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City May Drop Zoning Plan Requiring High-Rises

April 18, 1985|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

A controversial proposal calling for development of high-rise residential towers adjacent to Glendale's downtown redevelopment area may be dropped, City Council members said this week.

Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg on Tuesday pledged to "become a crusader" to block the plan by city staff members to convert a nine-block residential neighborhood into a district of high-rise apartments, condominiums and retirement hotels.

City planners last fall proposed a new zone classification that would require any new buildings in an area between the Ventura Freeway and Broadway and Central and Columbus avenues to be at least five stories high and built on three or more lots.

No Limit on Height

John McKenna, city zoning administrator, said there would be no limit on the height of the buildings provided the density did not exceed one unit for every 450 square feet of land.

Provisions of the zone would specifically prohibit developers from building lower-density apartments in the area because such development would delay high-density development.

If the planning recommendations were to be adopted, the proposal eventually could dramatically alter the neighborhood, now made up largely of single-family homes and low-rise apartments.

Developers charge that there is no demand for towering residential development and that the proposed restrictions would make any development economically unfeasible.

2 Empty Complexes

James R. Pollard, president of the Glendale Building Industry Assn., pointed to what he said are two virtually empty high-rise condominium developments adjacent to the Ventura Freeway in Glendale--one near Brand Boulevard, the other near Pacific Avenue--as examples of lack of demand for such housing.

The area proposed for the new R-450 zoning is now classified as R5, currently the highest density residential zoning in the city. The R-5 zone does not set minimum restrictions on building heights and lot sizes. The R-450 zone would require a minimum lot of 20,000 square feet--about three residential lots--before any development would be permitted.

High-density zoning could significantly increase property values, but residents of the area have voiced opposition, warning that a single lot could become virtually worthless if it became isolated between giant buildings because it could never be developed.

The council Tuesday tentatively adopted proposed zone changes in the western Glendale area as part of its continuing citywide rezoning study. However, the council unanimously excluded approval of the R-450 zone, calling instead for a public hearing on the matter.

Councilman Larry Zarian said of the high-rise proposal: "The only place those buildings work is in Hong Kong."

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