By Ted AYALA
The future of the unique character and atmosphere that distinguishes Montrose, Verdugo City, and La Crescenta from the rest of Glendale was set by the City Council on Tuesday.
Members of the city’s Community Development Department presented the Council with the final version of the North Glendale Plan, which earned the Council’s approval.
The plan, which has undergone two years of study and debate, will chart out the future look of the Crescenta Valley and aid in the growth of its businesses. The Council also approved the plan with a negative declaration, which would eschew the need for the city to file an environmental impact report.
Though the plan has met with widespread approval by area residents and businesses, height restrictions have provoked much debate. Current height restrictions along the Foothill Boulevard corridor stand at 50 feet. The planning commission recommended restricting height to 42 feet, leaving options for a 35-foot maximum, or a 35/50 feet combination. Consensus was reached in that building heights should follow the area’s natural topography, and that varying roof heights should be encouraged.
Residents from the area came out to voice their general support of the plan and also their concerns about building heights.
“The only thing [we as residents] are looking at are proposals like the Foothill Lumber Building,” said resident Nancy Comeau. “How many of those [kinds of buildings] are going to be allowed and how can we prevent that? Even a one-story building on Foothill can be two-stories in the back, which is overwhelming to [residents behind the building].”
Resident Susan Bolan, a member of the plan’s Advisory Committee, echoed Comeau’s concerns.
“I do request that you do look carefully at the height limits,” she said. “If you’re looking on Foothill, a one-story building is perfect. But in the example of [the J’s Maintenance building], if you go behind the building, it looks pretty massive. I do envision looking up at the mountains, and seeing a building like J’s Maintenance with a second story, and not seeing the mountains.”
“The residents of this community want the 35 feet limit because they know that anything higher than 35 feet is going to lead to more dense development,” said Councilman Frank Quintero. “I’m not persuaded at all that with a 42-feet limit, we’re somehow going to get a better design. Quite the contrary.”
Councilmen Rafi Manoukian and Dave Weaver agreed, after debating the virtues of the 42-feet and 35-feet limits.