There will be a special election on April 4 in Glendora to decide whether or not new homes being built in the hillside areas should exceed our existing 25-foot height limit.
Existing law provides that no building in the single-family residential zone can exceed two stories or a total height of 25 feet. Existing law also requires a plan review of any development, even if it is built at the 25-foot limit, in the rural hillside residential zone.
Additionally, the hillside development zone allows for complete review and additional requirements at the discretion of the reviewing bodies.
Regulations encourage “utilization of varying setbacks and building heights, innovative building techniques and compatible building forms which serve to blend all buildings into the terrain.” Additionally, regulations allow for applicants to be asked “to submit a scaled profile model or an isometric drawing depicting any or all portions of the site for proposed development” and other studies and analyses, if required.
The proposal to be voted upon proposes that homes in the zones be allowed to exceed the 25-foot height limitation provided that the front and side setbacks are increased by one foot for each foot that is added to the height, not to exceed 30 feet. Additionally, homes may be built above 30 feet, but not exceed 35 feet, if the same setback requirements are met and a height plan is submitted for review by the Planning Commission and the City Council.
As the sample ballot indicates, I did vote “no” on the proposed ordinance, which will be voted on next Tuesday, when it came before the council, but not because I feel that homes should never exceed that 25-foot height limit. It is my contention that existing law allows the Planning Commission and council the flexibility to deal with development, including height, in a reasonable and responsible manner in the hillside areas.
It is also my contention that the council should accept the responsibility of reviewing any proposal when it involves exceeding that 25-foot height limit, just as it has done in the past using existing ordinances and guidelines. Height would be part of the review process rather than a variance procedure, which was determined to be invalid by the city attorney.
We should continue to review carefully, respecting the property rights of owners, the development that will take place in and near our hillside areas.