The Glendale City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved zoning changes that would ban apartment construction in three neighborhoods, eliminating more than 400 potential building units from the General Plan.
In doing so, the council took a small step forward in its campaign to curb the city's rampant population growth.
City planners say nearly 30,000 building units now allowed will have to be eliminated to achieve the council's stated goal of limiting Glendale's population to close to the 200,000 recommended in the General Plan.
"That leaves us 29,000 more units to go," Mayor Jerold Milner said.
The council action followed requests by residents of those neighborhoods, who complained that further apartment construction would cause traffic congestion, parking problems and a strain on available open space.
The neighborhoods zoned down to single-family are:
* The 200 blocks of Irvine and Thompson avenues, zoned for horses and small apartments. Eighty-six potential new units will be eliminated as a result of the downzone.
* A medium-density apartment zone in the 1000 blocks of Grover and Davis avenues. The downzoning eliminates the potential for 166 new units.
* The vicinity of Madison Way, Roads End, Heminger Street, Mission Road and Colby Drive, which were previously zoned for medium-density apartments. This eliminates the potential for 156 new units.
The council still has a long way to go. Under present zoning standards, Glendale's population could soar to 300,000 before reaching full occupancy, city planners say.
And since Councilman Larry Zarian first asked residents to surrender the rights to develop their properties last year, the response has been lukewarm. In addition to the three neighborhoods downzoned Tuesday, only two more have done the same.
City Planning Director John McKenna said only one more neighborhood is contemplating a zone change.
"I'm disappointed," Zarian said. "I was hoping that more neighborhoods would downzone voluntarily, rather than having the City Council do it for them."
Glendale is in its second year of a moratorium on apartment, condominium and townhouse construction, which was adopted to give the council time to study, identify and target specific neighborhoods for down-zoning. Such a process would be completed by February, at which time the moratorium would be lifted, city officials said.
Council members said the down-zoning is needed because a population of more than 220,000 would put too much strain on the city's streets, schools and other services.
Since there have been no indications that many neighborhoods will step forward to request down-zoning, the council will be faced in February with the choice of either imposing what Zarian has called "wholesale down-zoning," or giving up on the council's two-year crusade to prevent a population explosion.
On Tuesday, the council held three separate hearings before voting on the down-zoning, during which most speakers praised the changes.
"It's a dream come true," Kathy Crunelle said after the hearing. "Our children will have a place to play." Crunelle lives on Grover Avenue and signed a petition requesting the down-zoning. Roughly half the homeowners from the three neighborhoods signed such petitions.
About one-third of the dozen or so speakers pleaded with the council not to take away their right to tear down their houses and replace them with apartment complexes.