Glendale Planning Commission

Last week, the Glendale Planning Commission voted against a proposal to rezone Glen Lakes Golf Course for development. Nine months ago, Glendale City Council voted to sell the golf course to a developer for $6.5 million.

On Aug. 21, the Glendale Planning Commission listened to hours of criticism from neighbors—then rejected a request for rezoning and a plan amendment. The commission shot down a plan to develop Glen Lakes Golf Course into a 171-home community.

The planning commission does not have the ultimate power on rejecting or authorizing development of the golf course. But its recommendation is to be considered by Glendale City Council, which in December approved the sale of the city-owned golf course to a developer for $6.5 million.

According to City Manager Kevin Phelps, a major plan map amendment is scheduled to go to city council in October.

 After drawing intense criticism from neighbors, the developer’s Trevino Homes plan was called out of bounds by the planning commission.

“As a commissioner, I serve as an advisory role to the city council. Our votes here reflect what we believe is in the best interest of the community now and in the future,” Commissioner Martin Nowakowski said. 

“I am pleading with the city council to be convicted enough to make this project worthy of a general plan amendment.”

The planning commission’s unanimous vote against two linked agenda items came despite a strong city staff recommendation for approval. Glendale Interim Development Services Director Lisa Collins said the zoning request was compatible with the land-use map and appropriate for the neighborhood.

“The proposed plan will include pedestrian bike paths, landscaped area entry features, decorative themed walls, parks, playgrounds and other public or commonly owned open space,” Collins said.

That hardly convinced neighbors who opposed the project.  

Among the residents to speak was Jane Bachmann of the group Save Glen Lakes, which has battled the city over development of the golf course for more than a year. 

“It will be the haves and the have-nots,” Bachmann said. “People in their high-density living quarters and then there will be us, in the surrounding areas, with our spacious properties.” 

Kathy Wheeler also spoke against the Trevino development.

“Traffic will be terrible,” she said. “This neighborhood has been trouble free for 40 years …” She urged the commission to keep the current parks and open space zoning.” 

The commission sided with those against the development.

“Clearly the city has the legal resolution and the right to sell the property,” Commissioner Vern Crow said. “But I have trouble with the streets dumping out onto the residential streets, and I have some concerns about the density.”

Commission Chair Gary Hirsch emphatically voted to reject the request.

“If this had been a privately-owned piece of property and it had not been for the public enjoyment and not a public park open space, I would probably feel a little bit differently,” Hirsch said.

“I just cannot support this application in any way.”

A few days after the planning vote, Collins responded to a question on the process in an email: “The preliminary plat has not been approved and the (Glen Lakes) sale has not closed.  The general plan and zoning requests, that are necessary for a preliminary plat approval, are still in process and will need city council approval.” 

According to an April amendment to the sales contract, Towne Development is not required to close on the $6.5 million deal  until its preliminary plan is approved.