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Burbank McMansion Backlash: Put a six bedroom, five bath, mansion, next to a 1940's three bed, one bath. Sound a little mismatched?
A group of Burbank residents think so, and they're urging Burbank officials to regulate "McMansions" from defacing the character of their neighborhoods.
Resident Billie Jo Walsh says, "when we moved here in 1994 it was a very small little community, small homes, mostly one story."
Her dutch colonial home has been carefully remodeled to stay in line with the character of the neighborhood.
Right across the street from her, a historic house was demolished, oak trees were uprooted, all to make way for three huge six bedroom mansions, two sit empty for months at a time and are up for rent.
Walsh says, "for us, having two big huge hotel type homes on a block across the street from us with renters coming and going all the time it just a little bit weird."
That's one reason why a group of residents formed Preserve Burbank, to push Burbank city officials to come up with tougher regulations to prevent the so-called mansionization of the neighborhood.
So more modest homes, aren't dwarfed by multi story houses built from lot line to lot line.
Greg Rehner of Preserve Burbank says, "what we're looking for is a more contextual approach to building, we're not looking to say we don't want people to be able to create their dream home but what we are asking them to do is to is to be smarter about their renovations, be smarter about how they want to build new construction, in a neighborhood that has already had an established design built over the last century."
Mansionization is not only an issue in Burbank, LA city started tackling in 2008 and so far officials say the regulations are working, for example the wedding cake approach staggers the floors in multi level structures to avoid a big box look to a neighborhood, and to keep open lines of sight for other homes.
LA City Planner, Michael Logrande, says, "the way we looked at it is not a once size fits all but catered to each neighborhood and their own individual themes like some areas have bigger lots that can support bigger homes other areas have historic context they want to preserve"
Right now Burbank officials are surveying residents to figure out what guidelines would best work for their community. The survey will run through the end of the year. Then the process begins to establish how they want to define the character of their neighborhoods, eventually those guidelines will be sent to the city council for a vote.
(Mod: Preserve Burbank, along with the City of Burbank, conducted something called a "Visual Preference Survey." The results are quite interesting, and can be found here. It would be interesting if something similar was conducted here in Sierra Madre. I am sure residents would enjoy participating. Below is are two examples of the kinds of results they got in Burbank.)