Los Angeles neighborhood group has a comprehensive set of arguments against McMansions

A neighborhood group in Beverly Grove, Los Angeles is fighting mansionization and McMansions. Here are a few highlights:

-A definition from the front page: “Mansionization replaces older homes with houses that are out of scale with the homes around them. These oversize houses deprive neighbors of light, air, and privacy. They spoil the character of established neighborhoods.”

-From the page “Why Garages Count“:

Current LA City code excludes the first 400 sq ft of attached garages from the Floor Area Ratio (FAR). But the case for including that square footage is solid:  -Attached garages would not be prohibited, they would simply count towards the FAR calculation. -Attached garages add bulk to homes, eliminate the buffer of a driveway, and spoil the character of older neighborhoods.- Most people do not park in their garages. Excluding attached garage space from the FAR encourages bigger houses but does little to relieve street congestion.

-From the page “Mansionization myths and fallacies“:

 They say the city has no right to set limits on their property rights.

But the city’s zoning code does just that:  It balances individual rights and community responsibility.   And good zoning promotes compatible development.

They say the RFA will stop local residents from remodeling or rebuilding. 

But the RFA absolutely allows remodeling and rebuilding.  It just sets reasonable size limits.

They say the RFA will discriminate against large families that need large houses. 

But the RFA will allow spacious 3,000 sq ft homes that do not put a burden on their neighbors.

-From the “Debunking Green McMansions” page:

New York might have alligators roaming its sewer system, but LA can now boast of its own urban legend: “green” McMansions.  Yes, that’s right; in Los Angeles, McMansions, those boxy, oversized, energy-demanding suburban houses plopped into the middle of older neighborhoods are officially considered to be sustainable development.

How could this be?  After all, McMansions require huge amounts of energy to assemble their building materials and move them to job site.  Furthermore, the houses themselves are massive, which means enormous heating and air conditioning bills, even if their windows are double-paned, their walls padded with extra insulation, and their restaurant-sized refrigerators and stoves Energy Star rated.

Then we need to consider their multiple bathrooms and heated outdoor pools and spas, the most energy intensive features of modern houses.

Other McMansion features also have their detrimental environmental effects.  During demolition they release dust and asbestos into the air.  After construction, their large patios, pools, spas, and double driveways reduce natural open space.  Combined with their elimination of parkway trees and landscaping for driveway cuts, the cumulative result is a heat island with less penetration of rainwater.

Last, but certainly not least, we need to factor in their transportation system.  All McMansions are built on single-family residential lots located away from bus stops and transit stations.  This is why McMansion residents rely on their cars to get around; the only difference being that most of their vehicles are large, thirsty SUVs.

-And some photos of the McMansions in the neighborhood.

The full site seems to have a fairly comprehensive set of arguments against McMansions. Now, it remains to be seen whether this rhetoric is persuasive…

0 thoughts on “Los Angeles neighborhood group has a comprehensive set of arguments against McMansions

  1. Pingback: Is this Beverly Grove (LA) home a McMansion? | Legally Sociable

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s