Glendale City Council awaits solar impact study for proposed Public Storage building

The City Council postponed consideration of a four-story Public Storage facility until next week, awaiting a report on how the 174,266-square-foot facility would impact an adjacent business that relies on the sun.

City officials described the proposed development at 5500 San Fernando Road as an enhancement to an otherwise undesirable area along the city's edge. Rather than a traditional stucco, boxy look, the project is set to include multiple colors and areas of clear and opaque glass on an undeveloped, 1.39-acre site, according to a city report.

But the height of the project may block the sun from reaching 835 Milford Street, the longtime home of Fabric Flameproofing Co., which uses the sunlight to dry fabric after applying chemicals. City leaders on Tuesday decided to hold their vote on the proposed development until a solar impact study is complete.

"If we have no sunlight it will effectively kill our business," said Fabric Flameproofing Co. owner Jonathan Curtsinger at the afternoon council meeting. "It will be financially devastating to me to have my business destroyed."

Jim Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of development at Public Storage, said his consultants could complete a solar impact study before next week. Although an environmental review was done, solar impact was not analyzed because of the industrial location.

Fitzpatrick said it will be difficult to shift the building further away from the adjacent property due to electrical lines on the west. Cutting down the height of the building may make the project economically unfeasible, he said.

Although Councilwoman Laura Friedman welcomed the study, she added she was weary of telling a new business it can't open if it affects another.

"You really open up a Pandora's Box," she said.

In addition to the impact on the adjacent business, which has been open since the 1940s, some council members had other concerns, including the proposed number of parking spaces and the overall general use of the area.

Councilmen Ara Najarian and Frank Quintero questioned the storage facility's placement in the so-called "Creative Corridor," but City Attorney Mike Garcia said the council couldn't block a storage facility outright because the land use is permitted by city code.

But that doesn't mean the council should drop certain requirements to make Public Storage's transition easier, Quintero said.

Public Storage has requested a parking variance, with 35 parking spaces planned, far fewer than the 174 required by city code.

"If they want to go in there, then let them conform to the code," Quintero said.

Although there is another Public Storage about a mile south along San Fernando Road, officials for the Glendale-based company said market studies show that there is enough demand for the roughly 1,500 units proposed, which would range from 25 to 300 square feet.

"Public Storage is excited about building a property in our own hometown," Fitzpatrick said.

Officials expect the city to net $15,500 annually in property taxes from the facility, as well as $114,000 in development fees for the city's art fund and $231,000 in development fees for the city's libraries and parks, according to a city report.

Public Storage is one of the largest storage companies in the country.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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