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City Council Again Delays Lifting Freeze on Apartment Construction

June 15, 1989|SANTIAGO O'DONNELL | Times Staff Writer

The fate of Glendale's building moratorium has been left undecided once again as a divided City Council for the eighth time has postponed introducing an ordinance that would end the 10-month freeze on apartment construction.

The council Tuesday postponed introducing a so-called "design" ordinance that would end the moratorium and tighten the size and design standards for all new apartments.

The moratorium was adopted unanimously in September to prevent builders from rushing through building permits while the city changes its zoning laws.

All five council members have said their goal in reviewing the zoning laws is to limit the city's population to 200,000, as recommended by the General Plan. But they are split 3 to 2 on how to accomplish that goal. All changes to zoning ordinances require a 4-1 majority.

Mayor Jerold Milner and council members Carl Raggio and Ginger Bremberg favor a planning staff proposal to reduce by half the number of new apartments allowed per lot.

Vote It Down

Raggio introduced an ordinance that would temporarily adopt the zoning reductions favored by him, Milner and Bremberg, but Councilmen Dick Jutras and Larry Zarian said they would vote it down.

The proposal is too drastic, they said, and would lead to blight and decay because it would drive property values so high that developers would be discouraged from buying and renovating old buildings.

Jutras and Zarian believe that the population cap can be imposed through a more gradual approach that combines a less drastic zoning reduction with other growth restrictions, such as shrinking apartment zones while expanding single-family neighborhoods, limiting high-density construction to large lots and adopting a parking ordinance to force out residents living in converted garages.

"We will have to reach some kind of consensus," Zarian said. "Right now, it's all hanging."

But all five council members said they want to adopt temporary zoning restrictions before the moratorium expires Aug. 27 or upon adoption of the design ordinance.

It would require at least 10 months to reduce zoning density because whatever ordinance the council agrees on would require a General Plan amendment, an environmental review and public hearings.

2 Lawsuits

Developers with projects delayed by the moratorium have filed two lawsuits against the city.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Miriam A. Vogel ruled in favor of the developers in one suit, which challenged the legality of the moratorium. In February, she ordered Glendale to process developers' building permit applications according to the zoning laws in place before the moratorium. The city appealed, and an appellate court decision is pending.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra I. Janavs is scheduled to rule Friday on the second suit, which challenges the legality of two moratorium extensions.

At Tuesday's meeting, the council unanimously approved an amendment that would apply design ordinance standards, once such standards are in place, to the 51 projects delayed by the moratorium.

The council voted to apply even tougher but undetermined zoning restrictions to 25 of those projects that had not yet completed plan checks or received Design Review Board approval.

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