By Ted AYALA
Glenn Steiger, general manager of Glendale Water and Power (GWP), appeared before the city council on Tuesday to request that the city move to declare its property on 3445 Altura Ave. to be surplus property. Until 2002, the 29,000 square feet property, which sits approximately three-quarters of a mile north of Crescenta Valley Park, was the site of the GWP’s New York Electrical Sub-station. Since it was decommissioned, the property has been cleared and cleansed of any environmental contaminants.
“There are no other uses for this property?” asked Councilman Rafi Manoukian. “I hate selling public property. It’s a point of contention with me because we spend so much money on acquiring property and we pay a premium for it. It seems like a bad time in the economy to sell any property … let alone city property.”
City Manager Jim Starbird informed the councilman that several initiatives for alternative uses of the property had been floated by local residents, including converting it into a mini park.
“But they even had issues with that,” said Starbird. He added that, “It’s best to make [the property] look like the rest of the neighborhood.”
Manoukian also raised concerns about the property being subdivided in the future and proposed setting conditions to the buyer not to subdivide the property, which was met with derision from Councilman Dave Weaver, who cited the property’s small size as being enough of a deterrent to subdivide.
“I imagine, if you wish, that you can impose conditions on [the property’s] future use,“ answered Starbird. “Unless [the council] places a condition on it, anybody who purchases it will have to abide by our zoning codes and building standards.”
Councilman Frank Quintero agreed that some restrictions on the property should be placed and recommended that the property be limited to being subdivided to accommodate only two homes. This drew fire from Weaver.
“We’re selling city property and I’d like to maximize our return,” countered Weaver. “[Whether we] let anybody bidding [on the property] to maximize their profit by allowing only two or three houses, I don’t care. We want to get the most money for city property we can get. Why restrict [the buyer] when the issue is to obtain the highest bid for the property?”
The council ultimately voted to sell the property on a 3-2 split; Quintero and Manoukian dissenting.