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Council strikes down hillside home

Project advocate criticizes city's rejection as 'ongoing circus.'

March 08, 2012|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

For the third time in five years, a proposal to build a home on a North Glendale hillside that overlooks the intersection of Brand Boulevard and Kenneth Road has been shot down by the City Council.

The proposed two-story house on an undeveloped knoll between Hazbeth Lane and Glenmont Drive has sparked discontent between property rights proponents and neighbors, who fear the development will scar the hillside and cause geological issues.

The proposed project — which would include a 3,278-square-foot house, a garage of roughly 900 square feet, a 510-foot private roadway and a 100-foot tram on a granite bedrock slope — has become one of the most contentious hillside development proposals in years, befuddling the property’s’ owner, Adel Luzuriaga.

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“I don’t know what to think anymore,” she said.

Since 2007, Luzuriaga has been trying to build on the property she’s owned for 20 years. However, because the 66% slope of the hillside is more than the 50% permitted for development by city rules, and the amount of grading would involve more than 1,500 cubic yards of material, she must get a conditional use permit.

Planning officials have given her the OK in the past, but their rulings have been overturned by the City Council. On Tuesday, that happened again on a 2-1 vote, with Councilman Dave Weaver dissenting.

Mayor Laura Friedman was absent and Councilman Frank Quintero excused himself because he lives near the proposed project.

In her latest proposal, Luzuriaga reduced the size of her house and private driveway by nearly half compared to the original project. She also moved the house from the ridge to a saddle-shaped depression on the property.

Principal Planner Laura Stotler, who had approved the permit, said Luzuriaga agreed to re-landscape post-construction. Luzuriaga’s consultant, Fred Dean, said construction crews would pump materials through pipes laid underground and transport them on the planned tram, minimizing environmental impacts.

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For the Record: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Dean's name as Martin Burke.
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But neighbors still pushed back.

“It’s going to have irreversible impacts on us,” said neighbor Beatriz Magallon during a council hearing on the project Tuesday.

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