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Council rejects hillside project

Neighbors are pleased with denial of a home bordering Buckingham, Figueroa, Linda Vista.

March 30, 2012|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

The Glendale City Council this week denied a controversial project to build a hillside home on a steep slope in Chevy Chase Canyon after it got entangled in new campaign finance rules earlier this month.

The council had moved the vote on the 3,158-square-foot single-family home proposed for a lot bordered by Buckingham Road, Figueroa Street and Linda Vista Road by two weeks so that Councilman Dave Weaver could vote on it. He had to recuse himself earlier this month because he had accepted a $100 donation from the project’s architect.

New campaign finance rules limit council members from voting on projects connected to donors for one year. This was the first time the limitation affected a project.

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At first, City Atty. Mike Garcia said by letting the time limit expire, Weaver, who had stated publicly that he was in favor of the project, could still vote. That angered opponents who said the project’s steep driveway was a safety hazard in case of a fire.

But after further review, Garcia said Tuesday that since the proposal came up within the year-long restriction period, Weaver was still barred from voting.

The council then voted 3 to 1 against the project, which needed a permit to build the house on a 52% slope and construct a roughly 500-foot driveway with a slope greater than 20%. Councilman Ara Najarian dissented.

Weaver said the $100 donation had not influenced his decision, adding that he had based his opinion on several hours of reviewing the matter.

“I do my homework, and I do right for my conscience,” he said.

Opposing neighbors were pleased by the decision, but the property owner, Carol Walker Ng, had no comment.

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