Spanos declined to predict how she would vote on the matter. But she acknowledged that the new council could require airport officials to obtain a special permit to limit aircraft gates and operations before rezoning the land.
"People are scared, afraid and terribly concerned about more gates and more flights, more so than they ever have been," said Howard, who has been endorsed by Golonski and Wiggins.
Airport spokesman Victor Gill said he is unsure what airport officials will do if the request to rezone land is denied.
"I don't think that's been thought through. We would work with the city to get our project approved. There is now, and always will be, change in the council members of the three cities," he said, referring to Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, which each appoint three commissioners to the airport's operating board.
The election has prompted at least one airport official to say that he would be willing to support a much smaller terminal than the one being proposed.
"I've got eyes and ears. I can read the tea leaves," said Brian Bowman of Burbank, who serves at the pleasure of the Burbank City Council as president of the airport's nine-member operating board. "I read what these people are saying and hear what these people are saying. Some are saying they don't want to see any increase."
Burbank council members, he added, "certainly have the control and the ability to influence what the authority builds at that site."
Glendale has taken no official position on the idea of a popular vote, but the mayor of Pasadena, Kathryn Nack, said she is opposed to such a ballot measure.
"The three cities are equal partners," she said. "The people of Burbank may vote one way, but the cities of Glendale and Pasadena have as much equal say in what happens there."
Golonski, the council's most outspoken critic of airport expansion, declined to comment. Wiggins could not be reached.