Posts Tagged ‘cusamano’

Burbank City Manager (+ Staff) Meet-&-Greet

November 10, 2013

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I had the privilege of attending a wonderful meet-&-greet for new City Manager Mark Scott hosted by Burbank City Councilman¬†Bob Frutos & Marsha Ramos. Also¬†in attendance were Police Chief Scott LaChasse, City Clerk Zizette Mullins & a host of Burbank community leaders.¬†Scott has impressed many since he took over the reigns as CM a few months ago with his humility & willingness to listen to everyone, regardless of whether they wear a suit & tie or a hawaiian shirt, a refreshing change vs. the previous arrogance & indifference displayed by some Staff members. I’ve also been impressed by his professionalism & honesty, and while I didn’t agree with his $300k contract, I have a lot more confidence that with his experience ¬†& leadership approach we can right the ship, make better/wiser decisions & ultimately make Burbank a better place to live, work & play.

Among the topics I heard discussed during the evening; Tuesday night’s marathon 10hr Council meeting that went to nearly 4am, the Lemonade¬†and Family Services Agency¬†Youth Counseling¬†decisions, the new Bob Hope Airport Terminal Measure B vote (2015) & B-6 property use/sale, the BWP fund transfer lawsuit & recent tragic house fire death¬†of a disconnected customer, the Cusamano’s Talaria Condo project w/Whole Foods, BPD Litigation incl. 2 recent arbitration rulings against the City, the $12M price tag ¬†& the Valento “extortion” indictment, the Walmart ruling re traffic mitigations & Staff’s “dishonesty”, as well as the Council decision NOT to appeal the ruling (3-2 vote), the DeBell Golf course ongoing viability, the Starlight Bowl, traffic,¬†and much more. A night of great food, fellowship & conversations.

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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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