When city planners wrote the new zoning ordinance that the Glendale Planning Commission considered this week, they had two goals in mind--reducing the density of new apartments and making them more attractive.
The new ordinance would force developers to build shorter apartment and condominium buildings that sit farther back from the street and would blend in better with Glendale neighborhoods.
The buildings would be smaller and have more one-bedroom apartments and more parking spaces. And developers of structures with more than 24 units would have to install swimming pools, laundry facilities and landscaping or pay special fees to the city.
The revamped zoning ordinance is meant to curtail the construction of large apartment buildings with four- or five-bedroom units that Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg likened to "giant cubes" because of their boxiness.
Often, these buildings take up as much space as possible, consuming most of the grounds that otherwise could be landscaped.
"It's the trend," developer Berdj Karapetian said. "More developers are building and more people are buying large apartments."
The heart of the new ordinance will attempt to reverse that trend by reducing the bulk and scale of future projects.
"The staff proposal would encourage the development of more modest-size dwelling units, including one-bedroom apartments, which are currently not being proposed by the development community," Planning Director John McKenna said.
City planners are also seeking ways to cushion the impact of Glendale's continued population growth. One of the ways is to require more space between buildings. Another is to require deeper building setbacks from the streets. The proposed ordinance would do both.
The number of parking spaces required would increase to a minimum of two per unit. Developers would no longer be permitted to fulfill parking requirements with compact car-sized spaces substituting for full-sized spaces.
Also, the new ordinance would treat each level of a partially underground parking garage as a full story, a change aimed at lowering the overall height of new buildings.
Increase Building Costs
Finally, the ordinance would add a number of features that could upgrade the occupants' quality of life and would certainly make it more costly to build apartments in Glendale.
All new buildings with more than three units would have to be equipped with spas, for example. Structures with more than 24 units would have to include swimming pools. If builders do not wish to build the pools, they may pay fees to the city instead.
Elevators would be required for apartments three stories or taller. Landscaped outdoor space would be required, as would laundry facilities.