City Council approves Resolution blocking T-Mobile wireless facility in Burbank neighborhood

7 Jun

Council Member Gordon asks City Attorney for assurances that the Resolution will hold up in court.  City Council also sets early August to address the problematic loophole in the city’s wireless ordinance.

Tuesday night, June 5, 2012, City Council unanimously approved a Resolution upholding the denial of a T-Mobile wireless facility at the Little White Chapel on Avon Street in an R-1 (single family household) neighborhood of Burbank.

The Resolution was a follow-up to the May 22, 2012 public hearing in which City Council voted 5-0 to approve the appeal by residents opposing the project, and asked its Staff to come back with a resolution that would support the approval.

The Council approvals on May 22 and June 5th are a welcome victory for residents affected by the proposed wireless facility project who have fought long and hard to protect and preserve their homes, families, schools, the character of and aesthetics of their neighborhood, and quality of life.

To make sure that victory sticks, Council Member David Gordon queried City Attorney Amy Albano repeatedly whether the Resolution as presented will hold up in a court of law if contested.

Dr. Gordon had good reason to question the legal strength of the Resolution.  It did not include a representative summary of the testimony and several arguments and concerns that were raised during the May 22, 2012 public hearing by the appellants, residents and Council Members.

To contrast and compare, the Nov. 22, 2011, “Findings for Denial” that Los Angeles County Counsel prepared in order to support the Board of Supervisors’ denial of a wireless facility project (that had been approved by the Planning Board and then appealed by residents) included points and concerns raised by Staff and residents during the various public hearings related to the project.  Other examples of LA County Board of Supervisors approved “Findings for Denial” were submitted in a Resident Report to City Council and Staff during Public Comment at the May 22, 2012 public hearing.

In response to Dr. Gordon’s questions, Attorney Albano explained that the city’s legal department worked together with the Community Development Department (which oversees the Planning Division) in preparing the resolution.  If the denial were contested in court, she said, the whole of the public hearing, including transcripts of the May 22 public hearing, and documents submitted by residents, would be entered into evidence.   However, she also said what would be challenged specifically would be the Resolution.

So Dr. Gordon asked Attorney Albano again whether the Resolution as is would hold up to a legal challenge in a court of law.  She replied “I believe so.”

Let’s hope that belief is strong enough to prevent any legal challenge by T-Mobile.

Burbank residents of Save Burbank Neighborhoods, the resident group that supported the appeal against the T-Mobile project on Avon Street, thanked City Council for their vote approving the resident appeal.

They also stated how they would like to work with the City in fixing the problematic loophole in the city’s wireless ordinance that has caused so much grief and continues to threaten Burbank neighborhoods.

City Council and Staff informed residents that City Council will take up this issue in early August.

What action can you take?

Join and/or support Save Burbank Neighborhoods today, and keep informed on what you can do to protect our treasured neighborhoods and quality of life.  Go to: http://saveburbankneighborhoods.com

Kudos and congrats again to the brave appellants who challenged the City with their appeal, and raised community awareness about the city’s wireless ordinance flaws.  A big round of applause to the hundreds of Burbank residents who have supported and assisted their efforts, too.

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