GLENDALE – Downtown could account for more than 90 percent of new housing across the city as officials try to transform the area into a high-rise residential corridor. But those plans come with concern – a lack of affordable housing, a spike in traffic and a real-estate slump that has developers nervous. “Right now, it just feels like we’re so darn close to gridlock here that I hope somebody’s thinking, just planning ahead,” said the Rev. Craig Hall of Glendale Presbyterian Church, a downtown mainstay for 85 years. About a dozen downtown Glendale projects are either under construction or being planned. They include everything from the massive Americana at Brand outdoor mall, which opens in the spring, to a 12-story hotel under construction just north of the Ventura Freeway. Most include apartments or condos. “That would not go over very well because I think the developers would just be very, very opposed to that,” he said. “We’re having a hard time getting them to pay a couple thousand per unit for our parks.” And it’s not as if there is a lot of room for those parks. City officials say there’s no space to build them unless they pay top dollar for land where rents and property values are expensive. On Tuesday, the City Council voted to charge developers $2,000 per housing unit to fund the expansion of parks and libraries. Any new project being proposed after Dec. 1 would pay $3,500 per unit. Without parks, developers have gotten creative with what they build and how they build it. At the proposed 24-story Verdugo Gardens, the developer plans to give residents a little open space to unwind within the project. Five “sky gardens” would be built into the face of the building, giving residents a place to relax in gardens high in the air and each have a different theme, using elements of forests or colors associated with the sunset. Builders are marketing their downtown condos to affluent professionals and seniors trading in a big house. Najarian said less affluent, middle-class residents could find it hard to afford a place in the city. “Work force housing sort of gets ignored and overlooked because it’s those folks who, they do have jobs, they’re productive, but their income levels are not such that would permit them to live in Glendale,” he said. “We want our teachers, our nurses, our firefighters to live in Glendale.” Glendale’s downtown development plan centers on building apartments and condo units on top of shops and restaurants so residents don’t need to drive to the dry cleaner or the market. Officials also hope residents walk to work at nearby offices, or use the bus. It’s an urban planning style state and regional officials have encouraged to accommodate a growing population and reduce traffic by building close to transit lines. The city of Los Angeles has approved similar projects in several San Fernando Valley redevelopment zones. Since 2004, more than 1,180 housing units have been built around the North Hollywood subway station, and more are in the pipeline. Still, one possible hitch in the plan to build up downtown has been the downturn in the real-estate market. Several projects are on hold, even though the city has already approved them, as developers seek buyers. “Of course this whole business with real estate is not helping at all,” Councilman Bob Yousefian said. “Interest rates are high and there’s a lot of foreclosure, so people are not buying anything new and the developers frankly are very nervous.” Rodney Kahn, a consultant who is working with developers on several projects for downtown, said that even though developers are wary of how the housing slump could affect condo sales, they are taking a long-term approach and still see Glendale as a good investment. “Hopefully you’ll see more new and exciting restaurants, entertainment venues,” he said. “I can see a lot of positive momentum being built up. “There has not been a lot of new housing that’s been built in the city of Glendale, so it’s not as if there is a glut on the market already.” Meanwhile, Hall said he worries about Louise Street in front of his church getting busier and is waiting to see how city officials plan for growth. “When I go into a city, I like to look forward to it and expect an enjoyable experience, not a frustrating experience,” he said. “That’s where the planning comes in.” firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But none of them offers affordable units for low-income residents. In areas designated as redevelopment zones, the state requires developers to set aside some of their units and sell them at reduced prices for low- and moderate-income buyers. But downtown Glendale was established as a redevelopment zone in 1972, four years before the state requirement went into effect. So developers are not required to create any affordable housing. That doesn’t sit well with Paul Zimmerman, executive director of the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing. “The people of Glendale are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to provide housing that’s affordable for most of the people in the city of Glendale,” Zimmerman said. Glendale has a low-income housing program for the more industrial area around San Fernando Road and other neighborhoods throughout the city, but not for downtown. And Mayor Ara Najarian said that’s how developers want it.
A Garda Chief Superintendent told the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today that she believed a Co Donegal man was an IRA member in 2010.Chief Superintendent Terry Mc Ginn said that she believed that Philip McGavigan was a member of the IRA on February 2, 2010. She told the court that her belief was based on confidential information from a source and she added that she did not want to disclose that source.The court has heard that McGavigan told Gardaí that he had travelled to an isolated rural house, which had been placed under surveillance by armed detectives, to poach deer by lamp light.McGavigan (aged 50), of Coneyburrow, Lifford has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation, namely the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, on February 2nd last year.Chief Superintendent McGinn said that she had been attached to the Special Detective Unit and the National Surveillance Unit between 1985 and 1991 investigating the activities of terrorist organisations.She said that she also investigated terrorist financing when she worked in the money laundering unit after her promotion to Inspector in 1995.Chief Supt McGinn said that in 2009 Gardaí in Co Donegal targetted an IRA group in the Lifford, Sion Mills and Stranorlar area which was involved in various activities, including tiger kidnappings and shootings.Cross examined by defence counsel Mr Brian Mc Cartney QC (stet), Chief Supt McGinn claimed privilege in relation to the confidential source who had identified McGavigan as an IRA member.The trial resumes next Tuesday.GARDA: ‘TOUT TOLD ME LIFFORD MAN WAS IN IRA’ was last modified: May 19th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)