Despite opposition from neighbors, the City Council approved two five-story residential developments on Tuesday, with some Council members saying their hands were tied because the projects meet city zoning requirements.
The council has control over design and environmental issues, but a building's maximum size is governed by set city rules.
"They are entitled to build," said Councilman Frank Quintero. "I think it's just a question of trying to mitigate the damage to…[surrounding] homes."
The approvals come as antidevelopment sentiment has swept the campaign trail as five candidates vie for one seat on the council in the June 3 election. Glendale is experiencing a development boom with more than 3,000 units across roughly two dozen projects either recently constructed, under construction or in the entitlement process.
Most of the development has occurred in the commercial downtown area, but the two projects approved this week were not in the city's core.
One development at 507 to 525 W. Colorado St., near the Golden State (5) Freeway entrance, features 90 residential units, 18,000 square feet of medical-office space and 1,000 square feet of restaurant space across four structures.
The project, called Colorado Lofts, is slated to be across the street from ICIS, one of the first new developments to be built in recent years.
ICIS has 186 apartments, 14 three-story townhomes and 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
While ICIS is aimed at attracting Generation Y tenants, Gregory Tam, project manager of Glendale-based developer CCTAN, said Colorado Lofts wants to attract seniors and families. It is slated to include five affordable-housing units as well as more parking than required by city code.
About a half mile away, the other project approved Tuesday, called Pacific Luxe, a 65,975-square foot, 27-unit condominium complex, is located at 619 to 627 South Pacific Avenue.
The council rejected the 90-unit project last year because it was too big. As a result, CCTAN cut 10,000 square feet of retail space from the project and removed a planned child-care center to ease traffic concerns.
"This applicant has done everything a year ago we required them to do," said Mayor Zareh Sinanyan. "They are not asking for any shortcuts."
Despite completely changing the design, neighbors said the developer didn't do enough to minimize impacts to nearby single-family homes.
"Do they have a right to build? Yes, but this is — it's monstrous," said William Kopp, a homeowner in the neighborhood.
Rosalinda Gallegos, who lives near the Pacific Luxe development, also said that project was too large.
Her street is dotted with single-family homes and two-story apartment complexes. The largest nearby building is the five-story Department of Public Social Services building on San Fernando Road and Pacific Avenue.
While Councilman Ara Najarian was the sole dissenting vote for the 90-unit project — he has lately been rejecting every apartment project brought before the council and has long railed against downtown apartment buildings with small unit sizes — he approved, along with the rest of his colleagues, the 27-unit project because it included condominiums.
"These are large units. These are units that can bring in families," Najarian said.