Tropico Apartments project inspires zoning changes

To create a buffer between industrial buildings in the San Fernando Road corridor and the recently-approved Tropico Apartments, the City Council this week unanimously OK’d changing the zoning of 10 properties near the 220-unit mixed-use residential development.

The new zoning will prevent 10 properties in the 400 blocks of Fernando Court and West Cypress Street from having tenants that create a lot of noise or carbon emissions, among other issues. The idea, officials said, is to keep out activities that would negatively impact the quality of life of residents in projects that could crop in the nearby mixed-use zone approved for a portion of the San Fernando Road corridor in the early 2000s.

“It’s intended to create some compatibility from the existing land uses and the proposed land uses,” said Jeff Hamilton, senior city planner, at a Tuesday City Council meeting.

When the city created the mixed-use residential zone, which includes the location where the five-story Tropico Apartments is being built at 435 Los Feliz Road, it didn’t change the adjacent industrial zone because officials didn’t expect residential developers to respond so rapidly.

“At the time, we really didn’t expect residential to come, but it came,” said Community Development Director Hassan Haghani.

The zoning change would also allow a maximum of 467 residential units to be built along those 10 properties — which could house a forecasted 840 people — but residential developers would have to get permission to build first. Haghani assured the council that his staff would not recommend as much residential development in that area. However, he may recommend live-work units, he said.

Some council members had been critical of the zoning change when it was first proposed earlier this year as Glendale is experiencing one of the biggest building boom in decades. More than 3,800 units are either recently competed, under construction or in the entitlement process.

“I’m not for having that density of residential in that zone, period,” said Councilwoman Laura Friedman. “Not 600 units, not 400 units, not even 200 units.”

Only one tenant in the 10 properties would be affected by the zone change, which would allow a mix of light-industrial uses as well as residential: an emergency homeless shelter. However, the operator of the shelter, Ascencia, Glendale’s largest homeless services provider, does not plan to reuse that location for its winter shelter, city officials said.

Current remaining tenants, which include a lumber yard, church and an auto-related business, can stay under the zone change, officials said.

The council decision went against a recommendation from the Planning Commission, a lower-level committee that oversees city planning. The Planning Commission advised city officials to wait to change the zoning until after they create a region-wide plan for future development in South Glendale and evaluate a larger area for rezoning, Hamilton said.


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