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Glendale to Erase Error on Apartment Moratorium

February 02, 1989|SANTIAGO O'DONNELL | Times Staff Writer

The Glendale City Council will take a second vote to extend the city's apartment building moratorium, this time allowing five days for public comment to make sure the action is legal.

In its haste to extend the moratorium, the council on Jan. 10 ignored a City Charter requirement that an ordinance be enacted only after a five-day waiting period.

The city made the same mistake in September and got caught. In a December ruling, Superior Court Judge Miriam Vogel said the city's initial moratorium of Sept. 27 had been improperly enacted because the public received no chance to comment.

Vogel allowed the moratorium to stand, saying it would have become effective by then anyway.

But last Thursday when a group of Glendale developers informed her about the extension, Vogel criticized Glendale officials for ignoring her ruling.

"The question of unclean hands jumps out at me," Vogel told Assistant City Atty. Scott Howard at a hearing.

Howard said he did not know how the council had taken the action. "I am the litigator. . . . I am not the city attorney," Howard said. "I know they extended it only from reading it in the newspapers."

Vogel has been hearing the developers' challenge to the moratorium, which so far has been unsuccessful.

A ruling on reconsideration of her first ruling is expected in a few days.

The judge said Thursday that she was inclined to let it stand.

But she advised the city to correct its mistake to save itself "some time and aggravation and another court appearance."

City Manager David Ramsey acknowledged that the city made a mistake in adopting the extension without notice.

"The staff sincerely apologizes," he told the council. "The ordinance will be discussed today and placed on the agenda for next week."

Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg said she would reluctantly follow Vogel's instructions. "I personally don't think we made a mistake," she said, "but we have to cover all the bases."

The initial 150-day moratorium was adopted Sept. 27 to prevent an overflow of building permit applications during reevaluation of the city's building and zoning codes.

The City Council extended it until April 24 because the city was unable to draw up new guidelines in time.

The Moratorium Litigation Committee, a consortium of developers, sued the city in November and asked the court to order that the moratorium be lifted.

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