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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in the blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at the regular city council workshop the issue of chickens in Glendale was discussed…again. Based upon city councilmember comments, just as the issue divided the city, it also divided the city council.

Mayor Weiers, Councilmember Malnar and Councilmember Tolmachoff indicated that they did not support allowing chickens in every residential zoning district (multi-family was not part of the proposal). Mayor Weiers felt it was a matter of choice and that if residents wanted to have chickens then they should locate in zoning districts that already allow chickens. He indicated that he and his wife moved knowingly into an area where chickens were allowed but that it was their choice. Councilmember Ray Malnar, reviewed his childhood history of living on a farm that had 300 chickens. His overarching conviction is that his mandate is to represent his constituents who, in the majority, oppose chickens and expressed his opposition to the proposal. Councilmember Tolmachoff, also expressed the majority opinion of her constituency as well as her concern that HOAs would have a major problem if they needed to expressly amend their by-laws.

Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmember Turner and Councilmember Aldama expressed their support for the proposal. Again, all expressed their positions in terms of representing the majority sentiments of their constituencies. While Vice Mayor Hugh was mainly silent on the issue, Councilmembers Turner and Aldama were not. Councilmember Turner framed it as a question of liberty and property rights and that everyone should be free to do on their property what they wished without government interference. Councilmember Aldama acknowledged the many citizens in his district already have chickens and probably have had them for years.

The battle lines were drawn and that left me. My district is so diverse and I discovered my constituency to be divided, just as the city and the city council. I sought compromise. I sought compromise believing that if it did not totally please both sides it would be a good one.  I prefaced my compromise proposal with these remarks.

  • This is an issue that should never have risen to this level. This matter began as a neighbor dispute that might have been resolved by arbitration or mediation. Over the past year the city has expended a lot of manpower and resources to resolve an issue that should never have been brought forward.
  • For thousands of years man domesticated animals for food or to assist in the production of food. Today with our society’s abundance of leisure time and resources there has become the propensity to anthropomorphize animals and we have created new classes of pets. I consider dogs and cats, as well as a few small mammals as pets. Chickens are not pets. They are classed in every municipal jurisdiction as fowl or poultry.
  • This issue has become a polite civil war with half the people opposed to chickens and half supporting them. Quite frankly if the issue had not arisen, people who had chickens would continue to have them and those who do not want chickens would never have been the wiser. Now, city council is asked to become Solomon to resolve an issue that no matter what the outcome, half of the community will be angry with the result.
  • But deciding the issue is not as simple as deciding based on numbers on petitions. As councilmembers we must also consider what is in the best interest of Glendale as a whole.

I proposed:

  •  Expansion of chickens as a permissible use to one zoning district, R1-10 and the following will apply only to R 1-10 and M-1 (to satisfy Councilmember Aldama’s desire to include the Sonorita area which is mainly M-1). Existent code to apply to all zoning districts that currently allow chickens
  • Hens only, no roosters
  • Limit of 5 chickens
  • Must have a coop or structure to contain chickens
  • Not allowed in front yards
  • Rear yard must be fenced
  • Structure height limited to no more than 4 feet
  • Structure must meet side and rear yard setbacks of 20 feet
  • Structure must be at least 40 feet from residence as well as any immediately adjacent neighboring residence
  • Structure must be 80 feet away from any school, hotel, restaurant or building containing sleeping or dining accommodations
  • HOA regulations take precedence over city code on this issue
  • Chickens will no longer be classified as livestock but rather as poultry or fowl
  • Chickens will not be classified as pets
  • No matter the size of the lot, chickens will not be permitted at townhouses, apartments, condos or any other type of attached residence
  • Zoning codes already in place regarding chickens are not to be changed

I was hopeful that a compromise could be achieved. I did not think that those who opposed     the ordinance in any form would consider a compromise. I assumed it would depend on Vice Mayor Hugh and Councilmembers Turner and Aldama to decide if compromise was a viable option for them. Vice Mayor Hugh indicated that he could support a compromise and I thank him for his consideration of it. However, Councilmembers Turner and Aldama simply could not accept it.

That left me with no choice for I knew that I could not support expansion of chickens to all residential zoning districts, especially the very small lot sizes of 4,000 or 6,000 square feet. Urban life is too dense to introduce a new possibility of backyard chickens when many homes are only 5 to 10 feet apart. Current residents as well as possible new residents do not move into dense neighborhoods with the sudden and unanticipated realization that they will have to contend with a neighbor’s chickens. To introduce chickens into thousands upon thousands of urban life-style properties seems inherently imprudent.

