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Airport Authority OKs More Time for Foes of Terminal

December 06, 1987|T.W. McGARRY | Times Staff Writer

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority has decided to give foes of its new terminal, including the City of Los Angeles, more opportunity to complain.

The authority, in a special meeting last week, voted to extend the Dec. 1 deadline for comment on a draft environmental report to Jan. 15 and hold a public meeting at the Burbank Hilton on Dec. 14.

At a Nov. 20 public meeting, Los Angeles City Council members and others who oppose the planned terminal asked for more time to review the draft document.

Airport commissioners said they were not legally obligated to hold another public session but will do so anyway, partly because a number of those who showed up for the earlier meeting left without having a chance to speak.

The commissioners differed over whether there should be restrictions on those who spoke at the Nov. 20 meeting, to encourage diversity instead of duplication of comment. A decision was postponed until their regular meeting Monday.

Although the authority is open to any type of public comment, virtually all those who spoke at the first meeting, and all those who asked for more time, expressed opposition to the plan. They complained that the new terminal would be larger and thus cause more noise, traffic, pollution and safety problems.

The City of Los Angeles, in a letter requesting more time for review of the draft, said the document is "highly technical and complex" and that the original 45-day review period includes the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods, when work time is lost.

Leading the opponents of the planned terminal at the first public meeting were Los Angeles City Council members Joel Wachs and Zev Yaroslavsky, whose districts include San Fernando Valley neighborhoods where airport noise protester groups are strong. Also appearing were representatives of Rep. Howard L. Berman, state Sen. Alan Robbins, County Supervisor Ed Edelman, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and City Councilman Michael Woo.

The new terminal would have 285,000 square feet of space, more than double the existing 130,000 square feet, and the number of boarding gates for aircraft would increase from 14 to 18. It would handle as many as 92,270 takeoffs and landings a year, almost double last year's 50,827, and 7.3 million passengers annually, more than twice last year's total of 3 million.

The FAA has been pushing airport administrators to construct a new terminal because the present structure, built more than 50 years ago, is too close to the runways to meet modern safety regulations.

However, anti-noise groups have repeatedly called for limits on airport operations, including controls on the direction of jetliner takeoffs and a ceiling on the number of flights allowed. The airport administration argues that under federal law it has no authority to do either.

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