First published in the Nov. 19 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
In the latest move to transition the city toward clean energy, the Glendale City Council will now require all new construction to be fully electric and stocked with electric vehicle and solar infrastructure.
Going beyond what is required by the state, the City Council amended the Glendale Building and Safety Code with new local building energy standards to improve clean energy usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is a landmark decision,” said Councilman Daniel Brotman. “I’m very proud we’ve gotten to this point.”
The new language, or reach codes, will require all new construction, including accessory dwelling units (ADUs), to be completely electric, with limited exemptions. Even with approved exceptions that will use natural gas, the buildings must be pre-wired for future electric appliance installation.
The code also requires new single and multi-family units, townhomes and non-residential construction to include electric vehicle infrastructure and solar panels. New buildings must offset 100% of their projected electricity use or cover at least 50% of rooftop space.
“These are all great, smart and sustainability-focused,” said Kate Unger, who is a member of the Glendale Environmental Coalition. “With passage of these ordinances, Glendale is going to be the largest city in Southern California to adopt a reach code for building electrification.”
Before these new standards go into effect, the California Energy Commission and the Building Standards Commission must review and approve them. If approved, the law will go into effect on Jan. 1.
As part of a traffic infrastructure improvements project, 50 traffic signals in and around downtown Glendale will undergo synchronization, which is required every 10 years. Adjusting signal timing is meant to reduce delays, time at red lights and accidents.
“We’re balancing the overall traffic management for all users, not just vehicles,” said Pastor Casanova, principal traffic engineer. “We do synchronize the vehicles to obtain those goals of reducing greenhouse gases and pollution.”
The council directed the city to adjust 40 of these signals by February to include a walk signal for pedestrians before the signal turns green for cars, which is meant to reduce collisions. The other 10 are not equipped for pedestrian head starts.
ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS
To better align with state standards regarding SB 9, a law that allows housing development on some previously single-family zoned parcels, the City Council also passed amendments to Title 30 of the Glendale Municipal Code.
This establishes specific standards for floor area ratio in multi-family projects as well as for approving ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units. Specifically, the minimum height was raised to 16 feet for attached ADUs and 18 feet for detached units.
The law also allows the potential for two-story ADUs in certain cases and gives multifamily dwelling developers the option to build up to two detached units on their parcels. Notably, the state law does not mandate a city allow ADUs above single-family home garages.
These modifications are meant to make it easier and more efficient to build more housing in Glendale, especially affordable housing.