If there was to be no compromise I could not in good conscience support allowing chickens in every residential zoning district in Glendale. I joined with Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Malnar and Tolmachoff to form a consensus of 4 (council does not vote at a workshop meeting) to not move forward with such an ordinance.

Does that mean the chicken issue is dead?  Maybe and maybe not. Planning Director Jon Froke said that a resident or residents could file an appeal after paying a $4,000 fee to file. It would then go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council once again. I asked if an Initiative Petition with the requisite number of valid voters’ signatures could be filed. Mr. Froke’s answer was yes. It would then be placed on the ballot for the next Glendale election. Is there enough commitment and support on either side of this issue to follow through on either of these options? I don’t know but I guess we will all find out.

© Joyce Clark, 2017          

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The Glendale city council is meeting in workshop today, March 17, 2015. At 10 AM Mayor Jerry Weiers officially declared the proposal to sell the library building and relocate the library to the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center as dead.

Many people deserve thanks. First and foremost the residents of Glendale are to be congratulated for their participation in the process. Many of you attended all six public meetings on the issue. Others made public comment either at the meetings, on comment cards, by calling a city hotline, or by sending email’s or letters to the mayor and council. Your efforts made the difference. Your expression of support for Glendale’s entire library system was noted.

Thanks also to the the three boards and commissions, Arts, Parks & Recreation and Library, that received information on the issue, listened to public comment, deliberated with serious consideration and recommended denial of the proposal to the city council.

Thanks to the city council for listening to the voices of the people and refusing to move forward with the proposal. They did their jobs in representing their constituents.

Thanks to Parks, Library and Recreation Director Erik Strunk and Chief Librarian Michael Beck for withstanding the public criticism of this proposal with grace and respect.

Councilmember Bart Turner offered an idea to provide library services in west Glendale by utilizing space within Glendale’s Media Center at Westgate. Glendale staff will now be tasked with researching the suggestion. I applaud Councilmember Turner’s suggestion and should it become reality, it is not a substitute for Glendale’s long term promise to establish a stand-alone, dedicated library building at Hero’s Park at 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road. It is an excellent interim solution to the lack of service we, who live in the Yucca district, have experienced for 15 years but it should not be considered the ultimate solution.

Once again, congratulations to all who participated in the process of consideration of the proposal. Job well done by all.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

This Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30 AM at Glendale city hall in the Council Chambers the city council will receive an update on the proposal to sell the building to Midwestern University and to relocate Foothills library to the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center. Since it is a council workshop the public does not have any opportunity to speak at this meeting but citizens can still make their voices heard silently by showing up in large numbers.

By all rights it should be DOA (dead on arrival). Hundreds of Glendale residents have voiced their disapproval by either contacting members of the council or speaking at public meetings. The three citizen commissions, the Arts Commission, the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Library Advisory Board, heard staff presentations and unanimously voted to send city council advisory recommendations of denial. It is undeniably clear that there is no citizen support for this idea and it deserves a merciful death. Let’s hope that March 17, 2015 will be the last day of consideration for this proposal.

A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at the Arrowhead Elementary School at 6:00 PM. Mark Becker is the host as he once again seeks city approval to place billboards at the Loop 101 and Bell Road. Glendale planning staff will be in attendance to listen and take notes.

This issue has returned like a bad penny. Almost a year ago to the day, March 24, 2014, Glendale city council voted 5-2 (Sherwood and BeckerMaps_Page_3Alvarez voted in favor) to deny the Becker billboard proposal (ZON 13-04). Glendale’s current ordinance only allows new billboards to be placed in M1 and M2 (light and heavy industrial) zoning areas. Perhaps it is time to revisit the ordinance and prohibit any new billboards anywhere in the City of Glendale. The current ordinance also restricts billboard height to 25 feet. Yet Becker billboards is asking for approval of 85 foot tall billboards.

You would think the issue died with the March, 2014 council denial. Not so. In October of 2014 Councilmembers Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira attempted and failed to resurrect the proposal by asking for a special council meeting for the purpose of rescinding the council’s March, 2014 votes. Their motives could be considered questionable. Did Sherwood push for a rescinding of the original billboard vote because Mark Becker and his family members donated to Sherwood’s election campaign? Did Sherwood push for a rescinding of the original billboard vote because Becker’s attorneys on the matter, nearly a dozen attorneys of the Rose Law group, contributed to Sherwood’s election campaign? And what about Sammy? In March of 2014 he voted against the billboard proposal. By October, 2014 he was actively supporting it. Was it at the request of his good friend, Gary Sherwood? Sammy and Sherwood seem to share the same record of flip-flopping on issues.

