Glendale residents say "No Vacancy" to new hotel

The Glendale City Council will meet tomorrow night to hear an appeal from residents upset about a new six-story hotel on Brand Blvd.
The Glendale City Council will meet tomorrow night to hear an appeal from residents upset about a new six-story hotel on Brand Blvd.
Scott Lowe/ Flickr

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The Glendale City Council will hear an appeal Tuesday, in response to a group of residents upset about the planned construction of a new 85-room hotel on Brand Boulevard. 

Those residents say the six-story building will dwarf adjacent apartments and homes and ruin the look of the neighborhood. They're also worried that future lodgers will bring noise and traffic congestion.

Sean Bersell, who lives down the block, said he's unhappy with the sheer number of new downtown developments and how they are changing the look and feel of the city.

"They keep adding apartments and more apartments and more apartments in that downtown area. It’s creating huge traffic problems," Bersell said.

Now, with the new hotel project, development from downtown Glendale is beginning to creep into Bersell's neighborhood, which is just above the 134 Freeway.

“This is bringing downtown Glendale up above the 134 where we were promised it would not go,” he said 

Bersell and his group will bring those concerns to the Glendale City Council Tuesday, although the council is not expected to block the project since the area is zoned for commercial use.

Development and zoning complaints have become more commonplace at city councils across Southern California as more large-scale residential and mixed-use projects are popping up.

Some anti-development groups have gathered enough support to take their concerns past the city council level, and to the voters directly. In Santa Monica, a group of concerned citizens say they've gathered enough signatures to get an initiative on the November ballot, which, if passed, would require developers to get voter approval before they move forward on "major" projects in the city. 

Los Angeles residents will vote on their own development initiative in November. The Build Better LA initiative would put new restrictions on developers - among other things, they would be forced to include a certain percentage of below-market rate units in new housing developments.

Another L.A. group is trying to get an initiative on the March 2017 ballot, which, if passed, would impose a two-year moratorium on high-density projects. 

But lawmakers and urban planners generally view density as a necessary reality to a more affordable Southern California. Gov. Jerry Brown is looking to fast-track the planning process for developers to get more housing built across the state. Building taller is becoming the only option in L.A. County.

Mark Villianatos, of Occidental College's Urban and Environmental Policy Institute believes a more densely developed L.A. would mean a more livable and efficient city. 

“If you have an increasing population and you want people to be able to continue to move here, to continue to stay here, you need to add denser housing in more places,” he said.