CITY HALL -- Developers of the proposed 572-home Oakmont View V
project are willing to build 90 fewer homes or opt for a cemetery, but
opponents aren't softening their opposition.
On Wednesday, Gregg Development of Glendale submitted plans to the
Glendale Planning Department calling for construction of 482
single-family homes, duplexes and triplexes on the 238-acre hillside
site. Gregg also submitted a separate application to convert the open
space into a cemetery.
"We always wanted to build homes, but we thought a cemetery may be
feasible," said Gregg Development Vice President Lee Gregg. "We have now
come to the conclusion that is an acceptable use of the property."
Both the plans for 482 homes and a cemetery would still require
massive hillside grading in the Verdugo Mountains and the removal of oak
trees. Anti-hillside development groups don't want to alter the landscape
and aren't willing to accept more than 50 homes -- a suggestion Gregg
officials said is not feasible.
"There will be fewer trees cut and less grading, but when you look at
the volume of the impact, you are still looking at a nude mountain either
way," said Max Hobbs, vice president of Volunteers Organized in
Preserving the Environment, a group that wants to preserve the property
as open space.
Living next to a cemetery could cause some residents to pack up and
leave, Hobbs said.
"It would be very depressing," he said.
Gregg said he didn't expect the leadership of VOICE and other groups
to accept the company's olive branch. He said the new plans will give the
City Council a wider range of options to address council member concerns.
The 572-home development, which remains Gregg's No. 1 choice, would
grade 5.5-million cubic yards of dirt. That drops to 3-million cubic
yards for 482 homes and 3.4-million cubic yards for a cemetery. About 16
more acres are preserved, Gregg said.
"There are always people who oppose everything," Gregg said. "It shows
we are willing to go to great lengths to satisfy some of the concerns of
residents. People are worried about putting too many kids into the
schools. There are no kids with a cemetery."
The new proposals have opponents wondering what Gregg officials are up
to now. The alternatives were submitted days before the March 6 hearing
in which the City Council will hear testimony on a study that analyzes
the environmental impact on a whole range of projects, including 572 and
482 homes and a cemetery. Gregg Development suggested the cemetery be
included in the environmental study.
"It is a little surprising the developer would make these filings at
this time," Hobbs said. "It looks like the developer wants the City
Council to vote up or down on the most environmentally disruptive
alternatives. ... This adds another new wrinkle, but that is to be
expected. We are going to have our same presentation on March 6. Our
concerns will be the same."
"We are going to sit down and see where this fits in," said City
Planner Dave Bobardt. "That is our big assignment now."
Gregg Development has a court agreement with the city that allows the
company to submit plans for 572 and 390 homes under pre-1993 ordinances
that allowed more hillside grading. Bobardt said it isn't known whether
the plans for 482 homes and a cemetery would have to follow the more
restrictive 1993 Hillside Development Ordinance.