NORTHEAST GLENDALE -- Hundreds filed into Glendale Civic Auditorium on
Wednesday night, many hoping to persuade the Planning Commission to
recommend denial of the controversial Oakmont View V development to the
By 7 p.m., about half the 1,100 seats had been filled for the highly
publicized public hearing, which had the feel of a congressional hearing
and was expected to last late into the night.
Representatives of homeowners' groups, along with open-space
activists, environmentalists and students mostly opposed to the project,
were on hand to speak in front of the commission, which had not reached a
recommendation by press time.
"We've worked for a long time studying this project and evaluating the
impacts it might have on the city," said Claudia Culling, one of three
speakers representing Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment.
"And we're convinced that it would be devastating."
On Friday, the city's planning division recommended that the
commission deny recommending the proposed 572-lot, single-family housing
development on 238 acres in the Verdugo Mountains.
Senior Planner Laura Stotler summarized the details of her report
during Wednesday's hearing, characterizing the project as inconsistent
with the city's general plan.
The project's accompanying environmental impact report concluded that
the project would harm the air, wildlife and panoramic views.
Thirty-three so-called "unavoidable environmental impacts" listed in the
report included increased traffic, noise and pollution and a reduction in
When a slide appeared on a large projection screen behind the
commissioners stating that 1,800 indigenous trees would be removed, many
in the audience started clapping loudly and had to be quieted by Nancy
Burke, the commission chairwoman.
Developer John Gregg followed Stotler, and told the crowd that his
family is in the home-building business and has been since his mother
built their first home in 1934.
"We're entrepreneurs, we're guilty of wanting to make a profit," said
Gregg, dressed in a black pinstripe suit. "But we only deserve that if we
fulfill a legitimate human need that citizens of this community want to
have, and that is a home."
Gregg summarized what he referred to as a 12-year struggle with the
city to approve the project, one in which he said he has spent more than
$1 million for two environmental impact reports.
"I've been told, if you read the requirements of the planning
department that they say we should meet, then you can't build anything on
our land," Gregg said. "You can't convert animal habitat to people
habitat without creating impacts."
Paul Hubler, representing Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Glendale), called on the
commission to recommend denial.
"Glendale and its environs would be inalterably changed if this
project goes forward," Hubler said. "By adopting the planning staff's
recommendations, you have the opportunity tonight to move forward in
ensuring that Glendale preserves the Oakmont site as a lasting legacy of
nearby natural space for our children to enjoy."
The council will vote on the proposed project and accompanying
environmental impact report Tuesday night.