After spending months reporting speeding and excessive noise on their streets, Starlight Estates residents have been granted their long-awaited permit parking.
The permit-only parking zone, which the Burbank City Council approved on Tuesday, is in effect between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday for the rest of the year, unless extended or ended early. Residents of Starlight Estates can request their permits — tags they can hang from their rearview mirrors — from the Burbank Public Works Department.
People living in the hilly area — which includes Starlight Circle, Vista Ridge, Valley View Crest and part of Bel Aire Drive and affords city views — have reported youths speeding through their streets and littering. The more than 225 calls for police service from the area this year, according to a staff report submitted to the council, make it the Burbank district with the fourth-highest number of calls.
Some of the residents also mentioned finding drug paraphernalia outside their homes during a June 16 council meeting.
The situation became more pronounced on the night of June 19, when a police officer patrolling Starlight Estates saw a group of people gathered around a bush that was ablaze. After the fire was extinguished, police detained and interviewed several minors, who admitted to lighting a firework that started the fire, according to Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department.
The next evening, Assistant City Manager Judie Wilke accompanied Councilmen Timothy Murphy and Jess Talamanates to tour the area, guided by residents who shared their worries.
The council approved permit parking less than a week later.
Even with the temporary permit parking signs, which went up on Wednesday, several drivers could be seen cruising the cul-de-sacs of Starlight Estates as the sun set. But when police patrolled the streets, warning drivers of the new policy — residents hadn’t had time to pick up their permits — some appeared to leave.
“I think permit parking can help a lot because if they have to walk a further distance to come up, at least — they could still be driving … but them hanging out down there, maybe that can reduce some of it,” said Starlight Estates resident Molly Schwartz.
“No Loitering” signs were also placed around the neighborhood, and new speed humps also appeared on part of Bel Aire Drive – both major requests of frustrated residents.
Casimiro Hernandezco, who has lived in Starlight Estates since 1973, said drivers park on the neighborhood streets to eat, then throw trash out their vehicles’ windows. The speeding, he added as he watched a car pull a sharp U-turn in the nearby cul-de-sac, also has residents concerned about their own safety.
“It’s dangerous for kids,” he said.
Though not all the 225 calls for service from Starlight Estates this year were related to the issues raised by residents, that number is much higher than the average for nearby Burbank districts: 45 calls per year.
Many residents said that when they initially brought their concerns to city officials earlier this year, an increased police presence improved the situation. But after officers became busy elsewhere, such as with recent protests, residents pushed representatives to seek larger measures.
“There’s no peace,” resident George Castillo said at that meeting. “When the police were present here, it improved. However, in April or so, or May, it definitely got worse. And it has not gotten any better.”
Data from the BPD submitted to the City Council showed that police conducted more than 550 “activities,” including issuing 150 citations, from the start of the year to June 19. Most of those were for drivers parking in red zones, ignoring no-parking and stop signs.
The people cited primarily have come to Starlight Estates at night and on weekends, according to the BPD data, and nearly all of them are younger than 30 — 10 were 16 or 17.
Officer Nicole Coblentz, who patrols the area, believes the new parking ordinance will help police address the concerns residents have had for some time.
“I’m happy to see that City Council heard from the voices of this community and issued the permit parking … to bring back peace for the residents,” she said.
The city also hopes that the permit parking zone will discourage further incidents, because none of the people cited had a Starlight Estates address, and only 18 with a known address live in Burbank.
That hope was reflected in the noticeably more optimistic tone of the residents who commented during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, though with a hint of caution.
“We’re going to be trying to change behavior that has been going on months, if not years,” Moiz Tayabji told council members. “That’s going to be a challenge, and I think we can do it with the right rules in place and the right enforcement.”