Denying Pickwick Project Could Hurt Taxpayers

First published in the June 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

As a former Mayor/Councilman, I have been following this Pickwick development very closely, and I now understand that the state has now put the city on notice.
I am concerned that if the council continues to deny this project, all of the taxpayers of Burbank could be faced with tens of millions of dollars in state penalties, legal fees and developer lost profits. All of us have worked diligently, over the years, to run a balanced budget and maintain an acceptable financial reserve. If this denial is overruled by the state and a court of law finds that Burbank City Council denied the developer his right to proceed under state-mandated rules, our reserves could be in serious jeopardy if the developer prevails in a lawsuit. The way Senate Bill 35 law is written, our denial is on very shaky legal ground.
I understand the frustration of the Rancho residents (which I am one), and the frustration of all of the residents of Burbank. This loss of local control over land use in Burbank is, in my opinion, another example of gross state government overreach. Our hands have been tied because of state legislation that is beyond the control of the Burbank City Council. This is a very sad state of affairs that can and will continue to seriously impact the quality of life that we have grown accustomed to in our city.
If the Burbank City Council could please take a long hard look at the potential devastating financial impacts that this project denial action, if continued, could bring upon the city, as a whole.
Simply put, we can’t afford to take this risk, that’s heavily stacked against us, at the expense of the entire city. I understand that you are attempting to follow the desires of the Rancho residents, who opposed this project; however, the consequences could be devastating to all of the residents and our exceptional services. Thank you for your time and serious consideration of my comments.

Michael R. Hastings