Officials expect Glendale development boom to slow

With more than 3,800 new residential units in various stages of development, Glendale has surpassed the halfway point of its projected growth with more than 20 years to go, though some city officials expect that pace to slow in the coming years.

In 2012, the Southern California Assn. of Governments, a planning agency that encompasses 191 cities across six Southern California counties, made the estimates based on factors such as population and income. By 2035, officials said, Glendale should permit the building of 6,245 additional living units, bringing the city's total to 78,600.

The report is conducted every four years and the projections are meant to be more of a guideline than a requirement, but they are used in the city's planning processes, said Community Development Director Hassan Haghani.

The 3,800 units that are either currently entitled or under construction are spread across 21 new developments. Haghani said 15 other development projects, amounting to another 1,102 units, are also in the pipeline.

Councilman Ara Najarian referred to the large number of units at a council meeting last week when the proposed Tropico Apartments project on Los Feliz Road was on the table for a vote.

Specifically, he took issue with the developer's request for an exemption to provide less parking, saying the council's willingness to make such concessions for builders in the past led to the influx of projects, burdening the city's infrastructure.

Najarian said while it might be too late to curb some of the major negative impacts, such as added traffic, there could be ways to put the brakes on growth.

"The first thing that we need to do is stop offering incentives for these developers," Najarian said, adding: "We need to look forward and stick to our zoning elements and stop giving incentives, we're not dying for units anymore."

About 10 years ago, the city started working to bring more multifamily units to Glendale that were in high-demand at the time, but now the city is almost entirely built out, Haghani said.

He said he believes the development rate will slow down and that some developers would eventually stay clear of Glendale because they wouldn't want to compete with other apartment or mixed-use projects.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman said the city's building boom over the last several years was aided by developers sitting on piles of cash during the recession and eventually getting back in the habit of spending on projects again.

She added that she believes fewer projects will be seeking approval in the near future, especially given recently hiked impact fees to be placed on developers that would go toward benefiting things like libraries.

"You're seeing a little spurt where developers are trying to get their projects in before the fees are in place," Friedman said. "I expect development applications to slow down quite a bit."


Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.


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