Last Thursday, the city hosted a community meeting to address the issue of mansionization and the development standards for single-family homes. The trend of mansionization, or the practice of building or modifying a home in a manner that outsizes the surrounding neighborhood, has garnered resident concerns in recent years. In response, the city imposed a moratorium in October 2015 that prohibited second story additions or the complete demolition of single-family homes.
With the moratorium set to expire later this year, the city’s planning division is working on revisions to the zoning code that would curtail the trend of mansionization in single-family neighborhoods. “The number one resident concern is the loss of community character,” notes Nicholas Bezanson, Assistant Planner for the city. “When a new home goes up that dwarfs the surrounding houses, residents feel that the additions are out of scale with the neighborhood.”
While mansionized structures often dwarf their neighbors, they also present privacy and sightline concerns for residents. With new development standards now in the works, the city hopes to create new guidelines that would ensure thoughtful design in a manner that still fosters development. “We want to ensure that anything that is allowed to be built is designed well. We want to be able to preserve the neighborhood’s context concerning size, scale and aesthetics in a way that minimally impacts development,” Bezanson notes.
To incorporate these goals, the planning division has proposed a tiered review process that will involve input from the design review commission, the city architect or from city staff depending on the scope of the project. In addition, the city is also evaluating stronger development standards which would include new requirements on interior spaces, new height requirements for single-story structures, and new regulations on entryways, garages and accessory structures.
Following last week’s community meeting, city staff will continue to field comments at a joint meeting with the design review commission on August 14 at City Hall. Staff will then make a recommendation to the planning commission on September 11, with the City Council formally acting on the proposed changes on October 3.
You may view the staff presentation from the community meeting alongside some presentation materials by clicking here and here. For additional information about the single-family moratorium / mansionization, please contact Nicholas Bezanson, Assistant Planner at 626.308.2806 ext. 4626 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.