Reasons for Exemption
a. The Project is consistent with the applicable general plan designation and all applicable general plan policies as well as with the applicable zoning designation and regulations.
The Land Use Element of the Glendale General Plan includes a goal to “Support the creation of higher density residential development and alternative forms of medium and high density housing in those areas best suited from the standpoint of accessibility, current development, community organization, transportation and circulation facilities and economic feasibility.” (Glendale General Plan Land Use Element, page 7.) The Project is consistent with and helps achieve this goal by redeveloping the underutilized Project site and existing structures and building new structures which will yield a total of 17 dwelling units in a medium-density development with proximate access to public transportation to access neighborhood services on a daily basis. Moreover, the Project will advance the goals and policies of the General Plan, Housing Element (2014-2021), including, but not limited to, Chapter 2, 2.1.6 Goal 1 (“A City with a Wide Range of Housing Types to Meet the Needs of Current and Future Residents), Chapter 2, 2.1.9 Goal 4 (“A City with Housing Services that Address Groups with Special Housing Needs) and Policies 4.1 and 4.2 (“Encourage both the private and public sectors to produce or assist in the production of housing for special needs groups such as: the handicapped, the elderly, large families, single parent households, and formerly homeless.”) and (“Promote the development of extremely low, very low, low and moderate income housing by allowing developers density bonuses or other financial incentives for providing units for low and moderate income residents. The unit mix and location of affordable housing units in density bonus Projects must be approved by the City and included in an affordable housing agreement.”).
The proposed 17-unit affordable housing residential Project will be consistent with the various elements and objectives of the General Plan. The Land Use Element of the General Plan designates the Project site as Medium Density Residential, and the Project is consistent with its land use designation. The Project Site is located in the Area 1 (the Grand Central Industrial Center), a planned industrial park of 133.34 acres, which has the highest efficiency of industrial utilization of all eight areas in the City. Nearly thirty acres of residential zoning in this area (which includes the subject site) is sandwiched between the industrially zoned areas and the Golden State Freeway. The Project provides landscaping buffers as recommended by the City’s General Plan to create buffers between residential and industrial zoning in this area in order to continue coexistence while upgrading the quality of each zone type. Per General Plan, noise buffering need not be extensive in this area because it is surrounded by streets, freeways, and a portion of Griffith Park. The Project Site is located in an area where the ambient noise contour is 70 CNEL and over, as shown on the map of the 2030 Noise Contours, Exhibit 2 of the City’s Noise Element. Noise levels of 65 CNEL and below are “Normally Acceptable” for residential multi-family Projects as recommended in the Noise Element of the General Plan. On-site design features including utilization of special insulation techniques with acoustical characteristics will lower the noise levels to acceptable levels. The Project site has not been slated for open space or recreation, and will operate within compliance with the Noise Element thresholds.
All other elements of the General Plan will not be impacted as a result of the Project. The Circulation Element identifies Hazel Street as Local Street. These streets are fully developed and can adequately handle the traffic circulation around the site. Vehicular access to the site will be from a driveway entrance along Hazel Street.
The Project also complies with all policies and all applicable zoning designations and regulations, as discussed below:
The Project Site is located in the R-2250 (Medium Density Residential) zone. In accordance with GMC 30.12.020, the maximum density allowed on a lot where the width is greater than 90 feet is one dwelling unit for every 1,800 square-feet of lot area. The subject property is 20,328 square feet in size, with a lot width of 120 feet, allowing for 17 units consistent with state and local density bonus provisions.
The R-2250 zone requires setbacks of 20 feet minimum and an average of 23 feet for any garage or first residential floor and not less than 23 feet and an average of 26 feet for the second and third residential floors. The R-2250 zone requires Interior Setbacks to be 5 feet minimum and 8 feet average for the first floor, 8 feet minimum and 11 feet average for the second floor, and 11 feet minimum and 14 feet average for the third floor. As proposed, the Project is consistent with the GMC setback regulations.
The R-2050 zone requires studio and two-bedroom units to be at least 800 square feet a three bedroom units to be at least 1,000 square feet (GMC § 30.11.050). The Project would include two-bedroom units with a minimum square footage of 1,006 square feet and three-bedroom units with a minimum square footage of 1,162 square feet. Thus, the Project would be consistent with the GMC unit size regulations.
The R-2250 zone requires a minimum of 40 square feet of private open space for each dwelling unit and a total 3,400 square feet of outdoor common open space (GMC § 30.11.050.) The Project includes 40 square feet of private open space for each dwelling unit and will provide at minimum 5,789 square feet of outdoor common open space, thus the Project complies with GMC private and outdoor common open space requirements. Additional open space of 2,095 square feet is also provided as required by zoning code (GMC § 30.11.020 A7.).
The GMC allows for a maximum of 50 percent lot coverage (10,164 square feet). The Project proposes 67.5% lot coverage (13,721 square feet) through the use of a density bonus incentive, since reducing the Project lot coverage by 3,557 square feet would decrease the number of affordable units. Thus, with the use of the density bonus incentive (concession), the Project would be permitted the additional and necessary lot coverage.
As proposed, the Project features Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 1.13 (23,134 square feet), exceeding the maximum allowable FAR by 0.28 (5,856 square feet) through the use of a density bonus incentive. Thus with the use of the density bonus incentive (concession), the Project would be permitted the additional and necessary FAR.
The GMC requires a minimum Permanently Landscape Open Space requirement of 25% of lot area. The Project proposes for approximately 34% of site to be permanently landscaped. Thus, the Project would comply with the GMC Permanently Landscape Open Space requirements.
