Archive for August, 2013

TALARIA: Whole Foods – YES! 241 Condos – NO!!

August 21, 2013

Re Talaria at Burbank; While I really like the design & Whole Foods store, the project as proposed is still Too Big IMO…241 Condos in a heavily congested area previously zoned for <200 is NOT a good fit. There’s no guarantee a Whole Foods will actually go in if this gets the green light as approval is for a mixed-use project consisting of Apartments with a (unspecified) Grocery store. We’ve seen in the past with The Downtown Collection retail area that what we end up with oftentimes doesn’t resemble what was proposed & approved. We also have a Water Shortage and Restrictions that need to be considered; Council can’t ask residents to restrict watering their lawns to 1 x week (Nov-Mar) and then approve a project that will create extra water demands for another 500-750 residents. Reducing the # of Condos to closer to 200 would be a good compromise.

Clearly the Whole Foods element is being used as a carrot to sell the project, along with the “green”/sustainable component. Such a large scaled mixed-use residential/commercial project would probably not have been approved under the old Burbank Media District plan; I know there were changes made to the General Plan but this massive apartment component is going to make the daily rush hour commute for those traveling Olive even worse than it already is. Moreover, it looks like the City is bending over backwards to change the rules again for a favored Developer’s project under a new “exceptional” clause; Would the small business owner on Magnolia get the same help & breaks? High-end mixed-use Downtown Burbank (The Collection) has not exactly been a success and do we really need more Apt’s/Condos when we already have the existing Empire Landing monstrosity nearby on Buena Vista @ Empire? I believe the site would be better reserved for Media Specific Office/Studio use that would bring additional Jobs to Burbank.

UPDATED: 8/29/14. It’s come to my attention that a 300 member Church (Victory Baptist Church) will be torn down and replaced with 241 Condos if this project is approved. The previous Developer (Platt) was going to build a new Church on the property but not so with the Cusumanos, although they will provide them with up-to $50k if they have to leave prior to their lease expiring. Moreover, their Pastor Nick Reed gave public testimony at Monday’s Planning meeting that the Developer had threatened them for opposing the project. I’m saddened but not surprised by these revelations. You can read more on the SemiChorus Blog. Here’s the Video: http://youtu.be/2xIvIAJ3xl4

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