Royal Boulevard may make history

GLENDALE — The Planning Commission took the penultimate step in designating a sliver of Royal Boulevard as the city’s first Historic District this week when its members unanimously recommended that the City Council confer the North Glendale neighborhood the unique certification.

“This is a historical point in the city of Glendale,” Commissioner Gary Gero said. “We haven’t had historical overlay zones come before us. I think this is a great application.”

The 5-0 vote on Wednesday comes more than a year after two-thirds of the residents on Royal Boulevard petitioned the city to bestow the palm-tree-lined street a Historical District.

The owners of 23 of the neighborhood’s 30 homes signed a petition supporting the overlay. That figure is well above the 50% consensus needed for zone changes, officials said.

The drive to change the neighborhood’s designation is rooted in more than a year’s worth of city meetings and petitions by residents who first proposed the change on March 23, 2007.

After an initial push, the Historic Preservation Commission found that the region met the city’s criteria for zone change; that it is of a “unique location. . . representing an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood” and that it is a “distinctive example of community planning.”

On July 28, the Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to move the issue in front of the Planning Commission en route to council consideration.

The 1400 and 1500 blocks of Royal Boulevard feature an eclectic mix of Spanish style, American Colonial and French-influenced minimalist traditional historic homes mostly built between 1926 and 1948.

The subdivision and sale of lots began in 1926 on the hillside community where the expansion of historically-themed homes continued in the neighborhood until 1948, when the sale of classically built homes ceased, Planner Jay Platt said.

The special designation would impose unique regulations for home construction and expansion, an issue that some homeowners cited in their opposition to the historic overlay.

All five council members must now vote to establish Royal Boulevard as a Historic District, instead of a four-fifths vote required in the absence of significant opposition, Platt said.

None of the plan’s opponents attended the meeting on Wednesday.

Originally, nine home owners opposed the plan, but two changed their minds and signed the petition requesting the district; a third moved out of the region and was replaced by a new homeowner who favors the historic designation, Platt said.

Homes that were built after 1948 will not receive the same scrutiny, he said.

The Royal Boulevard district, if it secures City Council approval, would be the first official historic district in Glendale and the prospect of an overlay elated residents who spoke at the meeting Wednesday.

“Many in the neighborhood are thinking this is wonderful,” said Elaine Wilkerson, a Royal Boulevard resident who helped draft the original petition. “We all think very highly of our neighborhood and would like to see that continued.”

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