City OKs Mylar Balloon Restrictions

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council voted unanimously this week to severely limit the sale of metallic balloons, which electric utility officials said have caused power outages.
The ordinance bans businesses from selling the balloons, often referred to by the brand name Mylar, unless they are filled with air only and are attached to a post or similar decorative structure. The rule, approved Tuesday, will go into effect on Feb. 11.
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Council Backs Initiative for Local Control of Housing

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council agreed this week to draft a letter supporting a campaign seeking to give local jurisdictions power to override some state housing laws.
The “Our Neighborhood Voices” initiative, run by a group of California city representatives, aims to place a measure on the November ballot that, if approved by voters, would amend the state constitution to give city and county laws precedence over conflicting state rules on land use regulations and zoning codes. The campaign needs to collect nearly 1 million valid signatures by April 26 to qualify for the ballot.
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Burbank Reiterates High-Speed Rail Concerns

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank representatives will continue to press the California High-Speed Rail Authority on their apprehensions regarding the project, the City Council decided this week.
Council members voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve a comment letter to the authority ahead of its Wednesday, Jan. 19, meeting. The letter lists multiple issues city officials have with the state’s high-speed “bullet train” project, most of which are reiterated concerns they say the authority has failed to fully address.
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Floats Bring Rose Parade Back to Life

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

One week ago today, in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, as final preparations were being made for the 133rd Rose Parade’s journey down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard, Tournament of Roses President Bob Miller stood on the front steps of Tournament House.
Looking out to where the 43 floral-covered floats were staged and waiting to make their worldwide television appearance, Miller announced the 24 floats that would be bestowed with awards of excellence. That announcement included the city of Burbank’s entry, “An Unlikely Tale,” which took the Mayor Award for the most outstanding float from a participating city.
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Council OKs Greater Oversight on Housing

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council adopted a policy that gives itself a supervisory role over residential projects that are potentially eligible for a streamlined process.
The council’s 3-2 decision Tuesday comes after months of discussions regarding the body’s potential review authority over housing proposals submitted through California Senate Bill 35. The law prevents cities and other jurisdictions from denying certain residential applications as long as they comply with objective municipal development standards, such as density limits.
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Council to Review ‘Discriminatory’ Ordinances

First published in the Dec. 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Following a recent request from a Burbank City Council member, the panel could remove some ordinances advocates say discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
During the Dec. 7 City Council meeting, during which then-Mayor Bob Frutos retroactively declared Nov. 13-19 as Transgender Awareness Week, a few community members raised the issue of the ordinances. At the end of the meeting, Councilman Nick Schultz asked city staff members to look into repealing the provisions from Burbank’s municipal code.
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City Discusses Increasing Development Fees

First published in the Dec. 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council this week moved toward raising the fees charged for new development, a change that would boost funding for public improvements.
Burbank has not updated its development impact fees — or DIFs — since 1993, though they rise annually with the cost of inflation. Cities can set DIFs, a Community Development Department official told council members on Tuesday, to compensate for the burden a project has on their systems. For example, Burbank used DIF funds to pay for designs for a new central library, which representatives said is needed to accommodate the city’s projected population and job growth.
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Talamantes Takes the Reins as Mayor

First published in the Dec. 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Jess Talamantes, the Burbank City Council’s most veteran member, was unanimously appointed by his peers this week as the city’s mayor for the next year.
Talamantes, who previously served as mayor in 2011-12 and 2016-17, returned to the role during the council’s annual reorganization meeting on Monday. Continue reading “Talamantes Takes the Reins as Mayor”

Burbank Budget Recovering from Pandemic Fallout

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank’s municipal revenues, though still reduced by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, is bouncing back faster than expected, officials said this week.
In a report to the City Council on Tuesday, financial services director Jennifer Becker said that Burbank’s tax revenues were generally higher last fiscal year, which ended in June, than staff members had hoped. The city’s recurring General Fund revenues — the receipts it anticipates with high certainty — for fiscal year 2020-21 came in at nearly $181 million, about 4.8% higher than the roughly $173 million forecasted, though they were still 2.4% lower than they were in fiscal year 2019-20.
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City Council Seeks Early Review of Streamlined Housing Proposals

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council appears likely to give itself a larger role in determining whether housing proposals are eligible for a controversial streamlined process passed by the state legislature.
The panel voted 3-2 Tuesday to approve an amendment to a proposed ordinance establishing the city’s policy for the California Senate Bill 35 review procedure. If the council adopts the revised ordinance when it returns for a final vote — and it was unclear this week how soon that could be — the panel would review staff members’ determinations regarding whether a proposed development even qualifies under SB 35 provisions.
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