Council Draws Fire for Letting High-Density Projects Proceed

Times Staff Writer

The Glendale City Council's vote not to halt high-density development in areas of the city proposed to be "down-zoned" triggered an angry response this week from a residents'group.

George Davis, president of the Verdugo Woodlands Homeowners Assn., shouted at council members, "The law doesn't mean a damn thing in this town."

Davis' group in December asked the city to enforce a 60-year-old law relating to areas where a pending zoning proposal would lower the permitted density of developments. In such cases, the law said, a building moratorium had be placed on new construction that would violate the proposed new zoning.

The council, instead, changed the law last month to permit building to continue in such cases. The council said it would consider freezing the issuance of building permits on a case-by-case basis.

On Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to permit plans to proceed for construction of a 28-unit, four-story apartment project at 1826 Verdugo Knolls Road.

Proposed changes in the city's zoning law, to be brought before the council this spring, would limit buildings in that area to three stories. Residents had asked that a building permit be withheld, claiming the building would ruin their neighborhood, a mixture of one-family homes and two-story apartment buildings.

After listening to more than 90 minutes of testimony, council members said it would be unfair to halt plans by the developer, because he had purchased the property in August, before announcements of proposed zone changes.

Davis angrily told council members, "You changed the rules in the middle of the game. It's pretty fishy."

Echoing arguments made by others, Davis complained that builders are "rushing in under the wire" to build apartments in the city before zoning laws are changed.

The city in December issued building permits for 20 new apartment projects, a 54% increase over the average number of permits issued during each of the previous six months.

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