Downtown Glendale property owners agree to pay up for more services

Property owners in downtown Glendale Thursday made it past the final hurdle in forming a district in which they can assess themselves and use the pooled funds for improvements and enhanced services.

Among the affected property owners, 69% voted in favor of the district. About 180 property owners cast ballots, or about 54% of eligible voters in the district, according to city officials.

On Tuesday, the City Council gave the new district a green light, making it the first such district in Glendale since an ordinance allowing them was adopted in March.

The district will be bordered by the Ventura (134) Freeway, Colorado Boulevard, most of Maryland Avenue and the east side of Orange Avenue.

The district, which is expected to launch in January, will have an annual budget of $908,000. About 61% will go toward sidewalk maintenance and beautification, 22% will be spent on marketing and special events and 15% would be allocated for administrative services and contract oversight, according to the consultant who worked on the district.

But the district was not without its detractors.

Frances Buchanan said during the meeting on Tuesday that she represents an 18-unit apartment building at 319 N. Maryland, across an alley from several restaurants that line Brand Boulevard.

The property is co-owned by the Anderson Buchanan Trust, according to the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office.

“These are single, little apartments occupied by little, old, retired people,” she said, adding that each unit rents for just shy of $900 a month.

Under the district’s provisions, the owners of the apartment building will be assessed $1,921 annually.

“This is punitive,” Buchanan said. “We’re not a business.”

But city officials pointed out that there are several residential properties within the district’s boundaries and more are planned.

Marco Li Mandri, the consultant who worked on forming the district, said it’s not a good idea to exclude residential properties due to the complexities involved.

“That becomes problematic,” he said.

Community Development Director Hassan Haghani also noted that the assessments will benefit the entire district. Trash will be picked up daily, sidewalks will be cleaned twice a month and streets will be swept four times a week.

Mayor Frank Quintero said the district will have a positive impact for everyone involved.

“I think, overall, it is going to benefit all of the property owners in this district,” he said. “And certainly the city is going to play a role in this, and decisions will be made for the overall good of the city, not for individual businesses or property owners."

Twitter: @LAMarkKellam

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