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Developer Revises Glenmore Canyon Plans : Housing: Proposals feature less-severe grading of hilltops for as many as 46 luxury homes near the Glendale Freeway.


GLENDALE — The developer of a proposed hillside subdivision in Glenmore Canyon on Tuesday submitted alternate plans that company officials say are more sensitive to homeowners' objections.

The new plans come just one month before final hearings on the controversial project are to begin.

Homes by Polygon of Laguna Niguel has proposed two new plans to build as many as 46 luxury homes on a 28.8-acre site west of the Glendale Freeway (2) at Mountain Street.

Plans submitted more than three years ago proposed cutting off the top of a horseshoe-shaped ridge to fill in a canyon to build as many as 61 luxury home sites.

Opponents say that the project would ruin the quiet of their neighborhoods, cause traffic congestion and overcrowding in schools, and create ugly scars on ridges surrounding canyon neighborhoods. Some of them argue that no development should be permitted on the site because all of the wildlife and vegetation was destroyed in a June, 1990, brush fire that also burned 64 adjacent hillside homes.

Rob Sharkey, a spokesman for the Glenmore Canyon Homeowners Assn., said his group and others are asking that a decision be delayed until the city adopts new rules for hillside development, possibly by November. He said proposed guidelines could reduce the number of lots permitted.

The developer originally proposed two alternatives, for 47 lots and 61 lots. Plans submitted this week offer two more alternatives for grading options, which would create 41 lots and 46 lots. Hearings are scheduled before the Planning Commission and City Council in September.

Polygon in 1987 won city approval for another development, the Rancho San Rafael subdivision, on 316 acres on the east side of the Glendale Freeway at Mountain Street. A massive area in the San Rafael Hills was carved out to make room for 544 homes in that subdivision, the largest ever in the city. Construction is to begin soon on the final 77 houses there.

That Polygon development and other grading projects that cut into ridge lines spurred a two-year moratorium in 1990 on hillside development. The moratorium was allowed to lapse in April because no new projects are planned in the wake of the recession.

The proposed subdivision in Glenmore Canyon, commonly called Polygon II, was submitted before the moratorium.

Marlene Roth of Polygon said the new plans call for grading that would follow the natural contour of the hillsides. Lots could also be clustered to avoid the visual impact of rows of houses atop a flattened ridge.

She said the number of lots has not been significantly reduced because Polygon, which has invested almost $6 million in the proposed subdivision, "needs to end up with an economically viable product."

Planning Director John McKenna has asked developers to explain the new alternatives at an informal meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 27 in Room 105 of the Municipal Services Building, 633 E. Broadway.

McKenna said he had not yet determined whether the new plans are substantially different from the earlier proposals studied in an environmental impact report. But he said the new plans "still call for a lot of lots."

Major changes could require additional studies, which might delay a decision on the project for months. McKenna said the latest alternatives "are coming in rather late for changes."

The three-member Environmental and Planning Board is expected to decide Sept. 10 whether environmental studies on the project are adequate. Public hearings are tentatively scheduled before the Planning Commission on Sept. 14 and the City Council on Sept. 29.

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