Whether commercial or residential, residents throughout Los Angeles are looking for ways to slow down the growth and sizes of homes and buildings being constructed. Here is a look at two battles currently taking place.
Los Angeles Fights Against “Mansionization”
Mansionization, which is the phrase used to describe the practice of tearing down smaller houses to build larger homes, has become such an issue in Los Angeles that the city is taking steps toward putting an end to the practice. It has become such an issue that some anti-mansion proponents have gone so far as to send hate mail, post signs and litter the new homes that are built to the maximum allowed on a lot. The battle is also finding its way back to City Hall, where the planning commission has voted to amend the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance, which was established in 2008 to place a cap on the square footage of home based on the size of the lot.
According to those who support the amendment, a change is necessary to address the loopholes that homeowners have found in the current ordinance. For example, homeowners are currently allowed to use “ecologically-friendly” building methods in order to gain a 20 percent increase in allowable square footage. Furthermore, covered porches and attached garages do not currently count toward the total square footage allowed on the lot.
Under the proposed changes that were approved by the planning commission, the ecological building method bonus would be eliminated. Covered porches and patios will also no longer be excluded from the total square footage of the home, though attached garages will still be exempt. The maximum size for a garage, however, will be lowered from 400 square feet to 200 square feet. Any square footage beyond 200 square feet will then count against the size of the home. Furthermore, the allowable square footage for a home in a residential area will be dropped from 50 percent to 40 percent of the total lot size.
Anti-Development Measure to be Included on Santa Monica Ballot in November
A group of concerned citizens is taking steps to help slow down the development of high-rises in Santa Monica. In response to these concerns, the Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to place an initiative called the “Land Use Voter Empowerment,” or LUVE, on the November ballot. Under the guidelines established by LUVE, new construction that is taller than 32 feet or two stories will require voter approval. Projects this would affect would include those such as the Plaza at Santa Monica, which is a mixed-user proposed for downtown on Arizona Avenue in the area between 4th and 5th streets. Current plans call for the building to reach 148 feet.
With the local group receiving enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the City Council had no option but to place LUVE on the November ballot. The only other option is to enact it into law, but even those members of the City Council who are considered to be “slow growth” proponents do not support LUVE as it is currently written. The general consensus is that 32 feet is too drastic, as it would essentially put dozens of proposed projects on election ballots during both regularly scheduled and special elections.
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(all data current as of 5/27/2017)
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