News Brief

Los Angeles Limits "Mansionization"

In what may be a sign of backlash against the decades-long trend toward larger houses, the Los Angeles city council unanimously passed an ordinance in May 2008 limiting the footprints of new and renovated houses in many neighborhoods—affecting about 304,000 lots—to about half their lot size.

The Neighborhood Character Ordinance, commonly known as the “mansionization ordinance,” also limits the size of garages to 400 ft2 (37 m2), which can hold two cars. The law is intended to halt the construction of out-of-scale houses in older neighborhoods and the loss of privacy that results from residences being built up to property lines, but also has environmental benefits, such as limiting the growth of hardscape.

While some homeowners, builders, and real-estate professionals predictably opposed the measure, other critics say it isn’t tough enough. In fact, the City’s planning department says 70% of houses built in recent years would not have been affected had the rules been in place, and many houses could still be doubled in size.

Published June 27, 2008

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.