15.12 Grading in Hillside Areas and Excavation Blasting
Article I. General Provisions
The purpose of this chapter is to safeguard life, health, property, public welfare
and preservation of the environment by establishing minimum requirements for regulating
hillside grading and excavations in addition to the grading requirements in Appendix
Chapter 33 of the Glendale Building and Safety Code and as that code may be subsequently
(Ord. 5527 § 2, 2006: prior code § 23-1)
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings
ascribed to them unless otherwise noted:
"Hillside area" means any land designated as mountainous terrain in Title 16 of the Glendale Municipal Code, 1995, or any land located in the R1 or SR zones as defined in Title 30 of such code, and as that code may subsequently be amended.
"Hillside design guidelines" means the guidelines adopted by resolution of the city council for the purpose of implementing the city's hillside development.
"Landscape guidelines for hillside development" means the guidelines adopted by resolution of the city council for the landscaping of hillside areas.
(Ord. 5527 § 6, 2006: prior code § 23-5)
15.12.063 Grading in primary ridgeline areas, secondary ridgeline areas and blue-line
All hillside area grading shall be regulated by criteria set forth in Sections
and 16.04.037 of this code as related to primary
ridgeline areas, secondary ridgeline areas and blue-line stream areas. Any exception
to the standards contained in said sections shall only be made at a public hearing
conducted by the planning commission or the city council. (Ord. 5527 § 8, 2006:
(Ord. 5527 § 8, 2006: Ord. 5009 § 2, 1993: prior code § 23-6.1)
15.12.067 Hillside design guidelines.
The city engineer or building official shall be responsible for reviewing grading
plans for compliance with the hillside design guidelines. The city engineer or building
official shall not issue a grading permit for a grading plan which is inconsistent
with the intent and purpose of the hillside design guidelines
Grading for an emergency situation which, as determined by the city engineer or
building official, will involve temporary grading to protect human life, property,
property improvements, or streets and street improvements from imminent danger until
a permanent solution can be designed shall be exempt from this provision.
Cut slopes may exceed the height limits for street access only when such variation
is necessary for initial access to the property for development purposes and when
determined by the planning commission or the city council that the access is necessary
to promote the public health, safety and general welfare, to insure adequate traffic
circulation, and to provide appropriate ingress and egress for emergencies. Such
declaration of need shall be made at a duly noticed and conducted public hearing
before the planning commission when related to a parcel map application and before
the city council when related to any other type of application. The planning commission
or city council shall make supportive written findings that each of the following
- The location of the public street and associated cut slopes are proper in relation
to adjacent uses, the development of the community and to the various elements and
objectives of the general plan.
- The public street and associated cut slopes will not be materially detrimental to
the character of the neighborhood nor will it endanger the public health, safety
and general welfare.
- It has been demonstrated that the public street will improve and enhance traffic
circulation in a manner advantageous to the public convenience and welfare.
- The establishment of the proposed public street and associated cut slopes will not
impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of surrounding property
for permitted uses.
- The appearance of the proposed cut slopes will not be so at variance with the appearance
of the adjoining hillside area as to cause substantial depreciation of the hillside
appearance in the vicinity.
- Adequate drainage devices, landscaping, and other necessary appurtenances will be
provided to city standards.
- Alternative designs for street access have been evaluated and examined and have
been determined to be infeasible.
- Additional mitigation is applied which sufficiently compensates for the additional
impacts associated with such variation.
- The design is such that no cut slope shall exceed a vertical height of one hundred
(100) feet (30.5 m) unless terraces with a minimum width of thirty (30) feet (9m)
are installed at each one hundred (100) feet (30.5 m) of vertical height.
- Transition Cut Slopes. Steeper than one and one-half (1 1/2) horizontal to one (1)
vertical (66.7% slope) but not greater than one (1) horizontal to one (1) vertical
(100% slope) may be permitted where a contoured transition from cut face to natural
ground is required, subject to the approval of the city engineer or building official.
- Nonconforming Slope Mitigation. Cut slopes steeper than one (1) horizontal to one
(1) vertical (100% slope) may be permitted for the purpose of mitigating existing
nonconforming slopes adjacent to public right-of-way subject to the approval of
the city engineer or building official.
- All drainage devices shall be constructed with concrete using integral color (mixed
with the concrete) or with natural appearing materials (i.e., river rock) to blend
with the color of the natural hillside.
- Landscape plans shall show clustering of plants around drainage devices to minimize
their appearance without sacrificing the ability to maintain these devices.
(Ord. 5527 § 9, 2006: Ord. 5009 § 3, 1993: prior code § 23-6.2)
- Slope and Height.
- Cut slopes shall not exceed a vertical height of fifty (50) feet unless the toe
of the cut slope is at least forty (40) horizontal feet from the nearest downslope
public or private street in which case the cut slope may have a maximum vertical
height of one hundred (100) feet.
- The slope angle must be shown to be stable without any special measures such as
wire mesh, gunite or soil cement as determined by a registered professional geologist
or soils engineer in a report submitted to and approved by the city engineer or
- All cut slopes shall be rounded into the existing terrain to produce a contoured
transition from cut face to natural ground where conditions permit. Cut slopes over
one hundred (100) feet in horizontal length at the toe which are also over twenty-five
(25) feet in height shall include variation in both vertical and horizontal planes
to create a more natural appearance.
