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Steps taken to curb 'mansionization'

Residents in many L.A. neighborhoods can’t help but notice the fingerprint of residential developers from a mile away. After all, the mark they leave on many neighborhoods isn’t subtle.

Cynically, many disgruntled neighbors call them “McMansions.” The more mainstream description of the process is termed as “mansionization.”

Either way, chances are you pass by them regularly or have one in your neighborhood. Massive, new construction homes built to the maximum allowable size on their lots, surrounded by the smaller and older homes of the original neighborhood. As land values have soared, developers moved quickly to bring new construction homes to the market in areas where they don’t otherwise exist.

It’s an eyesore to some, damaging the character of neighborhoods. It’s straight business to others, the inevitable reality of housing demands. But the L.A. City Council recently voted to draft rules that would temporarily impose restrictions on demolitions in many neighborhoods, according to the LA Times.

Even so, it won’t happen quickly. The process of amending the laws against mansionization is expected to take a year and a half. From the Times:

City officials are still determining the exact restrictions for the targeted neighborhoods, which will come back before city lawmakers for final approval before being imposed.

The restrictions could vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, ranging from an outright ban on home demolitions to limiting the size of new homes that replace teardowns, according to planning officials. The temporary rules could last for as long as two years.

Many of these mansionization laws have been on the books for quite some time, but have widely-known loopholes to comply with zoning laws. Cities like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills also have their own set of ordinances.

As a buyer, it’s critical to know and understand which local ordinances will impact your ability to tear-down or remodel and what is allowable by law.

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