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L.A.'s Crackdown on McMansions Hasn't Stopped Them from Going Up

Legislation to stop construction of McMansions is being undermined by a zoning loophole.
March 25, 2020, 11am PDT | Camille Fink
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Joakim Lloyd Raboff

"In 2008, [Los Angeles] enacted rules designed to crack down on the size of new residences in areas zoned for single-family housing. After the original ordinance was criticized for being too lenient, it was strengthened in 2017, limiting the square footage of homes to 45 percent of a lot’s size," writes Zoie Matthew.

But in the Melrose area of the city, developers are still putting up McMansions, which are driving up home prices and dwarfing surrounding homes. The issue is they are building single-family homes on lots zoned for multifamily buildings.

"In these zones, which were not covered by the original anti-mansionization legislation, developers are allowed to build multiple units—but are not required to build up to the maximum density," says Matthew.

Even with ongoing debates throughout the state about upzoning, city officials and residents want the McMansion construction to stop. "[Councilmember David] Ryu says he plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that would expand the baseline mansionization ordinance to multifamily lots, in an attempt to close the loophole," notes Matthew.

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Published on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 in Curbed Los Angeles
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