After listening to a staff report on proposed zoning changes, three members of the Glendale City Council said Tuesday that the draft ordinance is not tough enough and will need additional restrictions on population growth to get their vote.
The proposed ordinance, prepared by the Planning Department at the council’s request, would require smaller buildings, more landscaping and more parking in all new apartments, condominiums and townhouses.
City Planning Director John McKenna and Senior Planner James Glazer introduced the proposed changes to the council in a study session Tuesday.
The proposed ordinance is a slightly modified version of an earlier draft prepared by the staff in November. After several delays, the council scheduled the vote on the zoning changes for March 28, only days before the April 4 municipal election.
The timing of the vote has fueled suspicion among some developers that the council deliberately postponed acting on the changes to give the reelection campaigns of Mayor Carl Raggio and Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg a last-minute boost.
“It’s very apparent that they’re playing it up for the elections,” said Hak Vartanian, the spokesman for a group of developers who call themselves the Fair Growth Coalition.
Aesthetic Standards Cited
Council members said the proposed changes would improve the aesthetic standards required from all new residential buildings, but would fall short of reducing the influx of new citizens to a level that the city would be able to accommodate.
“The reason we are doing what we are doing,” said Councilman Jerold Milner, “is to regulate population density. I think we all got caught up with the aesthetics and lost sight of the real goal.”
Milner called the draft ordinance “totally inadequate.” He said the proposed changes would still allow for the construction of “three times as many housing units as we can afford.”
Citing data from the County Assessor’s records, Milner said the proposed ordinance would allow a population growth of 80,000 above the city’s current population of 160,000--if all the city’s residential property were fully developed.
“When you look at the number of automobiles and the number of people using schools and city services,” he said, “we can’t handle more than 200,000 inhabitants.”
Raggio and Bremberg echoed Milner’s remarks.
“It’s gotta be tougher,” said Bremberg, referring to the proposed ordinance. “I don’t feel that the proposal reduces the potential for a large population increase.”
Raggio said he likes the proposal but has “some concerns” about the extent to which it would “reduce the number of people per square foot.”