When Glendale officials established a requirement for new developers to either display public art on their own property or pay a fee to City Hall in 2010, they also included a provision that could extend the rule beyond its original purpose, city officials said this week at a City Council meeting.

So on Tuesday, the council took the first step to get rid of vague language, which extended the art requirement to property owners who were implementing $500,000 improvements that added floor area or "otherwise intensifies" the use.

Officials want to cut the phrase "otherwise intensifies" since it's unclear exactly how it would be applied.

"The intensification of the use really is a little bit up in the air and lends itself to some interpretation," said City Manager Scott Ochoa, adding that city officials should "focus instead on more objective parameters."

Under Glendale's traditional planning definitions, intensification could apply to any change that would require more parking — such as changing from a deli to fast-food restaurant — or even a situation where a property owner may be making interior changes, according to a city report.

The art requirement is set to otherwise continue once the council takes a roll-call vote next week on clarifying the rule.

The city has collected about $1.4 million in art fees from developers in an Urban Art Fund. The Arts & Culture Commission plans to use that money to pay for mural projects, performing arts and other programs.

If a developer chooses to pay for their own public art, that must cost 2% of the overall project cost, according to a city report. If they choose to pay the fee, it equals 1% of the overall cost.

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Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.

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