Whether candidates are first-timers or run-agains, many Rancho
residents will be waiting to hear views regarding obvious issues such as
open space, water quality, traffic, and hillside and business
development. But they'll also be listening hard for some solid ideas that
address local issues, such as practical and democratic proposals for a
new frontyard fence ordinance to allow them within a fair set of city
design guidelines (in the Rancho that probably means grandfathering in
existing fences regardless of setback placement but if necessary,
upgraded to meet approved designs and materials).
The Rancho nearly won a special "horse overlay" ordinance amendment
last year after months of study by a council-appointed Fence & Wall
Committee as well as advice from the Planning Commission, but staff's
omission of a means to deal with the existing fences caused the proposal
to hit a legal snag, according to Councilman Gus Gomez. Mayor Dave Weaver
urged proponents to return and win a revised ordinance this year after
the election, and sensibly emphasized its relevance to many other
Glendale neighborhoods as well.
As well, Rancho residents will seek support via city-Caltrans
collaboration for better sound walls or new ones where they are missing
on the two major freeways intersecting near their homes, a church and a
school; for greater advocacy with federal officials for reducing aircraft
noise above homes (mostly from helicopters both using and straying from
the FAA-mandated air corridors above the freeways); and for proposals for
zoning code revisions to protect the Rancho's residential, equestrian and
park amenities from being abutted by certain commercial developments such
as the car wash/lube going in at the already-busy intersection at
Victory, Riverside and Sonora Avenue.
Rancho residents will be looking for candidates who are familiar with
the recently certified Disney World Co. environmental impact report and
business agreement concerning the Grand Central Creative Campus that is
already impacting them with traffic, and will affect everyday life and
health, as well as property values. Candidates should support four major
directives to Disney in a final Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council
letter entered into the public record calling for the cleanup and removal
of ground and water toxics prior to excavation and construction with
special attention to airborne ground toxics at this Superfund site;
Sonora Avenue traffic-calming and streetscaping west of Lake Street akin
to Burbank's Riverside Drive near Disney's Buena Vista site; the
enhancement and enlargement of Griffith Manor Park, which lies within the
project and has a day-care center; and the restoration and reopening of
the historic Air Terminal to the public in the first development phase
not the third.
More recently, there is concern over the easing of environmental
regulations at the nearby Grayson Power Plant at which the city may
increase output for sale elsewhere. Increased revenues are salutary, but
getting state funds to upgrade the plant sounds more reasonable first.
Candidates may rest assured that the above issues affect many
residents beyond the Rancho as well.
Here's to a good race!
* Joanne Hedge is the president of the Glendale Rancho Homeowners