ASK THE CANDIDATES
Q6 of 6:
Many of our members perceive "mansionization" to be a problem in our older, established neighborhoods, whether through demolition and rebuilding or massive second-story additions. Other cities are taking steps to address this. How do you think Glendale should handle this issue?
(Candidate names with asterisks indicate TGHS member.)
Building your dream home is an integral part of the American dream, but it should not be so imposing that it becomes a nightmare for neighbors. The size of the home should be proportionate to the size of the lot. All structures, including attachments like the garage and porch, should take less than 50 percent of the lot and should not be so close or so tall that they compromise the privacy of neighboring homes.
That is correct that we are not alone in this “mansionization” of properties. Property owners need to be mindful of the neighborhoods they own properties in, and work to match the nature of the area, not create eye-sores that no one likes. We most definitely need to prevent the dilution of the DRB, and empower the DRB to work on compromises in difficult cases, and encourage discussion among community stakeholders where people will be affected by proposed building. This is an appropriate procedure – we don’t live in the wild west, we live in a community with a unique and special appeal, and we need to protect this aspect of Glendale.
See my responses to Questions 2 and 5.
Overdevelopment is the issue that sparked my interest in City politics. I opposed a project in my neighborhood to construct townhomes a story taller than any home in the area and the destruction of a Storybook Home. My efforts with the neighborhood and community groups resulted in the Storybook Home being preserved. I have advocated for compatibility with existing historic resources such as the Bonetto House resulting in the neighboring new developing being limited to one story. I was successful in winning the appeal to Council of the 1921 Buena Vista project which I consider an example of mansionization. Representing the GHCC on the Planning Process Task Force I led efforts to promote compatibility and preserve the notice requirements. I intend to promote compatible limits through the Community Plans and zoning to prevent mansionization and incompatible development. My appointments to the City Commissions will focus upon addressing these issues.
In Glendale neighborhoods, where there is a future to become a historical district, neighborhoods should be left intact so future residents will appreciate it. As a matter of fact, a lot of folks would like to move to Glendale because of its character.
The issue of mansionization has largely subsided in Glendale, although a few cases arise each year. The way to prevent this is to continue to send additions to the Design Review Board and then let the council serve as the appellate body.
Each case should be evaluated based on its own merits. A certain size home may be inappropriate for a 10,000 sq plot but very appropriate for a 1 acre lot. The existing codes provide very stringent guidelines as to how much square footage one may build for a particular plot, in a particular part of Glendale. Glendale is well ahead of most other cities in preventing the construction of inappropriately large dwellings on lots since Glendale downzoned most single-family house areas many years ago.
I would meet with representatives of these other cities and find out what steps they have taken! What has worked elsewhere? We can maintain the extra ordinances in place in our historic districts to limit development there, but actively engaging in dialogue with other cities could spur solid ideas. Glendale isn’t an island – although sometimes it’s nice to feel like it is – so we should engage with our neighbors to find good solutions that allow changes that homeowners want to make while preserving the integrity of our neighborhoods.
I think that Glendale should look at what other cities are doing to address mansionization, especially cities that have successfully dealt with this problem. Arcadia recently enacted some regulations, using floor area ratios as an objective quantitative tool. We should look to see how well that has worked as a guideline. We also need to implement downzoning, particularly where there is immediate hazard of development encroaching on older, established neighborhoods. Finally, we need to encourage the designation of additional historic overlay districts, which would do a lot to prevent current homeowners from this problem. Unfortunately the City recently drastically increased its fees for historic preservation applications, both at district and at individual structure levels. I would like to see those increases reversed or at least decreased.