Council OKs Growth Limit for Glendale to Year 2010

Times Staff Writer

After almost three years of study, the Glendale City Council, by a vote of 4-to-1, has adopted a new zoning ordinance and land-use element of the city’s general plan that will significantly limit the city’s population growth.

The new ordinance will take effect April 25 and supersede zoning laws on the books since 1922.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I think you’ve seen history here today,” announced Mayor Jerold F. Milner after the vote. He initiated the complex rezoning project when elected to the council in 1983.

Changes in the zoning laws and building codes affect all 53,000 parcels of land in the city. The new law will limit the population to 200,000 residents by the year 2010, an increase of 50,000 over the current population but 100,000 fewer than would have been allowed under the old ordinances.


Believed to Be First to Comply

Glendale is believed to be the first city in the state to bring its zoning laws into compliance with the growth projections of its general plan, as required by 1971 legislation, said Terry Rivasplata of the state Office of Planning and Research. The legislation was designed to curtail the uncontrolled growth and piecemeal development.

The lone vote of opposition was cast by Councilman John F. Day, who said he objects to the “profound and irreversible changes” brought about by the new ordinance, which tightens controls over the density of new apartments, condominiums and other development.

Day said the changes lower the value of many parcels in the city and deprive owners of their property rights.


He predicted the city’s action will be challenged in the courts, adding, “We shouldn’t be doing this to our citizens, anyhow.”

But the other four council members hailed the long-awaited decision as the advent of controlled growth. Milner called the action “a major step in the right direction of providing a legacy for our grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their children.”

Involves Total Reorganization

The changes represent a complete reorganization of the city’s building laws, providing for moderate growth in large areas of the city where high-density development previously was permitted. A design review process also has been created, giving the city control over the architecture and amenities to be included in most new buildings.


The ordinance also provides for:

Establishment of buffer zones between incompatible developments, such as commercial buildings and homes.

Limitations on building heights throughout the city, except within the downtown Redevelopment Project.

Restrictions on office development within industrial areas.


Increased parking space requirements for new apartment buildings and commercial and industrial developments.

More control over the types of businesses permitted to operate within various zones.

Anticipation of the massive rezoning has been viewed as at least partly to blame for record construction in the city within the last 18 months as developers rushed to begin projects before new restrictions were adopted. Lower interest rates and the availability of construction loans also were factors, city planning officials said.

Since proposed zoning changes were announced Oct. 1, 1984, the city has received applications for 388 apartment projects with a total of almost 4,500 units, according to a planning department survey. By contrast, only 135 apartment buildings with 2,286 units were built during the previous 12 years.