The R-2250 zone requires a height limit of three stories or 36 feet. The Project proposes a height limit of 36 feet (three stories) in compliance with the GMC height requirements.
The Project qualifies for parking concessions in accordance with GMC §30.36.090 and California Government Code Section 65915(p) and based on the number of units and bedrooms provided, the Parking Concession requires the Project to provide a minimum of 26 parking spaces for the proposed residential development. The Project is providing a total of 38 parking spaces within a one-level subterranean parking garage including three guest parking spaces and one handicap accessible parking space with a total of seventeen parking spaces being tandem parking spaces in accordance with GMC off-street and minimum parking requirements.
The Project is consistent with the General Plan and complies with the applicable zoning designation and regulations and no variances are required.
b. The proposed development occurs within city limits on a Project site of no more than five acres substantially surrounded by urban uses.
The Project Site is entirely within the City of Glendale. The site is approximately 20,328 square feet (0.46 acres), which is less than five acres in size. The Project Site is substantially surrounded by urban uses. The Project Site is surrounded by existing urban uses, including single and multifamily residential buildings. Immediately to the east of the Project site is a 3-unit residential building. The Project is immediately adjacent to single-family residential buildings to west, south east, and north (across Hazel Street). As the Public Resources Code (PRC) defines qualified urban use as “any residential, commercial, public institutional, transit or transportation passenger facility, or retail use, or any combination of those uses,” the Project Site is substantially surrounded by urban uses. (PRC § 21072.)
c. The Project site has no value as habitat for endangered, rare or threatened species.
The Project Site is fully developed with three existing residential dwellings and two detached accessory buildings (parking garages). The Project Site is not currently a habitat for endangered, rare, or threatened species, and no documentation exists which identifies the Project Site as such. There are no protected trees on the Project Site. Therefore, the site does not contain or have value as a habitat for endangered, rare or threatened species.
d. Approval of the Project would not result in any significant effects relating to traffic, noise, air quality or water quality.
A short-term construction and long-term operational activities associated with the Project would not constitute a significant noise impact. The Project would not result in any significant impacts related to traffic, noise, air quality or water quality. The new Project would be constructed to reduce interior noise to acceptable levels as required by the building code, and the Project is not anticipated to generate noise in excess of limits contained in the Noise Element. Construction associated with the Project will be required to comply with the City of Glendale Noise Ordinance (GMC Chapter 8.36), which prohibits construction activities between the hours of 7:00 PM on one day and 7:00 AM of the next day or from 7:00 PM on Saturday to 7:00 AM on Monday or from 7:00 PM preceding a holiday. Compliance with the City’s noise ordinance would ensure that noise impacts will be less than significant.
An Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas study prepared by Urban Crossroads, dated August 18, 2021, and reviewed by City staff (attached hereto as Exhibit “A” and incorporated herein by this reference), found that the Project would comply with local regulatory measures, and that neither construction nor operation of the Project would result in significant air quality or greenhouse gas impacts.
Because the proposed infill development would redevelop land that is fully developed with urban uses, construction would not impact water flows or water quality. The Project would comply with the City’s Low Impact Development (LID) Guidelines set forth in Chapter 13.43 of the GMC and with applicable state and federal regulations. Such LID standards are designed to minimize the impervious area footprint, prevent pollutants of concern from leaving the development site in stormwater as the result of storms, and minimize hydromodification impacts to natural drainage systems. (GMC § 13.43.040(A).) Compliance with these regulations will ensure that the Project would not result in a significant impact to water quality. Existing utilities would provide water supplies and wastewater treatment services to the subject property.
Vehicle Miles Traveled
In 2018, the State of California amended the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Appendix G question for transportation impacts to delete reference to vehicle delay and level of service and instead refer to Section 15064.3, subdivision (b)(1) of the CEQA Guidelines asking if the Project will result in a substantial increase in VMT. Accordingly, the City of Glendale adopted VMT as the metric for assessing transportation impacts for land use Projects. To comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Senate Bill 743 (SB 743), development Projects in the City of Glendale must conduct vehicle miles traveled (VMT) analysis to evaluate a Project’s potential significant impacts. The City has prepared Transportation Analysis (TIA) Guidelines to provide guidance on whether a Project can be screened out of a detailed VMT analysis, or if the applicant would need to perform a detailed VMT analysis. The guidelines include detailed guidance for conducting an SB 743-consistent transportation impact analysis of VMT as well as assessing significant impacts related to public transit, pedestrians, bicyclists, hazards/design features, and emergency access.
The Project is eligible to screen out of a detailed Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) analysis because according to Section 18.104.22.168 of the City’s Transportation Analysis Guidelines, Projects that generate fewer than 145 daily vehicle trips can be presumed to cause a less-than-significant transportation impact and would not require a detailed VMT analysis; this should be based on the proposed Project’s total uses without taking a credit for existing uses. As proposed, the Project is considered small Project, which is estimated to generate less than 50 net peak-hour trips and is screened out of VMT analysis. As such a detailed VMT analysis is not required and the Project would have a less-than-significant VMT impact
e. The site can be adequately served by all required utilities and public services.
There will not be a considerable increase in demand for services or utilities due to Project implementation. The Project would be located in an existing urban area with existing buildings that have been adequately served by existing public utilities and services. All new construction on site will be served by the same existing public utilities and services. These services include water, electricity, solid waste collection and sewer services provided by the City of Glendale. Accordingly, the Project will be adequately served by all required utilities and public services.