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Limits on Density to Be Studied : Apartments: La Canada Flintridge could set up more stringent rules on the number and size of units permitted on lots.

November 08, 1990

With pressure for new multifamily housing mounting, the La Canada Flintridge City Council on Monday ordered city staff and planning commissioners to develop a variety of measures that would reduce the density of apartments constructed in the city.

The council's action could lead to more stringent rules on the number and size of units permitted on lots in multifamily residential areas--a policy that is becoming increasingly common in California cities. Neighboring Glendale adopted similar rules Tuesday after years of study.

A staff report issued Monday concluded that "most cities of similar residential character to La Canada Flintridge are phasing out their greater density areas, placing stricter development standards and approval requirements on multifamily projects, and are downzoning many areas adjacent to single-family residential areas."

A staff survey of 45 similar cities found that only 13 still permit maximum densities of 30 units per acre as now allowed in La Canada. The rest of the cities recently have changed building rules to lower permitted densities and increase setback, open space and landscaping requirements, according to the report.

Multifamily development standards have not been changed in La Canada Flintridge since the city incorporated in 1977 and adopted the standards used by Los Angeles County.

But, as land costs have risen and the demand for more economical housing for seniors has increased within the last two years, developers are now seeking to build projects with greater density, city planners said. Many of the projects border on single-family neighborhoods, threatening their semi-rural character.

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