'Mansionization': The Sequel; Now Playing in Los Angeles

An uptick in the Los Angeles housing and lending markets has precipitated the return of mansionization. A 2008 citywide ordinance adopted to prevent outsized homes on small residential lots is proving inadequate to the task.
May 9, 2014, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Emily Alpert Reyes reports on a return to pre-2008 controversies in the residential neighborhoods of Los Angeles. "[As] the housing market rebounds and construction picks up, many homeowners complain that 'mansionization' has revved up — reigniting long-standing policy battles and sometimes bitter fence fights over the face and feel of L.A.'s neighborhoods."

"Critics argue that builders have exploited loopholes — bonuses that allow extra square footage — to erect homes too large for their lots. The recent surge of complaints prompted Michael LoGrande, director of the Department of City Planning, to tell lawmakers that more stringent controls might be needed."

The city's 2008 baseline Mansionization Ordinance allows special exceptions that is allowing the bloated construction projects through approvals. For instance: "Builders can get a bonus to build 20% or 30% larger than ordinarily allowed if they design their homes to be environmentally friendly, or if they adhere to certain scaling requirements of home facades and upper floors."

The "builders, architects and homeowners" who support the large rebuilds, however, claim that tighter restrictions would kill the industry.

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Published on Sunday, May 4, 2014 in Los Angeles Times
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