In the wake of strong protests from builders, Glendale officials this week said they are reconsidering their stance on a moratorium that virtually halts all new medium- and high-density residential development in the city.
An emergency ordinance unanimously enacted last week blocks the issuance of building permits for most apartment projects and condominiums that had not been fully approved by the city as of Sept. 27.
But city officials this week said they may revise the ordinance by allowing projects that have been substantially approved to proceed through the permit process.
Glendale City Manager James H. Ramsay said he is “sympathetic to those who are caught in the interim period, those who had plans in the hopper.” He said that unlike other cities that have adopted “slow-growth” and “no-growth” policies, Glendale officials favor “reasonable growth while still maintaining the quality of life.”
Attorney Dana Sherman, who said he represents more than 300 builders, architects and others in the development community, told the Glendale City Council on Tuesday that the hastily imposed moratorium “was obviously unfair.”
Sherman said the action jeopardizes more than $44 million worth of proposed new development now in the city’s planning review process.
The City Council unexpectedly imposed the five-month moratorium to thwart any attempt by developers to rush proposed new projects through the permit process while the city considers imposing stricter rules on new development.
Council members last month said they are concerned about a recent trend among developers to build larger-sized apartment buildings and condominium projects. They said the larger buildings create a greater density than the city envisioned and result in parking and landscaping problems.
City officials said the moratorium is necessary to avoid repeating the rush of applications for building permits filed several years ago when the city last reviewed zoning and building rules.
In response to the moratorium, developers quickly formed a group called the Glendale Fair Growth Coalition and hired Sherman as their attorney. The group has asked that members be allowed to serve on a committee to be formed by the city to study proposed new building rules.
Sherman said more than 300 members of the building industry attended the coalition’s first meeting Monday to express their views to Ramsay and Councilman Larry Zarian.