LA’s New Temporary Mansionization Law

September 14th, 2015 by

What you need to know about the Mansionization Ordinance

If you want to buy a home, tear down an existing property, or intend to remodel in the near future, the new ordinance may affect your plans. Most of the rules limit the size of your home according to lot dimensions, something to keep in mind.

Right now, there are temporary ICOs (interim control ordinances) on the books for these 15 LA communities under the umbrella of the Neighborhood Conservation Interim Control Ordinance: Mar Vista and East Venice, Faircrest Heights, Kentwood, Bel Air, Beverlywood, Fairfax, Old Granada Hills, Larchmont Heights, Miracle Mile, La Brea Hancock, Inner and Lower Council District 5, South Hollywood, the Oaks of Los Feliz, and Valley Village. Temporary would be the operative word because the ICOs won’t last forever. They will apply for a maximum of 2 years or until city officials pass a permanent regulatory solution for single family homes.

Each ICO contains neighborhood-specific regulations, which means you need to read the right rules for your area before you start building. Another 5 communities (Sunset Square, Carthay Square, Holmby/Westwood, Oxford Square, and El Sereno-Berkshire Craftsman Distrcit) are being considered for status as Historic Preservation Overlay Zones. The current ordinance essentially creates a moratorium on building and demolition permits in those areas. That means you might have to put your Holmby Hills construction project on hold for the time being. Talk to your Agent and contractor as soon as possible to avoid unwanted setbacks.

You may be able to move forward with remodeling or tear down in the other 15 communities provided you abide by your area’s particular restrictions. For example, the Bel Air ordinance stipulates that you’re only allowed to import or export 6,000 cubic yards of soil. Going green will no longer give you additional square footage in Mar Vista or East Venice. You might have to make some concessions, but at least you’ll be able to build your dream house in your preferred Westside community.

Make your voice heard

The ordinance is only temporary, so you can still participate in this ongoing policy debate. We strongly encourage you to attend local activist group meetings in your community, and discuss your concerns about your property and home values. Listen to your neighbors because you may be able to clear up misconceptions or misunderstandings about your intentions. As you talk, you’ll probably find some common ground. Even if you disagree politically, you’ll at least know where you stand with the people around you. If you find your neighborhood groups unsupportive to your position, start your own organization of like-minded homeowners.

The City Council unanimously approved these regulations, so if you want to open up further dialogue, you’ll need to contact your representative. You’re free to address the entire legislature, although individual Councilmembers are typically far more responsive to their actual constituents. Councilman Paul Kortez of the 5th District proposed the legislation, and will be heavily involved in drafting future regulations. Since Kortez is taking the lead on this issue, it may be beneficial to contact him directly. If you happen to live in District 4, be sure to vote in the upcoming election on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015. Research candidates David Ryu and Carolyn Ramsay’s positions, and attend campaign rallies to share your opinion. Not sure who to contact? Find your district on the LA City Council directory website, and call, email, or visit your council member’s office.

You will likely communicate with administrative staff—don’t get frustrated because these employees are hired in part to help legislators gauge public opinion. That means they often record positive and negative feedback for records without following up. In other words, an unanswered email wasn’t necessarily ignored.

We hope you exercise your influence in your community. Your efforts will impact the future of development on the Westside and beyond. Do you have questions about the new Mansionization ordinance? Ask our real estate experts in the comments below!