L.A. heeds pleas to slow spread of McMansions

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mcmansion1The city of L.A. is finally getting serious about McMansions – large houses built on small lots that are out of step with the traditional character of neighborhoods.

The City Council has slapped a temporary ban on the construction of McMansions in 20 upscale neighborhoods while it considers a broader response to the problem.

In five of those neighborhoods, the city also temporarily banned the issuance of demolition and building permits. They are Carthay Circle, Holmby-Westwood, Oxford Square, Sunset Square and El Sereno’s Craftsman District.

Neighborhoods where the size of single-family homes will be limited include Valley Village, Faircrest Heights, The Oaks of Los Feliz and parts of the Fairfax District, Mar Vista and Venice.mcmansion2

City planners are drafting new rules on McMansions that are expected to be released in about 18 months, before the current ordinance expires.

Proponents of the ban call the big houses civic eyesores that destroy the look and feel of their neighborhoods. They’ve been pushing for years to get the city to act. But not everyone is in favor of the new law. Builders and others say the rules are confusing, punish owners of smaller houses and will push down property values.

Similar debates are taking place in communities from Burbank and Arcadia to Santa Monica.