The Glendale Planning Commission has rejected as unfair a controversial proposal to prohibit high-rise development on the borders of the city's downtown redevelopment area.
The plan would tighten the city's restrictions on construction of commercial buildings higher than six stories and residential buildings higher than three stories. The Planning Commission voted 3 to 0 Monday to recommend that the City Council deny the proposal.
Council members are expected to consider the proposal Oct. 27.
The proposed height restriction set the same limitations as those already set by the city's zoning laws. But the proposal differs from the zoning rules in that it would prohibit exceptions to the rules.
Developers, builders and Chamber of Commerce representatives strongly oppose the proposal, saying that it would eliminate the city's variance procedure that allows developers to seek exceptions to the height restriction on a case-by-case basis.
The plan was proposed by the Glendale Redevelopment Agency after Councilman John F. Day and others expressed concern that the downtown area will become flooded with development, noise and traffic problems.
Susan Shick, director of the redevelopment agency, said the plan is designed to send a strong message to builders that City Hall will permit high-rise construction only along Brand Boulevard, the central corridor of the downtown redevelopment area.
Boundaries of the redevelopment area are Central Avenue, Maryland Avenue, Glenoaks Boulevard and Colorado Street.
'Merit to Both Arguments'
Others argue, however, that some other properties, such as those bordering the Ventura Freeway at Central Avenue, may be better suited to high-rise development.
"I've thought about this long and hard," said Planning Commissioner Gerald Briggs, "and there is merit to both arguments. But it is ridiculous to say 'never' to a potential exception."
Planning Commissioner Don Pearson said he is not opposed to a height limitation, but added that it is unfair to eliminate a select number of property owners from applying for a height variance.
"I don't feel that we should be taking more away from property owners," said Lloyd Boucher, another planning commissioner.
Planning Commissioners Duane DeCroupet, chairman, and Gary Tobian said they abstained from voting because they have financial investments in the downtown area that would be affected.
James Pollard, a longtime Glendale developer and a member of the Glendale Building Commission, said the proposed height restriction "really doesn't make a lot of sense to me." He called the restriction "window-dressing" for rules the city already has adopted.