Nah, it’s too much house
And meets the same battle as Greenwich. Difference, if there’s any, is that LA lots are tiny (5,000) square feet, so houses are limited to as little as 1,200-1,400 sq. feet, total.
Those opposed to larger houses call the proposed homes “mansions”, but even in the land of exaggeration, a 1,800 sq. ft. home seems a little cramped to be considered a mansion. Nonetheless, advocates are calling for still stricter restrictions.
In his Westside neighborhood and in Studio City in the Valley, where frustration has simmered over such buildings, homeowners successfully campaigned to impose tighter restrictions on home size. Some argue that similar restrictions should be adopted citywide.
That alarms some builders, architects and homeowners. “What happened in Beverly Grove was basically a death sentence to development and real estate in the area,” said Eran Gispan, a designer with N.E. Designs Inc. Similar restrictions citywide would “kill the market completely,” he said.
Architect Daniel Bibawi said that since the tighter Beverly Grove building limits were approved last year, his firm hasn’t had any projects in the area. The families that hire him typically want at least five bedrooms to accommodate two children, a master bedroom, a guest room and an office, he said. “It’s become a real bear to deal with, from the design point of view,” he said. “People hire you to build what they want. But then you have to tell them — they can’t have what they want.”
In the Mid-City neighborhood of Faircrest Heights, homeowners are going door to door with petitions against “super-sized homes.” Kathleen Clark and Beth Marlis point to a neighboring Pickford Street house, now undergoing a renovation that roughly doubles its size, which they say blocks their sunset views. The two trucked in grown trees to try to preserve the privacy of their yard. “They said, ‘It’s going to be green, it’s going to make your house worth more … it’s going to make your neighborhood better,'” Marlis said. “Far from it.”
Under the basic provisions of the anti-mansionization ordinance, the Pickford Street home would be limited to a residential floor area of 1,450 square feet. Owner Jerome Hunter said he was able to increase the approved area to 1,885 square feet [only the LA Times could consider this a “roughly doubling in size” – Ed] by incorporating green construction techniques and technologies, including LED lights and an efficient air conditioner. “It’s not like I’m building a mansion,” Hunter said. If the rules were any tighter, “It wouldn’t be worth living here. I’d rent it out.
The tensions also reflect clashing expectations of Los Angeles living.
For decades there was “kind of a consensus about what a Southern California house should look like” — low, rambling and open to the landscape, cultural historian D.J. Waldie said. That philosophy, along with requirements imposed by builders, gave rise to uniform neighborhoods lined with homes of similar sizes and styles, Waldie said.
But in a growing city with scant undeveloped land and changing tastes, some Angelenos see things differently. They look at older neighborhoods and think, “‘this is where the good life is lived,'” Waldie said. “‘But I don’t want to live in a 1,300-square-foot house.'”
The builder behind the home, Amnon Edri, said that as long as his project meets requirements, it shouldn’t be a problem.
“If the city code allows it, and you want a bigger house, you have the right to a bigger house,” he said. “This is America. It’s a free country.”
Hasn’t been that for a long time, Amnon – you were misinformed. On the other hand, in developments carved into 5,000 sq. ft. lots, those looking for larger homes might consider moving elsewhere. The effort to build a modern-sized home on one of those lots seems suspiciously like trying to fit five pounds of crap into a 2-lb sack.