Council Moves Toward Ban on Hillside Houses


The Glendale City Council took a first step Tuesday toward an 18-month ban on hillside housing subdivisions to allow city planners time to draft new rules for such projects.

The council voted 4 to 1 to introduce a hillside moratorium ordinance, with a final vote scheduled on Tuesday. Councilman Richard Jutras cast the dissenting vote.

"Continued development of our hillside can have irreversible consequences of the loss of open space and recreational space for current and future citizens if regulations on development during an interim period are not enacted," Planning Director John W. McKenna said in a written report to the council.

The moratorium would affect any subdivision plan that includes more than four houses. The council excluded plans for four hillside subdivisions, involving about 100 houses, that were already being processed by city planners.

Mayor Jerold F. Milner said up to 1,500 new single-family houses could be built on Glendale's hillside. Unless new restrictions are imposed covering matters such as grading and design, the next large hillside housing proposal could trigger a major public outcry, he said.

Some developers who own hillside land object to the proposed moratorium.

"I'm displeased," John Gregg, president of Gregg Development, said Wednesday. "I think it's not only unfortunate, but it's detrimental to the interests of Glendale. The city has been outspoken about the need for more single-family homes. The only place to put those in Glendale is on the hillside."

Planning consultant Marlene Roth, who represents three hillside developers excluded from the proposed moratorium, acknowledged that the city needs to update its plan for open-space preservation. But she added, "Philosophically, I have a concern. Why does it take 18 months to do that, and is it fair? My hope is that the study can be done in less time."

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