Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.
At the city council meeting of April 11, 2017 there were two residential projects approved by the council. I voted against both of them. Since I was a minority of one I did not explain my vote only because I considered it an exercise in futility.
One approved residential project is called Alice Park (FP 16-02) located at 8348 N. 61st Avenue. It consists of 37.9 acres. The applicant proposed 187 lots 45 feet wide by 115 feet deep. The typical lot size is 5,175 square feet. The density of the project is nearly 5 homes per acre (4.9 DU/AC). The only element of this residential project that should be applauded is a dedication of 5.6 acres of open space. That’s about 14% of the entire acreage. Typically, developers will dedicate 10% to 15% for open space. Another plus of this project is that the developer could have retained the R-2 zoning designation and instead rezoned this land to R 1-4 resulting in a decrease in the density of the project.
The other residential project approved by council is Deer Valley Villas (FP 16-04) located at 18800 N. 51st Avenue. This is a very small project of only 4.2 acres with 18 homes approved.
The typical lot size is 5,250 square feet with a density of about 4 homes to the acre (4.3 DU/AC). This developer is dedicating 20% of the land for open space rather than the typical 10% to 15%.
Why oppose either project? The answer lies in how does either one of these residential projects upgrade Glendale? It is generally accepted that the size of the lots helps to dictate the price of the homes. These projects can be considered as “starter home” developments with assumed price points in the $179,000 to $200,000 range. Glendale has an abundance of “starter home” neighborhoods. Where are the high median and high end developments that contribute to enhancing Glendale’s reputation as a desirable community in which to live, play and work?
It’s no wonder Glendale’s median household income is one of the lowest among all Valley cities. It’s no wonder Glendale has the highest poverty rate among all Valley cities. We keep accepting residential projects that do nothing to turn these numbers around.
These kinds of residential projects do not raise Glendale’s statistics in terms of median income and the poverty rate. These are projects where people move up and out as soon as they are able to do so. As these homes age, they tend to turn into a sea of rentals. Rental properties do not enhance the stability of any community. Those who rent typically do not invest their time, talent and interest in a community.
Every piece of land, especially infill parcels, where these two projects will be located, is precious to our community. At the very least, these two residential projects should have been required to be R1-6 (standard 6,000 SF lots).
It’s no longer acceptable, in my view, to accept residential projects that do nothing to enhance the demographic profile of any area of the city. If the city continues to accept infill that is comparable to the lowest common denominator of standards for an area, it does nothing to make that area a more desirable location in which people will want to locate.
It doesn’t say much about how we value ourselves and our community if we are continually willing to settle just because whatever is proposed eliminates another vacant parcel.
Glendale can do better…
© Joyce Clark, 2017
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