Hillside signs are on property in L.A.

Lately, there has been much commentary regarding the real estate signs placed on the hillside overlooking the interchange of the Glendale (2) and Ventura (134) freeways (“Billboard defaces local hillside,” Feb. 7).

Many readers have suggested that the city of Glendale’s Municipal Codes, which regulate signs, should be enforced to address this problem. These signs are located on property within the city of Los Angeles, outside of the boundary of Glendale.

Unfortunately, this means that Glendale has no jurisdiction over them. However, in an effort to get the signs removed or reduced in size, Glendale’s Neighborhood Services staff has contacted Los Angeles city officials on behalf of our residents.

Los Angeles city staff advised us that the signs are legal in Los Angeles and would be allowed to remain. The city agrees with residents that the size and location of the signs are inappropriate in our community. Mayor Ara Najarian plans to work directly with L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar, in whose district these signs are located, to seek a resolution.

The good news is that Glendale residents think these issues are important and want their community to be a better place. Glendale residents expect and enjoy a community that is reasonably free of such signs.

The resulting cityscape is the consequence of thoughtful regulations now in place, the reasonable enforcement of those codes over time and those expectations of our residents that this will be the case. These three factors, combined with specific efforts over the past 20 years to eliminate some 70 billboards, have resulted in Glendale being a community that is well-maintained and free of visual blight.

Hassan Haghani


Editor’s note: Haghani Glendale’s community development director.

Americana revenue puts it ahead of game

At 9 a.m. on Tuesday in the City Council Chambers, competing proposals for either the expansion of the Americana at Brand or redevelopment of Golden Key Hotel will be made before the Glendale Redevelopment Agency.

The competitors are Caruso Affiliated, the developer of the Americana, and the owner of the Golden Key Hotel — the last remaining parcel of property in contention. Hopefully these proposals will clarify and bring a decision from the Redevelopment Agency, putting an end to the controversy associated with the Americana.

There is no question about the fact that the Americana has been good for Glendale, not only in additional revenue to the city, but as a principal focus for Glendalians and visitors who wish to shop, be entertained, dine, or simply stroll and take in the sights. It has become the “center of interest” in the city.

The Americana has also been a good neighbor to the Glendale Galleria, which has seen increased sales due to the proximity of the Americana, thereby increasing revenue to Glendale.

Part of this controversy is due to the confusion about property rights of individual owners and the responsibilities and authority of the Redevelopment Agency, which was formed in 1972 for the purpose of rehabilitating mid-town Glendale, which included much of the area damaged in the 1971 earthquake.

The Golden Key Hotel was and is within the jurisdiction of the agency. One of the powers that the Redevelopment Agency has is the right of condemnation, as long as it is in the best interest of the city. The owner of the Golden Key signed on to the authority of Redevelopment Agency when he purchased the property.

One of the major considerations of the Redevelopment Agency should be: which proposal benefits the city of Glendale to the greatest extent? The Caruso Affiliated proposal includes an additional 135,000 square feet of retail space and a potential increase of income to the city of $800,000 in annual revenues. The Golden Key Hotel would expand from 55 rooms to 69. Suppose a 75% occupancy rate at $100 per night, subject to Glendale’s room occupancy tax which is 10%, this equates to $205,000 in annual revenues to the city — a difference of approximately $600,000.

It is to be noted that within the recent dictates of the Redevelopment Agency, Caruso Affiliated has offered $6 million to the Golden Key Hotel owner for his property, a 22% increase above the estimated value of the hotel, with so far no response from the Golden Key.

As a former Glendale City Councilman, and two-time chairman of the Redevelopment Agency, I would ask: what could the additional revenue be used for? For example, Glendale has a horrific traffic control problem, more staffing of traffic control officers would have a direct and safe impact on all of us who live and drive in our city. Something to be considered.

Carl W. Raggio


Editor’s note: Raggio is a former mayor of Glendale.

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