The Glendale Planning Department has introduced plans to allow "bed-and-breakfast" facilities in neighborhoods zoned for apartments and condominiums.
The bed-and-breakfast inns would meet the needs of travelers, the homeless and owners who can no longer afford to maintain large, old homes, Planning Director John McKenna said at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
First, he said, the inns would offer "personable accommodations" to the traveling public. "We read in the newspapers that there seems to be a trend toward these more homelike accommodations, as opposed to a hotel or a motel."
Secondly, McKenna said, older homes could be preserved thanks to the added source of income.
He said that by preserving these homes, the city would be protecting historic landmarks and preventing the erection of newer, larger apartments that would add to the city's population, which the city is trying to keep from skyrocketing.
And, McKenna noted, the bed-and-breakfast inns would help the city meet recommendations recently added to its General Plan for transitional housing for families that become temporarily homeless, and need short- and medium-term support to get back on their feet.
"The Salvation Army, for example, could use the inns as transitional facilities," McKenna said.
The Rev. Greg Roth, head of a coalition of churches and charitable organizations that work with the homeless in Glendale, said he was elated about McKenna's proposal.
"That's great," he said. "I'm glad the city realizes that we need a variety of approaches to deal with the homeless problem."
The city allows owners of large homes to rent up to five bedrooms, but it restricts occupancy to one person per bedroom.
The proposal, authored by McKenna, would delete the occupancy restriction to allow couples or families with children to occupy a single room in these facilities.
Under the proposal, McKenna said, the inns would have to provide one parking space per guest.
After listening to McKenna's presentation, the council voted unanimously to set public hearing dates of Aug. 14 before the Planning Commission and Aug. 27 before the City Council.
McKenna said he prepared the proposal after members of the city's Historic Preservation Commission brought to his attention the request by a homeowner on Chester Street to open a bed-and-breakfast inn on his property because he needs the income.
"The house was not included in the city's Historic Preservation Element, but commission members said they thought the house should be preserved. This proposal is one way to do that," McKenna said.
Councilman Carl Raggio said he thought that the project was a good idea. "I think it has a lot of positives and not very many minuses. When my kids went to Europe, they used these types of inns to save money, and they got to meet a lot of people in a friendly environment."
No council member expressed opposition to the proposal.