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Architectural Review Boards Back in Action : Zarian Cuts Vacation Short to Cast Key Vote

May 07, 1987|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

Deeply tanned and sporting leisure clothes, Glendale Councilman Larry Zarian flew home two days early from a vacation in Mexico last week to cast the deciding vote re-establishing the city's architectural review boards.

In his absence earlier in the week, the boards, which review the design of apartment and commercial buildings, were unexpectedly abolished.

Zarian's action halted fears that developers would use the abolition of the boards to seek approval for poorly designed buildings. Mayor Ginger Bremberg said several builders requested building permits without design approval shortly after the boards were suspended April 28. But city officials said they stalled the requests until the council reappointed the boards on Friday.

Old Ordinance Expired

The year-old ordinance that created the design review panels expired last week after Councilman John F. Day, who opposes controls over design, voted against temporarily extending it. Despite a 3-1 vote for extension, the ordinance died because a four-fifths vote was required.

Bremberg called Zarian back from his vacation in Cabo San Lucas to secure the extra vote at a special meeting on Friday. She said action otherwise would have been delayed for at least a month because Councilman Jerold F. Milner left Saturday for Tibet.

Officials predicted chaos in the local building industry if the council had not taken quick action. They warned that, without extension, about 60 developers who had plans pending could have demanded building permits without meeting design requirements. Others also might have changed approved plans or sought to rush through what the city saw as undesirable projects.

New Guidelines

The temporary guidelines specify that designs for apartment and commercial buildings provide "changes in material, height, projections in the vertical or horizontal plane or similar facade changes."

The council and community groups are continuing to study proposals for a revised design ordinance, expected to be considered for adoption by July 14. The revised measure would extend the life of the three review panels indefinitely and also could apply guidelines to condominiums and some single-family homes. Meanwhile, the emergency measure enacted Friday expires July 21.

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