Now, a year later, Becker billboards is back with a more egregious proposal than the first one. This time they don’t want static billboards but a combination of digital and static and they want them to be 85 feet high. There’s an old adage, ‘don’t take no for an answer.’ Mark Becker and Gary Sherwood certainly didn’t. I guess Glendale’s residents are going to have to convince them once and for all, that no means no.

This information is courtesy of Rodeane Widom, former Glendale Library Director:  For readers who would like to get their opinion to the Mayor and City Council, here is a great link: http://www.gplfriends.org/15-105-agenda-item-for-relocation-of-the-foothills-library/

The Friends of Glendale Public Library have made the process very simple! Just add your name and send your letter off via email or snail mail.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Glendale city council workshop meeting of June 17, 2014 had only 2 items. One was the issue of restricted access to and from Northern Parkway at some intersections. The upshot of the subject was that there are no solutions on the horizon for fixing the problem. I bet that was not such good news for commercial activities adjacent to Northern Parkway like the World Wildlife Zoo. Its funny how Glendale can be so accommodating to some businesses and to others, it’s the “back of the hand.”

The second item was senior staff’s recommendation to amend Glendale’s Noise Ordinance, Chapter 25, Article V.  Currently special events and large events (attendance over 500 persons) are subject to this ordinance which has 3 provisions: a) noise should not be heard more than 125 feet from perimeter of event; b) noise should not be heard off premises between 10 PM and 7 AM; and c) every 2 1/2 hours there must be an intermission of 30 minutes. Simple, common sense provisions designed to protect adjacent neighborhoods, No?

There were 3 options given to council: 1. Exempt permitted events during the entire year; 2. Exempt permitted events between December 26, 2014 and February 2, 2015; and 3. Do not change anything. Staff’s recommendation was Option 1 for in the name of all that is holy, it would fulfill their quest for greater city “competitiveness and marketability.” More likely this code amendment is pandering to the big boys, Super Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, etc., chafing under Glendale’s current noise restrictions. I see Assistant City Manager Frisoni’s hand in this effort to accommodate them.

To bolster staff’s contention that Glendale must still be in the “horse and buggy” days, a chart was used showing the cities of Chandler, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe as permitting noise exemptions for city issued permitted events and special events.

Not one, not one bloody councilmember asked a single question. The first one should have been related to the cities chart that showed which permitted noise and that should have been, “How exactly does each city address the noise issue?” Yes, these cities may have granted noise exemptions but exactly what are they?

Senior staff went on to say that an applicant for an event would have to abide by the provisions of the city’s issuance of a special event permit. If you go online to the city’s website and enter “special event application” it will eventually direct you to Ordinance 2951, Article V, Large Special Events.  In that Article, the City protects its butt pretty well with indemnification, insurance and surety bonds. It also seemed pretty concerned about public safety and sanitation/garbage needs but not one single word about noise…not one. Again, not one single councilmember had the presence of mind to ask, “What noise requirements are included in the city permit process?” They would have been surprised to find there are none even though staff represented that there were noise requirements within the permit process that would have to be followed.

So council sat there like lumps on logs, never questioning anything and certainly not one displayed any sensitivity for the noise concerns of adjacent neighborhoods. They should have asked for the noise restrictions in other cities’ special event permit processes. But they didn’t. They should have asked for the noise restrictions in Glendale’s special event permit process. But they didn’t.

Instead we heard blather from the twins, Councilmembers Chavira and Sherwood who seem to vote in tandem these days. Chavira (representing west Glendale neighborhoods near Westgate) said the only option for Glendale was Option #1 without really saying why. Sherwood, in an attempt to be amusing, likened Glendale’s noise ordinance to an old, existent law that forbids putting “ice cream in one’s pocket.” Really?

This council threw adjacent Glendale neighborhoods under the “Glendale Bus”(someday when I am so inclined I will tell you more about the “Glendale Bus Club”) especially over 2,000 homes adjacent to Westgate, epicenter of special events in Glendale. I live a mile to the east of Westgate and there were times when even I heard the noise erupting from the Westgate area. My thought was always, OMG, what about those who live directly across the street from Westgate and the football stadium? If I could hear it, how badly were they affected by the noise? Sometimes, as councilmember, my question was answered as residents called me directly to complain. I had a direct phone number to the police officer in charge of the event and would call to let him know that the noise was getting out of hand. Thankfully, the officer was always able to get the event promoter to abate the noise.

At least I had the noise ordinance to back me up…now there will be nothing that residents can do when the noise is too loud or goes on too long. But that’s OK…those residents will hear the roar of the “Glendale Bus” as it runs over them.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

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