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Motion Made to Relax Building Moratorium

December 21, 1989|SANTIAGO O'DONNELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Glendale City Council took the initial step Tuesday toward easing a 15-month-old construction moratorium in neighborhoods zoned for apartments, condominiums and townhouses.

Councilman Larry Zarian introduced an ordinance that would provide exemptions from the moratorium for several kinds of construction.

It would allow:

* Single-family houses on empty lots.

* Churches and convalescent homes.

* Additions to houses on properties that already have more than one dwelling, subject to approval by the city's Design Review Board, which enforces architectural regulations.

* Additions of up to 400 square feet to apartments, condominiums and townhouses to a maximum of 1,200 square feet.

* Signs for institutions such as churches and schools.

Council members Dick Jutras and Carl Raggio praised the proposal, but Mayor Jerold Milner said he would vote against it. City officials disagreed on whether it would take three or four votes for adoption. The council postponed a vote until Jan. 9, when Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg is scheduled to return from vacation.

"I find the concept very appealing," Raggio said during the meeting, "especially the aspect of limiting apartments to 1,200 square feet. That's the size apartments used to have, and that's what we intended all along."

Jutras agreed. "I like what we're doing," he said. "A lot of people got caught up in the moratorium and couldn't fix their place or make it larger."

Milner said he favored allowing the construction of and additions to single-family houses in apartment neighborhoods and exempting churches, convalescent homes and signs from the moratorium. But he said he would vote against the ordinance unless the exemptions for apartments and properties with more than one dwelling are stricken.

"With all due respect for the people involved," he said, "people will take advantage of this ordinance for purposes other than making cosmetic changes."

The moratorium was adopted in September, 1988, to allow the city time to come up with zoning controls to limit the city's population to close to the 200,000 recommended in its general plan.

City officials are drafting an ordinance, which would require an environmental impact report and amendments to the general plan's zoning maps. The moratorium, which has been extended several times, is due to expire on Oct. 10, 1990, or whenever the new growth-control ordinance becomes effective.

It was not immediately clear whether the three votes of Zarian, Jutras and Raggio would be sufficient to adopt the proposal introduced Tuesday. Acting City Atty. Dennis Shuck said three votes would suffice because temporary ordinances require a simple majority. But principal planner James Glaser noted that zoning ordinances require four votes and said this one falls into that category.

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