Council Again Stalls Vote on Easing Building Moratorium

Times Staff Writer

After listening to more than two dozen developers and their supporters attack a moratorium on the construction of apartment buildings and condominiums, two Glendale City Council members said Tuesday that they would favor some exceptions.

But for the second time, the council postponed a decision to determine which of the 100 projects affected by the moratorium would be allowed to continue.

Mayor Carl Raggio put the vote over until next week, citing the absence of Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg, who was at an out-of-town conference.

The moratorium was enacted Sept. 27 to prevent a rush of builders’ applications as the city considers imposing stricter rules on new development. As written, it stops all projects for which permits have not been issued.


Last week, Assistant City Manager Robert McFall, who headed a committee that studied the effects of the moratorium, told the council that about 70 projects would be affected. The council postponed a vote then because McFall had not completed his review of those projects.

This week, McFall raised to 100 the number of proposed projects that had not received a permit before the moratorium’s cutoff date. A review of 71 of them revealed that 21 were exempt from the moratorium because they already had completed the permit process or were below the moratorium’s density requirements.

Another 50 projects were placed in categories corresponding to the progress they had made in the building permit approval process. “Substantial” progress had been made in 13 projects. Another 16 had completed at least of some the requirements necessary for a permit, McFall said.

Councilman John Day said developers who had nearly completed the approval process should be exempted from the moratorium.


“Fairness and equity would indicate that those projects should be allowed to proceed,” Day said.

Councilman Larry Zarian, who is a developer, went a step further, saying those who had made some progress should also be exempted.

More than 100 people packed into the council chambers for the meeting, at which the council was expected to decide, after hearing the committee’s final report, which building projects would be exempted from the five-month moratorium.

At a news conference held shortly after the meeting, members of the Glendale Fair Growth Coalition, a group of 300 builders, architects and developers, expressed dissatisfaction with both the moratorium and the committee’s report.

“We are disappointed with the absence of constructive action by the city,” said coalition chairman Haik Vartanian.

The coalition will press the council to allow building permits for all projects that were submitted to the city for approval before the Sept. 27 cutoff date, Vartanian said. He also said he hoped that the city would allow a grace period for developers who had not submitted their plans to the city before that date.

During the meeting, however, the council members reiterated their support for the moratorium.

“It is difficult to draw a line, but we have drawn a line,” said Councilman Jerold Milner. “I am not willing to change the guidelines.”