Glendale City Council members agreed Tuesday to extend the moratorium on new apartment and condominium construction until Jan. 8, allowing them more time to approve the final pieces of a citywide growth-control program.
The council also reached a consensus on two of the growth-control elements: a building cap ordinance, which will limit the number of new houses built annually, and a variance procedure, which will aid single-family house owners who are surrounded by large apartment complexes.
The building freeze was approved in September, 1988, after council members became concerned about traffic congestion, parking problems and overcrowded parks and schools, all attributed to a boom in apartment and condominium construction. After a successful court challenge by developers, a new moratorium was adopted in October, 1989. It was scheduled to expire Nov. 9.
Last week, Councilman Jerold Milner requested that the moratorium be extended until next June to give the council time to adopt new growth controls. But at Tuesday's meeting, other council members complained that Milner's proposed extension was too long.
"I think we need something that will force us to make decisions before the end of the year," Councilman Carl Raggio said.
"Although I think we need to give ourselves ample time, I think 60 days is plenty," said Mayor Larry Zarian, who scheduled a council study session for 8 a.m. Tuesday to expedite the growth-control decisions.
"I think we need to set ourselves a deadline, deal with it and be done with it, and let the community get back to business," Councilman Richard Jutras said.
Milner and Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg expressed concerns that the growth-control measures may not be completed before the end of the year, but they agreed to support the 60-day extension. The council can extend it again, although council members said they hope they will not have to do so.
After several weeks of debate, the council also tentatively agreed on a building cap ordinance. Under the ordinance, the city would issue up to 700 building permits annually for apartments, condominiums and detached houses that will be sold or rented at prevailing market rates.
The permits for multiple-family housing will be awarded through a quarterly competition, in which city planners will give the first permits to the projects judged to have the best quality.
Another 700 permits designated only for affordable housing will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis without a competition.
The building cap ordinance is expected to be introduced next week, with final approval scheduled one week later.
The council still must approve a downzoning plan, which will reduce the number of units that a property owner can build on each lot. Some residents have complained that downzoning will pose a hardship if they can build only a duplex on a lot that is surrounded by large apartment complexes.
At Tuesday's meeting, City Planner Jim Glaser said about 200 such lots exist citywide, but the council can grant higher zoning to owners on a case-by-case basis, through a variance procedure. Council members unanimously agreed to follow that policy.