Voters are facing a lot of confusion and controversy over a Burbank petition. At the center of the controversy is the proposed La Terra North 777 Front Street project, which the Burbank City Council unanimously approved last month. The petition seeks to put the brakes on the mixed-use Downtown Burbank project through a referendum ballot measure for the upcoming November general election. This bold move has raised the ire of city officials and the developer.
Burbank Fact Sheet
Last week, a “Fact Sheet” about the project appeared on the City of Burbank website. Recently, the developer began circulating flyers/mailers and paying for media ads calling for voters to “Protect Our City! Don’t Sign the Petition.” Hmm. The mailer claims to be part of Burbank fighting against “outside special interest groups.” However, the mailer and the ads are funded by SJ4 Burbank LLC, which lists the same Solana Beach, CA address as the developer. Also, listed as part of the “Don’t Sign the Petition” campaign Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, Burbank Chamber of Commerce, and Laborers’International Union of North America local 330.
Supporters behind the petition criticize the project as being out of step with the affordable housing needs of the city. La Terra includes a 300 plus room hotel, 573 rentals, and 69 “other” units. The city’s fact sheet says the “other” units are “held for 55 years for moderate-income households.”
The Developer’s mailer refers to them as “badly needed affordable units.” In a Letter to the Editor on MyBurbank , petition backers dispute that: “… the Project includes 69 moderate-income micro units. At 499 square feet, a micro unit is hardly comfortable living for an individual, let alone a working family that would benefit most from the project’s proximity to transit. Working families relying on affordable housing deserve access to an abundance of living space. They should not be relegated to choose between tiny micro-units or no housing at all. Their needs are no different than the families pursuing the project’s market-rate units. Furthermore, at 120 percent of the Area Median Income, moderate-income units in Burbank are unaffordable for many working families.” The letter is signed by UNITE HERE Local 11, Burbank Democratic Club, and Burbank Tenants’ Rights Committee.
Konstantine Anthony is the chair of the Burbank Tenants’ Rights Committee and a member of the Burbank City Transportation Commission. In an email, Anthony says the petition is necessary because “The referendum helps push Burbank to build what the city needs – more housing.”
Petition organizers need to collect signatures of 10 percent of the estimated 68,000 registered voters in Burbank. The deadline to submit those signatures is fast approaching. City Clerk, Zizette Mullins, told Media City Groove, “They have 30 days from the date of attestation (or certification) to the ordinance which was December 19th. “