Home Designs to Remain Free of City Review

Times Staff Writer

The design of single-family homes in Glendale will remain free of city review for now.

A 4-0 City Council vote Tuesday quashed a proposed study to expand the authority of the controversial boards that control designs for all new apartments and commercial buildings in Glendale.

Last month, the city's planning commission approved a study that would have considered bringing single-family homes under the boards' jurisdiction. But council members said they needed more time to study existing design-review law and to define garish and inappropriate home construction.

"We need more specificity and more information. We need to have some pictures of things that abuse the lot sizes," Mayor Ginger Bremberg said after the meeting.

But Bremberg added that the issue is not dead, and that Glendale eventually wants to gain control over the architectural design of new homes. She said she expects such a proposal to cause much controversy among builders.

"They'll see it as an imposition on their right to have ugly houses," Bremberg said.

Glendale's design review boards evaluate factors such as shape and the type and color of building materials. Each board has five members--all building or design professionals--appointed by the City Council to one-year terms.

In related business, the council introduced an amendment to its design-review ordinance to extend the life of the boards for another year and introduce changes in their operation. The council is expected to give final approval Tuesday.

One change would require that extensions be approved by a majority City Council vote, not a four-fifths vote. That change was prompted by a snafu last month that left the city temporarily without a design review board.

In May, the council voted 3 to 1 to extend the life of the design review boards for a year, but the motion failed because it did not have the required four-fifths vote. The boards were hastily reinstated later that week when then-Mayor Larry Zarian flew back early from vacation to cast the deciding vote.

The amended ordinance would also require that rooftop equipment be screened from public view. It also shifts review of proposed condominium designs from the planning commission to the architectural boards.

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