(Ord. 5527 § 12, 2006: Ord. 5009 § 4, 1993: prior code § 23-9)
Fill slopes may not exceed sixty (60) feet in vertical height unless the fill slope
is at least forty (40) feet from the nearest downslope public or private street,
in which case the fill slope may have a maximum vertical height of one hundred twenty
All fill slopes shall be rounded into the existing terrain to produce a contour
or transition from fill face to natural ground where conditions permit. Fill slopes
over one hundred (100) feet in horizontal length at the toe which are also over
twenty-five (25) feet in height shall include variation in both vertical and horizontal
planes to create a more natural appearance.
(Ord. 5527 § 13, 2006: Ord. 5009 § 5, 1993: prior code § 23-10)
15.12.110 Planting and irrigation of cut and fill slopes in hillside areas.
- All fill and cut slopes in hillside areas shall be planted and irrigated with an
automatic irrigation system to promote the growth of ground cover plants, shrubs
and trees in order to protect the slopes against erosion, and provide a smooth transition
between indigenous and introduced landscaping, as required in this section. These
slopes shall be immediately planted upon completion of rough grading and shall be
maintained. Planting design and planting material shall be consistent with the landscape
guidelines for hillside development that have been adopted by resolution of city
- The owner shall be responsible for planting and maintaining all slopes greater than
three (3) feet in height where such is required in this section. As individual lots
are developed, maintenance responsibility may then be transferred to the new owner.
- Minimum requirements shall be:
- Plant with ground cover plants as recommended in the landscape guidelines for hillside
development adopted by resolution of city council.
- In addition to ground cover plants, shrubs and trees are required as specified in
the landscape guidelines. Trees and shrubs may be grouped in clumps rather than
by uniform spacing.
- Slopes adjacent to drainage terraces shall be planted with shrubs and trees, minimum
size one (1) gallon, a maximum of five (5) feet on center, parallel to the terraces
and within two (2) feet of the uphill side.
- Install an adequately designed automatic irrigation system prior to planting shrubs
and trees and before grading is approved.
- Special Requirements for Automatic Irrigation Systems. Plans for the automatic irrigation
system shall be submitted to and approved by the city engineer or building official
prior to installation in accordance with the following criteria:
- The automatic irrigation system shall be designed to provide sufficient watering
to allow for the rapid establishment of plant materials. Irrigation design should
consider the individual needs of each specimen and plant clusters. Irrigation design
shall be consistent with the landscape guidelines for hillside development that
have been adopted by resolution of city council. In no event shall the irrigation
be permitted to create a saturated condition and cause an erosion problem, or allow
the discharge of excess water into any public or private street.
- A check valve and balance cock shall be installed in the system where drainage from
sprinkler heads will create an erosion problem.
- Adequate backflow protection shall be installed in each sprinkler as set forth in
the Uniform Building Code as adopted by the city.
- A functional test of each irrigation system shall be performed by the installer
for every irrigation system prior to approval by the city engineer or building official.
- When more than one (1) lot is included in the plan, the irrigation system shall
be so designed that all slopes may be initially watered through one (1) meter maintained
by the owner. Provisions shall be made so that slopes can be watered through individual
water meters at each area maintained by a homeowners association or each lot at
the time the lot is developed.
- Irrigation piping located above ground shall be galvanized steel, except in the
case of temporary irrigation for naturalizing landscaping, where (ultraviolet resistant)
brown line is acceptable.
- Plants. All plants required by this section shall be selected from the recommended
list of plants and shrubs contained in the landscape guidelines for hillside development
that have been adopted by resolution of city council.
(Ord. 5527 § 14, 2006: Ord. 5009 § 6, 1993: prior code § 23-11)
Article II. Excavation Blasting
15.12.120 Excavation Blasting Permit-Application-Report.
No person shall do any excavation blasting without a permit therefor from the fire
chief. The application for such a permit shall be on forms prescribed by the fire
chief. Before the issuance of such a permit the fire chief shall require the receipt
of a written report from the city engineer or building official. Any conditions
contained in the city engineer's or building official's report shall become conditions
of the permit.
(Ord. 5527 § 28 (part), 2006: prior code § 23-24)
15.12.130 Issuing authority.
The fire chief of the Glendale fire division is designated as the issuing authority
for the city in accordance with, and for the purposes designated in, Section 12007
of the Health and Safety Code of the state of California.
(Ord. 5527 § 28 (part), 2006: prior code § 23-24.1)
The application shall be accompanied by a fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00). Before
the issuance of any permit the applicant shall pay in addition thereto a fee of
thirty dollars ($30.00) for each day during which excavation blasting operations
are proposed. If in the opinion of the fire chief the presence of an inspector at
the blasting site is necessary or advisable, a charge for such inspector's presence
shall also be made at the regular hourly pay rate for inspectors as established
by the current salary ordinance of the city, and such charge shall be paid in advance
by the applicant.
(Ord. 5527 § 28 (part), 2006: prior code § 23-25)
15.12.150 Applicability of chapter-Rules and regulations.
Insofar as applicable, the provisions of this chapter relating to conditions in
permits, procedure and the like matters shall govern excavation blasting permits,
but the fire chief shall continue to enforce all applicable laws on blasting under
the fire chief's jurisdiction that are not in conflict with this chapter, and the
fire chief may make and keep on file in the fire chief's office any rules which
have been approved by the city engineer or building official establishing conditions
for excavation blasting permits.
(Ord. 5527 § 28 (part), 2006: prior code § 23-26)
15.12.160 Appeal to council from denial or revocation of permit.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the fire chief in denying or revoking a permit
required by this chapter for failure to meet or to comply with the provisions of
this chapter or any provision of the Glendale Building and Safety Code may appeal
to the council within the time and in the manner provided in Chapter
2.88 of this code.
(Ord. 5527 § 28 (part), 2006: prior code § 23-27)