Continued mansionization debates in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Times reports that controversy over mansionization in Los Angeles continues as the city struggles to develop guidelines that will please residents:

Los Angeles leaders say they want to tighten restrictions on mansionization, but citywide fixes are expected to take at least 18 months to allow for repeated hearings and environmental review, according to city officials…

Local politicians and planning officials say that L.A.’s rules against mansionization — meant to prevent bloated houses from being built on modest lots — have fallen short. The restrictions, put in place six years ago, curb the size of new and renovated homes based on lot size. But the rules also include “bonuses” of 20% or 30% more space than otherwise allowed…

In the meantime, city planners have suggested temporary rules to curb demolitions and give residents “breathing room” in neighborhoods that have mobilized against mansionization, including Sunset Square, Studio City and North Beverly Grove.

The Los Angeles chapter of the Building Industry Assn. is worried about those moves, saying that the temporary restrictions could “result in a flurry of lawsuits.” Homeowners have not been given enough warning about the restrictions, which “will immediately remove property owner rights,” the group’s chief executive, Tim Piasky, said.

Planning officials say the temporary restrictions would immediately address the problem in mansionization hot spots: desirable areas with older, smaller homes targeted for teardowns…

“It creates a situation of haves and have-nots,” said Traci Considine, whose Faircrest Heights neighborhood has been recommended to get temporary curbs on home demolitions. “If you do a few Band-Aids for a few select neighborhoods, the target is just bigger on the backs of the neighborhoods that aren’t protected.

Los Angeles is a big city so having city-wide regulations could be quite difficult. Austin passed a noted anti-McMansion ordinance but the city has 885,000 people in 272 square miles while LA has 3.88 million residents in 503 square miles. In addition to size differences, real estate in California is huge: the housing market is still quite pricey so limiting the ability of property owners to cash out is a bigger restriction than in the cheaper Austin market.

I would guess that the long-term solution is different guidelines for different neighborhoods in accordance with what residents desire. Yes, this might push the mansionizers to different neighborhoods. But, this is how communities often tackle this problem.

2 thoughts on “Continued mansionization debates in Los Angeles

  1. Pingback: A picket line against McMansions | Legally Sociable

  2. Pingback: McMansion as a verb: “could McMansion R.I.’s coast” | Legally Sociable

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