City Council Approves Temporary Halt on Mansionization

La Brea - Hancock mansionization
ICO will prevent construction of homes like the one on the right in La Brea Hancock neighborhood

La Brea Hancock and Larchmont Heights preservationists, and others across the city, won a major victory Wednesday when the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in favor of the Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) that would establish temporary regulations that  limit the size of new single-family dwellings in their neighborhoods.

Many months in the making, the ICO will protect over 15 neighborhoods including Valley Village, South Hollywood, La Brea Hancock Neighborhood, The Oaks of Los Feliz, Miracle Mile, Larchmont Heights, Lower Council District Five, Beverlywood, Inner Council District Five, Fairfax Area, Bel Air, Faircrest Heights Neighborhood, Kentwood, Mar Vista/East Venice, and Old Granada Hills. The areas covered are included in City Council Districts 2, 4, 5 11 and 12.

“We did it!” proclaimed Barbara Savage, President,  La Brea Hancock Homeowners Association who led the effort to protect her 296-home neighborhood where 17 houses had already been torn down and another 17 are vacant and owned by developers. “By restricting the size of new homes, La Brea Hancock is restricting developers and attracting more homeowners who want to stay in the neighborhood.”

La Brea - Hancock Neighborhood
Another large home going up in the La Brea – Hancock neighborhood.

The current Baseline Mansionization Ordinance gave bonuses for attached garages and two-story entries that result in big box homes dwarfing smaller older homes. The ICO removes those bonuses and restricts the building to 50% of the lot. Currently, new structures can build up to 70% of the lot, explained Savage.

“I got involved because I care; I didn’t want our neighborhood to be ruined and become a transient flipper neighborhood,” said Savage. “Our goal is to attract homeowners who want to have a stake in the neighborhood.”

Savage and her fellow neighbors will continue to monitor the Department of City Planning process known as ReCode to develop new residential construction codes including revising the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance over the next 20-24 months.

ICO will take affect once Mayor Eric Garcetti signs it, which could take as long as 45 days but since the vote was unanimous, Savage hopes it will get done sooner.

In addition, the city council approved a temporary moratorium on the issuance of building and demolition permits within the following proposed Historic Preservation Overlay Zones: Sunset Square, Carthay Square, Holmby-Westwood, Oxford Square, and El Sereno-Berkshire Craftsman District.

Larchmont Buzz: Mansionization in Larchmont and La Brea-Hancock May be Deterred

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About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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