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Council ponders curfew measure

Concerned about high fire risks, neighbors in hillside areas back usage ban.

March 03, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • A map showing high-fire zones under a strict night-time curfew. (Courtesy of the City of Glendale)
A map showing high-fire zones under a strict night-time…

CITY HALL — City officials are expected to restrict overnight access to some open-space areas in high-fire-hazard zones. The move follows expressions of concern from residents about teens engaging in reckless behavior, including drinking, smoking and littering.

The curfew, which would start at 10 p.m. and end the following morning, would affect areas that are mostly in high-fire zones along Glendale’s hillsides. The City Council is considering whether to extend the curfew to 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.

“It’s a tool to enforce because right now there is no law to enforce any kind of curfew or to prevent people from going on the property after 10 p.m.,” Assistant City Atty. Bobby Aldesco said during a City Council meeting on the proposal.

Public parks, playgrounds, recreation facilities, libraries, any residential open-space areas in severe fire hazard zones and in the Civic Center square would fall under the proposed curfew.

Requests for a curfew in the high-fire zones came from residents who complained that groups of teens are using the areas to drink and smoke, putting the neighborhoods in “grave danger,” said Joan Morris, president of Glenoaks Canyon Homeowners Assn.

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Residents, she said, were worried that the teens could ignite a fire.

“When the weather gets hot, dry and windy, we worry about wildfires,” Morris said.

The teens often cross fire-road gates to access the hillsides and late-night hangouts, according to a city report.

Glendale police have found dozens of empty alcohol containers, cigarette butts and boxes strewn about the hillsides, according to the report. Several people have been arrested in response to the gatherings.

Glenoaks Canyon residents have also taken several photographs showing cigarette butts and open camp fires, Mayor Ara Najarian said.

Of more than 1,000 questionnaires that city officials distributed to hillside residents, 207 responded, with 198 favoring a curfew, according to a city report.

“I lived in that canyon all of my life and it does have the potential of igniting,” Councilman Dave Weaver said.

The City Council will vote on the curfew measure at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, March 8 at City Hall.

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