Residents and city join forces to tackle Mansionization

| June 2, 2016 | 0 Comments
No More McMansions signs

MEETINGS this month take place June 4 and June 11 in Larchmont Heights and La Brea-Hancock. Above, sign from

Want to know more about new zoning concepts and what they might mean for your neighborhood? Want to tell the city what you think?

The City Planning Dept. is hosting a series of community meetings for areas protected with Interim Control Ordinances (limiting development) — including Larchmont Heights and La Brea-Hancock — to discuss issues confronting single-family neighborhoods, such as McMansions. And, what residents can do about them.

The goal of the city’s Neighborhood Conservation Initiative is to find solutions where houses are being built out-of-scale with their neighborhoods throughout the city.

An open house for La Brea-Hancock is Sat., June 4. Larchmont Heights meets on Sat., June 11. Both meetings are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Will & Ariel Durant Branch Library, 7140 W. Sunset Blvd.

Manhattan west?

A grass-roots effort has taken hold with residents working to keep the city from becoming like Manhattan, where only the “uber wealthy” can afford to live, says Bob Eisele, vice president of the La Brea-Hancock Homeowners Association. “If you build nothing but $2 to $3 million homes” the middle class has to move out of town, like in Paris, another city that has become unaffordable for the average citizen, he notes.

“McMansions are only great for the McMansions. They are not great for the home next door to them,” Eisele said. Developers building huge homes with 20-foot ceilings that on average 2-3 people inhabit is not solving the city’s housing issue. “It’s ludicrous,” he said. There is hope in the democratic process, he adds. “I believe we will prevail.”

His neighborhood is among the first the city is looking at as part of its grandiose effort to “re:code LA;” the years-long task is aimed to rewrite the decades-old Zoning Code and create single-family zones that are fine-tuned to their areas and conserve historic neighborhoods.

Areas with ICOs are first on the city’s list. The moratorium is in effect through March 2017, pending adoption of an amended Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO).


The BMO is aimed at preventing construction of houses larger than 50 percent of a lot and out of scale to the neighborhood. Originally adopted by the city in 2008, several loopholes allowed “McMansions” to continue being built. Written comments are due by June 10 to be considered for a staff report to the City Planning Commission. Send comments to

The Planning Commission is set to consider the draft BMO Thurs., July 14.
After that, the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee will consider the ordinance before it reaches the City Council.


What about pending Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZ), like in Miracle Mile? Will the ICOs protect those neighborhoods too?

“Yes,” says Ken Bernstein, manager, Office of Historic Resources and principal city planner, Policy Planning Department of City Planning.

Planning Department staff are meeting with 14 neighborhoods that were included in the neighborhood conservation ICOs. “There are six additional neighborhoods (including Miracle Mile) for which we’re pursuing HPOZs,” said Bernstein. “Both ICOs [for the BMO and for HPOZ requests] expire in March 2017, so the goal is to get the new zones or new HPOZs adopted and into effect before then,” he said.

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