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PANEL ENDORSES FREEZE ON BURBANK AIRPORT PLAN.

Byline: Susan Abram Staff Writer

BURBANK - A blue-ribbon citizens panel questioned on Wednesday the urgency of building a new passenger terminal at Burbank Airport - and airport officials agreed, saying the falloff in air traffic since Sept. 11 and other factors have put the issue on hold indefinitely.

In a 25-page draft report, the 15-member citizens group advising the City Council on the new terminal issue said ultimately the issue should be resolved at the ballot box.

``While the FAA and the Airport Authority believe the terminal/runway configuration can be safer, neither the FAA nor the Airport has declared the facility 'unsafe,''' the report said.

``While many consider the present terminal to be uncomfortable and antiquated, the terminal does function, and there were many comments from the public urging that there was a certain quaintness about the aged facility.''

New security demands and completion of an airport noise study likely will put plans for a new terminal at the Burbank Airport on hold for at least three years, possibly as long as five years, the panel said.

Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority spokesman Victor Gill said the drop in air travel since the terrorist attacks assures further delays in terminal plans.

``The authority after Sept. 11 ceased all activity regarding a new terminal because there was no basis for it,'' Gill said. ``It's simply not timely.''

Meeting a federal order to beef up security at the airport by Dec. 30 and the completion of a report on airport noise, known as Part 161, were also cited as reasons for a delay.

``Under the best of conditions, that Part 161 study would not be completed until the end of 2003,'' said Kirk Bowren, a member of the Plan, Evaluation and Review Committee.

``And given the effects of Sept. 11, relocating the terminal is on the back burner.''

The draft report is based on more than a dozen meetings with community members and airport experts.

Gill hesitated to comment on the findings, saying it was premature to draw conclusions from a draft report.

But the Airport Authority was not surprised by what was compiled so far, Gill said.

The PERC committee was formed by the City Council in June with the goal of placing a plan for a new Burbank Airport terminal on the Nov. 5 ballot.

But committee members said they needed more time to compete a report that the city would use as a guide in dealing with plans to build a new 14-gate terminal on a strip of land formerly owned by Lockheed, known as the B-6 property.

Committee members have held 14 public meetings in the past three months to compile residents' concerns as well as to update the public about airport issues.

Besides noise, traffic and air pollution, residents were concerned about their property values.

``There is a deep distrust by the community of anyone directly or indirectly connected with the airport, including virtually all governmental entities, such as Burbank's own council,'' the report states.

Mayor David Laurell said one of the reasons for the distrust stems from Measure A, the voter-approved initiative that a Superior Court judge on Friday ruled invalid.

Rather than asking residents to vote on initiatives that cannot be enforced, the council would rather use the PERC report to make a final decision.

``We will use the final report as an important tool that we have to move forward with a new terminal,'' he said. ``The PERC report gives us a broad spectrum and will be looked at again and again as a key to further impact the council.''

Another PERC meeting will be held tonight at 7 at the Burbank Hilton, 2500 Hollywood Way.

Members are expected to revise parts of the report, which was drafted by a subcommittee. A final draft is expected to be submitted to the council next month.
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Title Annotation:Review; News
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 29, 2002
Words:638
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