By Ruth SOWBY
At Tuesday’s Glendale City Council meeting, the issue of the day was historic. Long grappling with the lengthy process to designate which Glendale districts may be considered “historic,” councilmembers decided to revisit the issue.
The City’s goal in creating historic districts is to help residents protect and enhance the appearance of neighborhoods that reflect aspects of history due to their architectural or cultural historic character. The designation process has included many public meetings and hearings where property owners and area residents can voice their opinions about a proposed district.
Councilmember Ara Najarian, longest serving member of the Council, reminded Council that it was in 2006 that historic districts were first created. Since then, the designation process has become increasingly complicated.
City Historic Planner Jay Platt presented a PowerPoint presentation on the steps that he recommends now need to be completed before homeowners decide whether they want or do not want their neighborhood deemed historic. Platt recommends the elimination of a currently required third Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meeting. The remaining two would be: 1) An HPC Community Forum Preliminary Review; 2) An HPC Review of Survey Recommendations to Council to Authorize Petition (for the historic designation).
As in the current plan, there would also be a door-to-door canvas by community members for signatures from property owners regarding their pro or con opinions on historic designation. Mayor Ardy Kassakhian suggested that those signatures be verified.
After Platt’s presentation, Council time was devoted to public comments made in person and via phone. Most of the comments supported the preservation of historic districts and the streamlined process for petitioners.
Before a Council vote was taken Mayor Kassakhian stressed, “We should retain the identity of a neighborhood with character.”
A motion was made and seconded to approve the recommendations related to streamlining the historic designation process. All five councilmembers approved.