City officials want to make it easier for Glendale Adventist Medical Center to expand, so they took the first step earlier this week in creating a special Medical Services Zone to surround the facility.
The City Council passed a motion on Tuesday to have city staff initiate the new zone and related General Plan amendment in what Mayor Dave Weaver said is a first step toward establishing a more streamlined process for the expansion and further development of all three hospitals in Glendale.
"This is similar to what we did in the downtown with an overlay zone. … I would like to look at all three hospitals to eventually to do it," Weaver said. "Glendale Memorial [Hospital] is going to be growing even more."
City Manager Scott Ochoa said that a special zoning overlay would give the city a cohesive and thoughtful approach as the hospital further develops its campus.
"[Glendale Adventist has] purchased and redeveloped properties over the years, and to avoid spot zoning, staff would concur that it makes sense to have one comprehensive zone that overlays the entire area," he said.
The proposed Medical Services Zone would be split into three sections, with varying building heights allowed in each.
The zone would also streamline shared parking requests and allow for more signage, which hospitals are required to have in place.
Also, assisted-living facilities would no longer require discretionary approval in the new zone.
Overall, the zone would extend to the Ventura (134) Freeway to the south, Sinclair Avenue to the west, Harvey Drive and Merrill Avenue to the east, and Chevy Chase Drive to the north.
Alicia Gonzalez, spokesperson for Glendale Adventist, said via email that the hospital has no proposed projects in the pipeline at this time, but would support the effort to put into code certain variances that have previously been granted to the hospital for height limits and signage.
"This action makes for a friendlier zone for healthcare business in the future," she said.
Kris Hons, representing the owner of an apartment building in the proposed zone, asked how the changes would impact residential units.
City planner Laura Stotler said the zone would have no effect.
"The only changes you'll see will be ones that will benefit the hospital … or medical-related use," she said. "Residential units would still be allowed."