By Julie BUTCHER
At a short and routine council meeting, held on the first floor of Glendale City Hall because an out-of-order elevator made the second floor – and the Council chambers – inaccessible, the body adopted a version of a sidewalk vending ordinance at issue for several meetings. It also voted to implement the recommendations of the downtown and Montrose parking study, and approved the addition of three distinct Glendale homes to the register of historical homes.
Crescenta Valley community activist Bill Weisman delivered a “secular humanist invocation” to open the meeting.
“Secular humanists support civil and human rights for all people, the separation of church and state, peace among nations,” said Weisman adding that secular humanists believe that science and reason should provide the sole basis for public policy and education.
“We gather today in the shared belief that we must treat our fellow humans with respect and dignity,” Weisman said. “Rather than bowing our heads, I’d ask everyone present to look around this room in appreciation of our elected officials, city staff, and involved citizens.”
Members of the Glendale Youth Orchestra https://www.glendaleyouthorchestra.com/ then reminded the council that its 31st season opens on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 7 pm at the Alex Theatre with a performance titled “New Adventures,” a nod to new conductor and musical director Henry Shin who is replacing longtime beloved director Brad Keimach. Validated parking is available in the Orange Street lot for the performance and representatives of the orchestra shared a code for discounted tickets: 6402020.
Before voting to approve the recommendations of the parking study to upgrade parking and meters in the downtown and Montrose areas of the city, Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian noted that the increases “are not astronomical – they’re going up 50 cents an hour. The goal is to have people park in structures so they’re not driving around neighborhoods looking for parking. They’re free for the first 90 minutes.”
Councilmember Paula Devine thanked the Downtown Business Association and the Montrose Shopping Park Association for the results.
“I’m happy people worked together,” Devine said.
A final version of the previously-debated sidewalk vending ordinance came back to the council with the changes the council had requested: insurance amounts of $100,000 and $200,000 rather than $1 and $2 million, an increase in the distance allowed between vendors, businesses, intersections, and such, from 10 to 15 feet, and an added requirement to display both city and health department permits when both are required.
Councilmember Frank Quintero has consistently opposed more restrictive limits and told his colleagues that he would support the ordinance but not insurance requirements, relying on advice received from the city’s attorney that the city could not be legally held liable for harm caused by street vendors.
Four of the five members of the council would be required to adopt the new rules as an “emergency measure,” that is, one that goes into effect immediately. Ultimately, the four members of the council present (Mayor Ara Najarian was out of town) agreed on its passing without an insurance requirement; they will revisit the issue at an upcoming meeting. At the urging of Councilmember Devine, the ordinance that passed also increased the distance mandated between vendors and schools.
Montrose Shopping Park Association vice-president GiGi Garcia addressed the council.
“This may not be a red-flag emergency now, but I see it getting worse,” Garcia said. “We support our own merchants first.”
Police Chief Carl Povilaitis briefed the council, seeking approval of a sole source contract for up to $900,000 for helicopter engine overhauls. Glendale partners with the city of Burbank to operate a joint public safety helicopter system and the costs of the repairs will be shared between the two cities and will be based on the amount of time the helicopters are in use.
Glendale Water and Power general manager Steve Zurn requested $268,000 for the purchase of a mobile water disinfecting unit. Noting the department’s goals of seeking to provide the safest, cleanest drinking water to its customers, Zurn explained that currently Glendale’s water is disinfected by manually adding chlorine. The new PAX Water Technologies offers a device that has been tested for the past nine months, Zurn explained, and mixes in disinfectant in the proper amounts and agitates it to disperse the chemicals to “reduce the odor and smell” of added chlorine.
Three historic houses were recognized by the city: the Austin House, 1427 Andenes Drive, built in 1937 and believed to be Glendale’s only Swiss-chalet inspired home; the Jack and JoAnn Taylor House, 1390 Greenmont Drive, built in 1959 and designed by architect James Langenheim; and the Wright House, 1116 Don Jose Drive, an American Colonial Revival built in 1933.
The Glendale City Council will be dark next week for the Thanksgiving holiday and will meet next on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.