'Mansionization': LA Homeowners Battle Over Houses on Steroids

'Mansionization': LA Homeowners Battle Over Houses on Steroids

Many homeowners in Los Angeles are outraged with the “mansionization” of new and renovated houses by their neighbors, and are willing to fight City Hall to stop their development. According to the Los Angeles Times, these newly constructed “houses on steroids” are blocking their neighbors’ views and cutting off their sunlight.

Basically, “mansionization” consists of tearing down part or all of an existing structure and filling as much of the parcel as zoning laws allow with multi-floored structures. Frequently, the new constructions don’t fit in with the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood and are so large they often entomb the nearby homes. And what may be worse, the imposing structures often bring down the value of the adjacent homes.

Criticsof the overblown structures are arguing with zoning officials that builders have taken advantage of loopholes in the zoning laws. The increasing amount of complaints with “mansionization” has prompted Michael LoGrande, director of the Department of City Planning, to tell lawmakers that more stringent controls might be needed.

Nevertheless, although the homes may seem out of place, the owners claim it is their land and they can build whatever they want.

Many of the rules for “anti-mansionization” that were created in the last ten years are not strong enough, according to some officials. Builders are able to circumvent them in a number of ways, including making them more “green-friendly.” Using low-energy lighting and air conditioning may allow a builder to increase the amount of footage that he would have been normally allowed for a specified parcel.

Photo: File/Reuters (Newport Beach)

Dr. Jeff Marsh, a physician, is the chair of The Committee to End Mansionization of North Beverly Grove an area adjacent to of Beverly Hills. He is quoted in local reports as saying: “These monolithic, massive structures are like a virus, popping up with total disregard for their neighbors and the neighborhood. They are completely out of proportion to the lot sizes and the neighboring homes. The detrimental nature of McMansions has been officially acknowledged by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.” 

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