New regulations for the Starlight Estates neighborhood were approved at Burbank’s most recent City Council meeting, which took place on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
The meeting included introducing a pilot parking permit program in the neighborhood in order to curb the excessive loitering that has been plaguing locals severely in recent months. Although the estates don’t meet all standard criteria to warrant the permit, it was requested that the City Council take special consideration for the area due to the severity of the disruption experienced by locals. A recurring annual fund for a trash receptacle on Bel Aire Drive near Vista Ridge was also incorporated in the meeting agenda. Both measures were approved in a 5-0 vote.
Under the new program, all non-resident street parking throughout the neighborhood will be prohibited from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Monday through Sunday. Unless terminated or extended, according to the council’s determination, the parking permit will continue through the end of the year. Speed bumps have also been placed in the area to deter vehicles from driving too quickly.
Public Works Director Ken Berkman presented the issue to the council, noting the “inappropriate and illicit behavior” which has increased police presence in the area and resulted in 150 citations since January 1 of this year. In addition, Berkman called on police data to reveal the Starlight Estates as the fourth highest area of calls for police service this year in Burbank at 225 calls, in comparison to other neighborhoods which average at 30-50 calls per year.
The Burbank City Council revised this meeting agenda last-minute to include these proposals after an intruding group using fireworks started a brush fire at the estates on Thursday, June 18. The incident occurred after months of increasing tension between neighborhood members and groups of young adults who frequent the area and cause problems for residents by speeding loudly, leaving trash behind, and loitering from early evening through late-night hours.
Although the situation has improved in the neighborhood since the fire took place, resident and Burbank Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Debbie Kukta says she believes these measures, along with implementing neighborhood speed bumps, will continue to promote beneficial changes in the area moving forward.
“Enforcement of the permit parking should deter the multitude of cars that park throughout our neighborhood on a regular basis now,” Kukta said. “The speed humps placed last week along Bel Aire [Drive] have already had an impact on the speed of cars traveling along that section of the street just before entering our neighborhood and have had a noticeable effect on their speeds once entering our neighborhood. Even though it’s only been a couple of days, there’s been a clear decline in the number of cars driving through the neighborhood, speeding and gunning their engines.”
Kukta also feels that the approval from the Burbank City Council sets the tone for the expected quality of behavior for visitors of the Starlight Estates.
“These actions approved by the City Council clearly identify our neighborhood as a neighborhood where people live and have the expectation of safety and quiet,” Kukta said. “It’s not a destination for people to loiter for hours and disrupt the sanctity of the place where we live.”
Fellow resident Stephanie Brown expressed appreciation in the city’s response to recent events and has a positive outlook on how the changes will impact the Starlight Estates in the future.
“I’m very happy that the city has taken these measures,” Brown said. “I hope that they discourage the behavior we’ve been seeing. The police have been there every night to enforce so we hope that continues.”
While remaining optimistic, the city will continue to communicate with Starlight Estates residents and monitor how the regulations are affecting the neighborhood throughout the rest of the year. As time goes on changes may or may not be made depending on the efficiency of the new measures.
“It is our belief that all of these actions will keep people from parking in the neighborhood in the evening, and reduce people rolling through the stop signs and congregating in the view area,” Assistant City Manager Judie Wilke said. “Our plan at this point is to keep an eye on how things progress with the protections we have put in place and we will need to remain nimble.”