In an apparent turnabout, developer Ken Doty told Glendale City Council members Tuesday that he will consider scaling down his plan for a luxury subdivision off Sleepy Hollow Place if they will let him submit a new proposal before new regulations on hillside development are adopted.
The council last week rejected by a 3-2 vote Doty's plan to build 25 million-dollar houses, refusing to certify an environmental review of the plan. Members said they wanted to see fewer houses and less environmental damage on the 30-acre site in scenic Glenoaks Canyon.
Doty refused to specify the number of houses he had in mind, saying only that he will work with the council to draft an acceptable subdivision plan. Over the past year, he has consistently argued that it would not be feasible to build fewer than 25 houses.
The Sleepy Hollow plan was one of four proposed projects exempted from an 18-month ban on hillside development passed last March to allow officials to develop new rules covering grading, ridgeline preservation and other matters.
Another proposal, a 12-house subdivision off Somerset Road in Chevy Chase Canyon, was narrowly rejected Monday by the city Planning Commission. It is expected to be reviewed by the council in January.
City officials said the ban would stop Doty from filing an alternative plan until revised rules are adopted and the ban is lifted in October. But last week, Councilman Jerold Milner asked the city staff to prepare a second exemption for Doty, arguing that it would be unfair to make the developer start over entirely with an alternative plan that conforms to new building guidelines.
Staff members and City Atty. Scott H. Howard responded by drafting an exemption for all four projects, saying that making an exception only for Doty would leave the city on shaky legal ground.
But Milner said Tuesday that he wanted only Doty to be able to submit an alternative plan before new hillside guidelines are adopted. He directed Howard and other city planners to draft an exception specifically for Doty. The matter will be presented to council members next week.
"I am not interested in opening up the opportunity to the world that we put on hold when we instituted the moratorium," Milner said. But he said Doty's plan deserves particular attention because it has been in the planning process for a long time.
It was uncertain Tuesday whether council members will approve the exception. Carl Raggio said he was wary of giving special treatment to only one project, and Mayor Larry Zarian has said he would not approve such an exception until Doty presents a revised plan more suitable for the area.
Richard Jutras, who along with Milner voted last week to approve Doty's environmental review, and Ginger Bremberg, who voted against it, did not indicate their positions.
Members of the Glenoaks Canyon Homeowners Assn., which had urged the council to reject Doty's 25-house plan, said Tuesday that the developer should have to wait for new building guidelines "like everyone else."
"I don't think you've shown a good reason for a special exemption," Andrew Cervik, a resident of Edwards Place, told the council. The rejection of Doty's environmental review "will give him a chance to work with you to decide how this city will be developed."
In a related move, council members voted not to approve a formal listing of their reasons for rejecting Doty's environmental review, saying that some clarification in wording was needed. The list will be revised and will return to the council next week for another vote.