BURBANK — With plans for a new terminal stalled by the city of Burbank, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday identified an alternate site officials said could be developed without discretionary approval by the city.
The new 41-acre site, near North Hollywood on the southwest side of the airport, is owned by the Airport Authority and leased to tenants including private aircraft charter companies.
Burbank city officials have objected to the current plans for a new terminal site on land formerly owned by Lockheed Martin. The city has discretionary approval over that site because it would be a change of land use.
But Airport Authority spokesman Victor Gill said that Burbank's power to control development of the alternate site would be much more limited, because the land is already owned by the airport and designated for airport uses.
Peter Kirsch, special counsel to the city of Burbank on airport issues, said he could not immediately discuss the consequences of the authority action. But he did say there may be other state laws or local ordinances that would give the city leverage over the project.
Despite Monday's action, airport officials have not abandoned their original plans to construct a 250,000-square-foot, 14-gate terminal on the 130-acre Plant B-6 site formerly owned by Lockheed Martin, Gill said. That plan has already been submitted to the city.
"Indeed, we hope the city will process our application as soon as possible," Gill said. "As a backup, we are now beginning to look at an alternative site already owned by the airport."
But city officials have said they will not approve a terminal unless it is tied to a mandatory overnight noise curfew and other measures. Burbank voters also a approved a measure last month forcing the council to submit any terminal deal it approves to a citywide vote.
Airport officials say the alternative site could be developed with the same size terminal and number of aircraft parking gates. At its meeting Monday, the authority voted to negotiate a contract with Environmental Science Associates to prepare an environmental assessment of the new site.
The authority would still need to take another vote to commission the study.
Charles Lombardo, one of three Burbank representatives to the Airport Authority, said there are disadvantages to the new site, including the need to build a pedestrian tunnel linking the parking structure to the terminal.
"The time, money and energy can be better spent resolving the issues on the [original] B-6 site," Lombardo said. "The thought of building a terminal before a curfew is in place is a giant step backward."
The authority actions come as airport officials have been preparing to sell the former Lockheed property, which the authority purchased last year for $86 million for a new terminal.
A development agreement between the city of Burbank and the airport required the Airport Authority to put the property up for sale because it failed to reach an agreement with Burbank officials by May 24.
The property has not sold yet, and the authority is still awaiting a response to its application to develop the site.
The airport has been trying to overhaul the 70-year-old terminal--which is too near the east-west runway to meet modern safety standards--since 1980.
Airport and Burbank city officials were hoping to avoid a formal noise study in a historic August 1999 deal to build a 14-gate terminal in exchange for plans to shut the Burbank Airport terminal between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
But in the face of opposition from the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines and residents, the agreement fell apart. Then, FAA Chief Jane Garvey said in March that the airport must conduct a noise study before trying to ban nighttime flights.
In other action Monday, the Airport Authority took several actions aimed at beefing up safety on its east-west runway, from which a Southwest Airlines 737 skidded last March, injuring six people. The authority wants to acquire and demolish the gas station on Hollywood Way that was narrowly avoided by the skidding jet.
The authority also wants to install collapsible "speed arresting" barriers at the end of the runway, which officials say could stop a Boeing 737 traveling at up to 50 knots.
The authority is seeking a $25-million grant from the FAA to finance purchase of the land and pay for the barriers.
Times staff writer Jean Guccione contributed to this story.