Residents in a Los Angeles neighborhood are decrying the mansion-ization nearby homes, some of which have swelled to 5,000 square feet on small lots. The sprawling homes are ruining the character of their community, they say.

But other community group members in the area say more building regulations for homeowners are the last thing the neighborhood needs.

The Los Angeles Times had a really informative story about it today. It’s getting tense in Valley Village, an L.A. suburb.

Check this out. Morris “Fritz” Friedman is in the camp that opposes more regulations:

Friedman has even suggested that the community be split in two, with east Valley Village adhering to strict new anti-mansionization regulations and the west side retaining the current building rules.

The proposed split has raised tempers in the community and has even brought religion into the debate because a majority of the neighborhood council’s 15 members are Orthodox Jews, many of whom support Friedman’s motion.

One resident compared Friedman’s proposal to the division of occupied territories in Israel.

This part reminded me of the mini-dorm issue in San Diego:

Many residents have become instant housing experts with a knack for estimating square footage and an uncanny knowledge of floor-to-area ratios.

So the L.A. Planning Commission has taken action, approving an ordinance last month:

[The proposal] demanded reduced floor space for new homes that are developed in most areas of the city, excluding hillside and coastal zones.

If the City Council approves the ordinance, it would affect more than 300,000 properties, said Betsy Weisman, principal city planner. The ordinance’s regulations would vary, based on two primary factors: zoning and lot size. The ordinance effectively redefines current size limitations with stricter language that targets large homes.

Using a 5,000-square-foot lot as an example, Weisman said the proposed regulations would limit home size to 2,500 square feet. A 20% size bonus could be allowed if a house met certain design criteria.

Remember, the neighborhood character issue is what drove Janet O’Dea and her neighbors in Mission Hills to push for historic designation in their San Diego neighborhood.

Whose perspective do you more agree with? The residents and the Planning Commission decrying the mansion-ization of the neighborhood? Or Friedman’s split-the-neighborhood-in-two suggestion?

I’d love to hear (and maybe post) what you think about this. Click my name below to send me your thoughts.

KELLY BENNETT

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