Mitt Romney and his neighbors disagree about his plans to quadruple the size of his La Jolla home

Mitt Romney has another battle on his hands: some of his La Jolla, California neighbors are not happy about his plans to renovate and expand his home.

Four years ago, when he was just a well-heeled civilian in search of a quiet beach house, Mr. Romney paid $12 million for a three-bedroom Spanish-style villa with unobstructed views of the Pacific and a rich history: Maureen O’Connor, the former mayor of San Diego, once lived there, and Richard Gere had used it as a vacation rental.

Little did Mr. Romney know that his efforts to quadruple the size of his house would collide with a bid for the White House, foisting the unpredictable dramas of home renovation and presidential politics onto a community that prides itself on low-key California neighborliness…

Three houses away from Mr. Romney is Mark Quint, a Democrat who said that he is tired of watching neighboring homeowners bulldoze small beach houses to make way for McMansions, fearing a “nightmare of construction.” He sees a discrepancy in Mr. Romney’s ambitious renovation plan…

The Romneys have said that the current configuration cannot accommodate their family of 5 children and 18 grandchildren. The new house, by contrast, will be 11,000 square feet with a split-level four-car garage equipped with an elevator to ferry cars up and down. (There is currently a cramped two-car garage, and little street parking available.)…

Mr. Romney has hired a lawyer to shepherd the project through the local zoning process and has spent about $22,000 to lobby city officials for various permits. But construction is not expected to begin anytime soon.

Reading some of the comments from the neighbors, some would not be happy if Romney and his lived in a trendiest and greenest tiny house.

One lesson to take away from this: perhaps no one is immune from incurring the scorn of one’s neighbors if they try to make drastic changes to their home.

A second note: a 11,000 square foot home is quite large, bigger than most American houses. Yet, if the Romneys, 5 children and spouses, and 18 grandchildren were all in the house at once, each person gets 367 square feet of living space. This is less space than the average American household (2.63 people in 2009) has in the average sized new house of around 2,500 square feet (2011 figures).

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