Council to Weigh Effect of Its Design Review Unit

Times Staff Writer

The Glendale City Council decided Tuesday to re-evaluate the city's 2-year-old process for preventing garish or unsightly construction.

The review, to begin next month, could make permanent and enlarge the scope and authority of the Design Review Board, which is empowered to examine the plans for all multifamily housing and commercial construction in the city. The board must be renewed annually.

In a report to the council, the Glendale Planning Department said that 20% of the 580 apartment projects so far reviewed for appearance were altered after their approval.

Most of the discrepancies involved minor changes, such as reduction in the size of balconies or change in the size or placement of windows, Planning Director John W. McKenna said.

Before Tuesday's vote, Mayor Carl W. Raggio suggested that council members consider expanding the board's authority to include review of single-family homes.

Failed to Garner Support

A similar proposal a year ago failed to gain any support when council members said they wanted more time to study design review laws and needed to better define garish and inappropriate home construction.

The Design Review Board was created to stop construction of boxy, ugly apartment buildings that officials complained were being built by developers throughout the city.

Initially, the Design Review Board was divided into two five-member panels of architects, real estate developers and design experts.

But a huge backlog in the first months of the program prompted city officials to appoint five more members to a third panel. The backlog has since been relieved and the third panel has not met since December, 1986.

The Design Review Board was abolished temporarily last year when Councilman John F. Day unexpectedly voted against extending the ordinance a second year.

But it was re-created a week later after Councilman Larry Zarian returned from vacation to cast the deciding vote.

Expansion of the ordinance required a four-fifths vote.

Evaluation of the board will begin with public hearings on May 9 before the Planning Commission and May 24 before the council.

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