Glendale City Council members Tuesday abandoned a plan for a citywide curb on construction of new apartments.
They said they will start limiting growth in individual neighborhoods instead.
City planners said they have identified 25 so-called sub-areas of Glendale in which the council may want to apply new rules on building.
The rest of the city, they said, could still be considered under one zoning ordinance.
Council members told the planners to return April 24 with more specific suggestions for zoning changes in the 25 neighborhoods.
"I think we're heading in the right direction," Mayor Jerold F. Milner said.
The council has been considering zoning changes to slow the city's population boom, which threatens to overcrowd schools, clog streets and overburden the sewer system. So-called downzoning would allow fewer housing units than are presently allowed on a lot.
The city Planning Commission in February recommended blanket density cuts for new condominiums and apartments. But council members asked for more flexibility after hearing complaints from property owners.
In the 25 sub-areas, planners may suggest that more new apartments be permitted if the neighborhood is already dominated by multifamily buildings. They also may urge that large apartment complexes be banned from neighborhoods that have mostly single-family houses.
The sub-areas, of varying sizes, were picked because of requests from property owners or because the current type of development there is homogeneous, said Principal Planner Jim Glaser. Sections of Glendale not within the 25 sub-areas would be governed by the blanket downzoning rules announced earlier.
"I think the selected areas, as a start, are very appropriate," Councilman Carl W. Raggio said.
Planning Director John W. McKenna said that at the April 24 meeting "we'll give the council various scenarios."
McKenna said the options will be aimed at allowing only 10,000 more housing units citywide--the limit suggested by some council members. These homes would give the city about 30,000 new residents or a peak population of about 230,000.
At Tuesday's meeting, council members continued to hear a mixture of praise and criticism from property owners about downzoning.
Albert Brown, part owner of a site on South Adams Street, said he cannot sell his property if the council reduces the number of units that can be built on it. "This is a hardship case," he said.
Donnalee Jackson said the value of her property near Columbus School "has dropped dramatically" because of the downzoning proposal.
But other residents said the construction of inexpensive apartment complexes in Glendale must be curtailed.
"I support downzoning," Nancy Moure said. "I don't think we want to start a tenement city here."
Mary Gregor also endorsed the growth curbs, saying, "It seems to me that overcrowding in the city is already evident.
"Anyone who's lived here for 25 years and has been a property owner is not going to lose money."