Not on my hillside: LA reigns in “mansionization”

Home under construction in Los Angeles (Getty Images)
Home under construction in Los Angeles (Getty Images)

Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved changes to two ordinances that regulate the size of homes on hillsides and in single-family neighborhoods to curtail so-called “mansionization,” a term used when large homes are built on small lots off older streets.

The rewritten ordinances will reduce the size of homes allowed in most single-family neighborhoods, scaling back the square footage allowed for houses in some locations to 45 percent, down from 50 percent.

The revisions also cut down provisions that allowed property owners to obtain additional square footage for new homes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Spec dominated the Los Angeles luxury market last year, accounting for six of the 10 priciest transactions, but these new restrictions could put a damper on the spec construction boom, The Real Deal previously reported.

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Some activists applauded the changes, which were championed by Council Member Paul Koretz. Some, however, complained about what they perceive as a loophole in the newly approved ordinance: property owners can circumvent the restrictions by applying for a conditional use permit.

Doug Carstens, attorney for Sunset Coalition and two other organizations, warned council members the exemption had not been properly vetted as required under CEQA. He said his clients may sue if the council fails to make a technical correction to the law removing the exemption.

“They went through all this time and effort to satisfy neighborhoods and protect people, but at the same time they’ve included a huge loophole that goes a long way toward undoing those protections,” Carstens said to the Times. [LAT]Subrina Hudson