‘Mansionization’ ordinance goes before City Council

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council could direct its planning staff to craft an ordinance that would limit developers and homebuilders from constructing homes that appear oversized compared to neighboring properties.

A number of cities have taken action against “mansionization,” which occurs when a developer tears down a modest-sized home and then builds another in its place that is much larger in scope and scale when compared to the existing neighborhood.

Critics of the practice say that the oversized homes have altered and damaged the character of the existing community, as well as the reduction of open areas for landscaping, a lack of privacy, diminished natural light, domineering visual presence of the structure and loss of neighborhood cohesion, according to the staff report.

The council will review a number of codes and practices that other cities have implemented to regulate such developments. Solana Beach and Los Angeles are two cities with comprehensive mansionization ordinances that the staff report uses as a point of reference and comparison.

Encinitas adopted regulations through the so-called community character implementation program in 2003, which was aimed at preserving the character of the city’s distinct neighborhoods by encouraging development that respected the surrounding community and physical characteristics of the individual site.

But critics have complained that the city’s regulations don’t go far enough, and don’t address the issue of building mass and bulk.

The mansionization discussion is one of several development-related topics the council will address at Wednesday’s meeting. The council is also scheduled to rescind its July 16, 2014 vote on changes to how it interpreted the state’s density bonus regulations, and will vote on a new density bonus ordinance.

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