HomeLettersAt Long Last, More Housing to Come

At Long Last, More Housing to Come

In the Feb. 17 edition of the Burbank Leader, a letter writer pointed out the lack of affordable housing in Burbank as a contributing factor in local homelessness, which is in large part due to the town’s history of stubborn NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) politics.

A sure way for our City Council to bring large numbers of angry homeowners to one of their meetings is to schedule a vote on approving even a modest-sized apartment construction project, which will result in anguished pleas to the contrary. Burbank’s so-called Equestrian Rancho Neighborhood has for many years been the leading force for preventing new housing and apartment construction, bringing out hundreds of residents to demand that nothing be approved by the council that might upset their neighborhood status quo.

The Equestrians have long been used to getting their way by overwhelming the council members with their large and loud numbers of supporters. In 2016, the Rancho forces were able to badger the council members into reversing a policy that would’ve allowed bicyclists to safely walk, or even carry, their bikes across the public Mariposa Bridge to ride on the Griffith Park Side, since the Equestrians wanted the bridge exclusively for themselves. In Nov. 2017, the horse owners were successful in bullying the council to vote 3 to 2 to deny a permit to a developer who proposed building 34 homes on a 4.7-acre vacant lot at 814 N. Mariposa St. near Riverside Dr.  I spoke at that meeting to the Council members of how approving the new home building would help alleviate Burbank’s housing shortage, add to our tax base at a time when there was a serious budget deficit, and suggested they make their approval conditional on the developer setting aside a number of the proposed homes for low income buyers. Again, the Equestrians got their way in stopping approval of the new home building proposal.

A recently approved California law was passed compelling every district in the state to add low-income housing to all of their new construction, so now Burbank has been forced to approve a large new living community at the old Pickwick Bowling Lane site. The Equestrians of the Rancho neighborhood did their predictable loud complaining to the City Council and flooded the newspapers with enraged letters opposing the new construction but were told, at long last, by a city official that our town’s governing policies are for the entire community and not just for the Rancho Equestrians.

Doug Weiskopf


First published in the February 24 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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