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Glendale City Council approves housing goals

Objectives include small-lot subdivision ordinance, according to report.

January 30, 2014|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • 'Lex On Orange' apartments in downtown Glendale, half which is near completion and half which is at a mid-point of construction, is one of several residential properties under development in Glendale.
'Lex On Orange' apartments in downtown Glendale,… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

A slew of goals for Glendale residential planning over the next eight years — from small-lot subdivision to encouraging developers to take advantage of density bonuses offered in exchange for affordable housing units — were approved by the City Council this week.

But the council’s discussion quickly moved beyond the goals laid out in a lofty 270-page report known as a “Housing Element” to gentrification — specifically, whether the boom of luxury apartments in south Glendale will push out poorer residents.

“The fear of a gentrification of our downtown is a serious concern of mine,” said Councilman Ara Najarian.

But his remarks struck a nerve on and off the dais as city officials jumped in to diffuse the controversial discussion.

Councilman Frank Quintero said he didn’t consider the increase in development south of the Ventura (134) Freeway as gentrification because new units are being built — 3,800 are in the entitlement process, under construction or recently completed — and new residents are not driving out ones in older rental units.

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Community Development Director Hassan Haghani said Glendale is not at “that dangerous point” when community improvements lead to gentrification, but he plans to bring back a city report regarding gentrification and its relation to Glendale at a future council meeting.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman added that there’s also a silver lining to gentrification. Yes, rents may go up, but communities often improve at the same time, she said.

“Neighborhoods becoming safer, blight being reduced is not a bad thing,” she said.

The “Housing Element” is required to be completed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Once the report is certified by the federal agency, the city is then eligible for special funding sources, said Principal Planner Laura Stotler.

“It makes the city examine its housing policy and the rules we have in effect,” Stotler said.

Some goals highlighted in the report, include:

—Completing a small-lot subdivision ordinance by June 2014

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