A Beverly Hills developer's proposal to demolish a commercial horse stable and replace it with condominiums has been unanimously denied by the Glendale Board of Zoning Appeals.
The decision to deny a zoning variance to Jamco Development Co. brought cheers from more than 85 Glendale area residents who crowded into a small hearing room Nov. 13 to protest the proposed destruction of Silver Spur Stable on Riverside Drive.
"The city fathers have seen fit to call that property equestrian. . . . I think we should leave it alone as horse country," said William D. Plumley, a Board of Zoning Appeals administrator.
"Glendale doesn't need another apartment building. The stables here are a unique thing. Once it's gone it's gone forever," said James Ingersoll, a Studio City resident who boards horses in the area.
Concern over Silver Spur's future prompted formation of the Ranch Equestrian Protection Agency, a group dedicated to preserving horse properties near Griffith Park along the Los Angeles River in Burbank and Glendale.
Agency members hope to obtain a historic designation from the cities of Los Angeles and Burbank and the county of Los Angeles to preserve horse properties in the area, including Silver Spur.
The number of commercial stables in the area has dwindled from 40 to 15 in the last 20 years. There are now four commercial stables in Glendale. Horse owners prize the stables because they are just a few minutes from the 60 miles of trails in Griffith Park.
One of teh equestrian agency's founders, Alexander Haagen III, has offered to buy and maintain Silver Spur. The owners agreed several months ago to sell the property to Jamco if the developer could obtain a zoning variance to build 24 condominiums. The land is zoned for commercial horse keeping.
A Jamco spokesman said the company has not decided whether to appeal the case to the Glendale City Council.
The Board of Zoning Appeals ruling overturns a decision made in September by Glendale Zoning Administrator John W. McKenna. McKenna said in a report that Silver Spur failed to meet city building codes and that the proposed apartments would improve the site.
The ruling marks the second time in as many months that stables near Griffith Park have won a reprieve from demolition. In October, Burbank's planning board denied a proposal to convert Dincara Stock Farm on South Mariposa Street into a public storage facility.