Mansionization Déjà Vu Reveals Differences of Opinion in Southern California

An editorial favors one local city's approach to mansionization over another's. When will they ever learn?
October 9, 2015, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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It's almost like the Great Recession never happened in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California: homeowners, developers, and international investors are tearing down single-family detached homes and replacing them with much larger single-family detached homes.

The editorial board of the Pasadena Star-News chimed in on the reignited controversy over mansionization in the cities of San Gabriel and Arcadia. "The city of San Gabriel last month became the latest in the region to begin to investigate solutions to the problems of mansionization in the region, and good for it," begins the editorial. Meanwhile, according to the editorial, nearby Arcadia is sticking its head in the "construction dirt."

So the editorial performs a compare and contrast on the two cities' approach to mansionization pressures. The right way, according to the editorial, as embodied by San Gabriel:

"Quite properly, the main focus in the short run in San Gabriel is on updating its outmoded housing preservation ordinance to protect the excellent stock of appropriately scaled pre-World War II residential neighborhoods in the city. But city leaders are also not shying away from considering a temporary moratorium on the razing of single-family houses in order to build McMansions while it gets its planning act together."

Meanwhile in Arcadia, "an out-of-touch three-member City Council majority has blocked a zoning study that had appropriately been under way…"

Courtney Tompkins, staff reporter for the Pasadena Star-News, reported on the initial findings of the city of San Gabriel's study back in September. For another take on the mansionization controversy, a letter to the editor by George Carney, resident of San Gabriel, says "the furor about 'mansionization' [is] just the latest sad commentary on the reactionary and bigoted thinking of all too many San Gabriel residents." 

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Published on Thursday, October 1, 2015 in Pasadena Star-News
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