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Council alters housing rules

One council member opposes, saying it will change neighborhoods.

April 26, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

To comply with state law, the Burbank City Council on Tuesday changed its zoning code to allow transitional and sober-living housing facilities in residential areas.

The move didn't sit well with Councilman David Gordon, who said he felt the modifications could "change the character" of Burbank neighborhoods.

The new rules allow care facilities for disabled people, which includes drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, in single-family neighborhoods, unless they accommodate more than six people, in which case they are allowed only in multi-family areas, such as apartments or condominiums, if they obtain a permit from the Planning Board.

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"I would suspect that someone coming to Burbank who purchased a home not knowing there was a type of facility that we're describing here wouldn't be really happy," Gordon said.

The changes were approved in a 3-1-1 vote, with Gordon the sole dissenter and Mayor Dave Golonski abstaining.

In addition, temporary housing for homeless people and permanent housing for low-income individuals and families is allowed under the amended code in multi-family residential zones.

Not complying with state law could compromise the city's ability to secure grant funds for housing projects, and subject the city to having to update its housing element — a state-required land-use plan for housing development — more frequently, city officials said.

Even so, Gordon stood firmly against the changes.

"I don't think we need to be dictated by the state on how we zone our local city," he said. "It's not just about getting funding from the government, it's about what's important for the community."

But other council members thought the consequences, including the potential loss of grant funds, were too great to not comply with state law.

"There are just too many negatives," Councilman Jess Talamantes said. "It'll end up hurting us more than giving us good will."

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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