L.A. Councilman Proposes Tightening Rules Against ‘Mansionization’

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz wants the city to tighten its rules against “mansionization” amid an outpouring of complaints about big, boxy homes overshadowing their smaller neighbors.

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Bea Samples walks past a home under construction in her Faircrest Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles in March. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

As the economy recovers and housing values bounce back, “there’s too many opportunities for developers to build these giant, blocky McMansions,” Koretz said. “There’s a profit motive to destroy neighborhoods.”

The Baseline Mansionization Ordinance was crafted six years ago to curb the size of new and remodeled homes, depending on the size of the lot they sit on. But the ordinance has sometimes fallen short of its goals because of “counterproductive provisions,” Koretz wrote in a motion introduced Friday.

Under the existing rules, 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 design the home so that the facades or floors fit certain proportions. Some Los Angeles homeowners argue that such bonuses have become a mansionization loophole, allowing builders to keep building homes too large for their lots.

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