The Planning Commission voted 4-1 at its most recent meeting to modify and approve a tract map for a 47-acre development located near St. Katherine Drive in Flintridge.
The commission action reduced the number of permitted home sites from 11 to 10, but otherwise followed the latest map submitted by Flintridge Properties for what is the largest remaining undeveloped property in the city.
The hearing room was packed with neighbors opposing the project, among them Seth Hufstedler, past president of the State Bar Association.
Hufstedler raised the main issue cited by the opponents, that the proposed parcel sizes for the project violate the minimum size called for under the city's hillside ordinance.
Chairman Charles Gelhaar said the project merited a variance from this standard because 30 acres would be preserved in open space, and the remaining land would house homes varying in estimated size from about 5,000 to 14,000 square feet.
The commission action only covered the tract map and the final environmental impact report. The individual homes will have to be brought back for approval.
Architect Peter Kudrave said it would be possible to create home sites near the 2.6 acres called for in the hillside ordinance, but it would produce potential home sizes in excess of 20,000 square feet and would eliminate the open space.
City Attorney Mark Steres said the commission has the right to grant a variance from the lot size requirement.
Opponents also raised issues of slope stability, adequacy of local streets and impact on local wildlife.
Commissioner Fred Engler voted against the approval, saying he preferred the potential design with the larger lots.
The resolution with the revised terms of approval will be back before the commission Dec. 13, the last meeting of the year, with no public testimony accepted. Opponents are likely to appeal to the City Council after that date.
In other action, the commission approved a request from Leonard Totta to have 30 parking places instead of the required 50 for retail uses on a Foothill Boulevard lot that now has an auto repair business. Many uses in the downtown village have less than the required amount of parking, according to the staff report.
The commission also voted to approve a 1,418-square-foot expansion for a home on Corona Drive. Total size of the home will expand to 5,017 square feet.
Commissioners denied a request from a Burbank resident to place a new, 58-square-foot monument sign on a parcel on Verdugo Road. The land adjoins a shopping center in Montrose, and contains two signs advertising businesses in that center.
Also winning approval was a 534-square-foot first-floor addition and a 1,236 second floor for a home on Noren Street. The addition would increase the home size to 3,700 square feet.
The commission postponed an appeal of a denial for a request to remove two trees from a property on Baptiste Way to Jan. 24 at the request of the applicant.