.

If the FAA does not impose a curfew after the study is completed and the authority has not sold the property, the council will then reconsider its options.

The FAA meanwhile said Monday it would not postpone its deadline, and would not comment until officials there see what the authority and city have planned.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, who helped organize the meeting between local delegates and the FAA, said Tuesday he believed the FAA may reconsider the deadline.

``What I had suggested to all parties involved is to establish a timeline of the authority dispute so that the FAA could see its progression,'' Schiff said. ``We would propose that to the FAA as a counterproposal to the deadline.''

Schiff said he hoped the city would not abandon all efforts to build a new terminal. The 59-acre property is the ideal spot for a safer terminal, he said.

Judging by Blakey's comments, Schiff said, it seemed likely that once the deadline has passed and there are results, the FAA may come down hard on the Airport Authority to pay up.

``I would hope that the parties don't walk away by trying to resolve this by selling the property,'' he said. ``It's not advantageous for the parties on the ground to go to go war.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 26, 2003
Words:642
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