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GLENDALE : Council Will Vote on New Department

The Glendale City Council is moving ahead with plans to create a new city agency focused on cutting red tape for developers and business owners, despite a few complaints that it would result in more, not less, bureaucracy.

The council introduced an ordinance this week to create the Development Services Division, a new department that would oversee business licenses, building inspections and zoning and design review--tasks that are now spread among six different departments. The ordinance is expected to be adopted Tuesday, allowing the new agency to begin operating later this year.

City Manager David Ramsay, who led the committee of city department heads that drew up plans for the department, said the agency would be created without adding city personnel and would simplify the bureaucratic maze for those trying to get business permits.

“It’s one thing to say you want to be a more business-minded city and another thing to actually take steps to become that way,” Ramsay said. “The mission of this new department is that for anyone who wants to develop their property or open a business in the city, given the rules, we want to make it a successful experience for them.”

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But critics fear that the proposed department would be too big and its director too powerful. Some have said that taking such functions as zoning and design review from the Planning Department is unnecessary.

The council has already delayed its vote on the new department once and has held several public-information sessions on the issue. Several council members have said they are still studying the issue and have not decided yet how they will vote.

The new department would also inherit many functions of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency and oversee land use, business services and economic development, business retention and business-related promotional events such as street fairs.

The proposal to create the new department stems from an organizational audit of city government that was conducted in early 1993 by an outside consultant, which produced 28 recommendations to make the city run more efficiently.

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