Thursday, November 5, 2015

McMansion Mad Arcadia Home Sales/Prices In A Tailspin

McDoofus Housing
CoreLogic's "California Home Sale Activity by City" chart is now confirming what we have been saying here all along. Mansionization in Arcadia has pretty much thrown home prices into a tailspin, one that shows no signs of ending soon. For all the obvious McReasons.

Unlike Sierra Madre, where shutting down any opportunities for mansionization has led to a powerful resurgence in home equity values and sales, out of town developers and similarly retrograde elements are doing everything they can to stop any similar reforms in Arcadia considered necessary for salvaging property values there.

Here are some of the current unfavorable real estates comparisons:


On Tuesday evening the Arcadia City Council attempted to consider a moratorium that would help to correct the conditions driving the real estate slump there. Unfortunately, the councilmembers pawned by the big developers, Sho "The Man with the Miss America Smile" Tay and Jolly Roger Chandler, stood in the way. Here is how a correspondent from Saving Arcadia described this unfortunate situation:

Last night about 100 people attended the study session on moratoriums. These people were realtors, developers and contractors. Approximately 20 of them spoke against a moratorium. They didn’t state that they were realtors, developers or contractors. Those that don’t live in Arcadia, failed to mention that fact.

Luckily we now have 3 City Councilmen who saw through it. Mayor Kovacic, Councilmember Beck and Segal were in favor of a moratorium in exchange for a suspension of the ballot initiative. It was a peace offering to allow the focus to be redirected from signature collecting to consensus building with the “Citizens Committee.” It was a good idea but it takes 4 votes to adopt a moratorium and Councilmembers Tay and Chandler refused to consider those terms.

It looks like the moratorium initiative will just have to go on the ballot after all. When that does happen, and the voters then approve it, Chandler and Tay will end up looking like two of the biggest fools ever.

The Pasadena Star News picked up on this story yesterday and filed the following report:

Arcadia lacks votes to adopt temporary residential development moratorium - The City Council will not consider a temporary moratorium on any stage of residential development because they don’t have enough votes to pass the proposed ordinance, officials said.

Four votes are required to adopt an urgency ordinance, and Councilmen Roger Chandler and Sho Tay indicated during a study session on Tuesday that they would not vote in favor of a moratorium so officials decided not to place it on a future agenda for consideration.

Recently appointed Councilman Mickey Segal suggested the city consider a temporary moratorium on demolition permits at an Oct. 20 City Council meeting, which was supported by Mayor Gary Kovacic and Councilman Tom Beck.

A moratorium would have initially been in place for 45 days, with an option to extend it, while the city updates its residential and commercial development standards and conducts a historic preservation study.

A staff report prepared for the study session indicates that there are 226 homes in the “pipeline” that could have been affected by a moratorium, all in various stages of review. Of these, there are eight homes that have been granted demolition permits and 23 homes that have been issued building permits, but not yet issued demolition permits.

You can link to that entire article by clicking here.

Good luck selling your homes, Arcadia. Apparently you aren't quite as house rich as certain invested individuals have told you. And that smoke you have been smelling lately? It could be from all the fire sales it takes to move those things.

Sho Tay Comments On WeChat

Arcadia City Councilman Sho Tay, who apparently never leaves home without first putting on his happy socks, has been talking up a storm on WeChat lately. The topic is those garish McMansions his friends in the development community favor, and how some people have allowed their emotions to get in the way of reason on this topic. Or at least that is Sho Tay's somewhat cloying interpretation. 

Here is a screenshot of some of that action.


For those of you who are not fluent Mandarin speakers, we have obtained the following translation.

Tay: Tue 11/3 5pm, city council is discussing whether to pause the zoning issue. This is related to property value.  If you have an opinion, you have to raise it . If not raised, that's equal to no opinion. City council won't guess.  If other's opinion is opposite to yours, it would be pretty bad.

Mei: We are pro-development. We bought a small, old house with our life-time savings, compared to other new houses, it's 100 years behind. From fire prevention to air conditioning, it's full of problems. If we want to rebuild, someone can say "no". Those living in new houses would never know the suffering of living in old houses.  Please support us, Mr. Councilman, to develop!

Tay:  There are 5 members on the council, the other 4 have not heard your voice.  I cannot relay the message because of regulations.  If you can go to speak tomorrow at 5pm, the other 4 can hear you. Thanks.

Grace:  If your house is destroyed by fire or earthquake and you need to rebuild, if referendum is passed, then your new house will be smaller, maybe 40% smaller.  Really a joke.

Guy with painting iconThis is a strange question.  To stop development or tear down is a very important issue.  Wouldn't it be necessary to have a committee to study before any decision? At least to start from the current development rate, vacancy rate, property value trend, etc.  Shouldn't you analyze various factors and have an evaluation by a professional before any decision.

Tay:  Yes, I agree, but too many are nice about "too much development" and "too big houses".  Some councilmen cannot stand the noise and ask for a pause. 

Tay:  Because of this, I am being scolded, yelled at.

Guy: Tough job man!  Guess they can only make some noise.

Couple icon:  Officials in Taiwan are being scolded all the time.

Tay: They also threaten to recall me.

We will have more on all of the current excitement in Arcadia soon.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

79 comments:

  1. If the pressure is too much for Councilman Tay, he could resign like John Wuo did earlier! Think of all the time it's free up so Tay can WeChat.

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  2. Tay and Chandler used to say they're doing what they do for home values. So I guess they want prices there to go down?

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  3. That is a rather ungainly structure.

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    1. Arcadia is filled with those butt ugly things. It's why property values are cratering.

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    2. The myth is these McMansions raised property values in Arcadia. The reality is this was all fueled by a massive influx of Asian money. Money that is now drying up, leaving dozens of empty McMansions beached there like dead whales.

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  4. Depending on what side of the fence you stand on the view will be different. Some people don't care what there neighbors think. This is the me generation at work, or IGM.

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    1. There should be laws against houses like that McMansion.Just like there are laws against mooning.

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  5. I didn't know you can't moon.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

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  6. Ah the old lies - the threat that you can't rebuild to the same footprint in case of a disaster, the threat that living in an old house is a terrible thing, the coy "We spent our life savings" buying a shack, and now we want to spend 4 times that much building our own castle, poor us!

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  7. The McMansioning was a code word used for it's a Ponzi Scheme and lets take them who invest for a ride and pick their pockets clean or lets wash our ill gotten money from outside the USA in the real estate market.

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    1. Both GemCoins and Arcadia McMansion development were designed for the same purpose. To relieve newly arrived Asian immigrants of a lot of their money.

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    2. Apparently Arcadia is backed by a guano mine.

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    3. USA Real Estate is a great way to launder all the bribe money one's smuggled out of China...

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    4. This is why Arcadia prices have dropped. It's because the Chinese government have frozen many nationals from moving their money out of the country. No money, no buyers. Or maybe they all go somewhere else.

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  8. The guy that bought the old, fire hazard house with his life savings, now has the money to tear down and build?

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    1. His GemCoins investment paid off for him.

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    2. His plan is probably to get a construction loan, build a mansion, and sell it to some corrupt Chinese guy for $3M.

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    3. Not all Chinese are corrupt you moron.

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  9. I can drive around Singing Oaks and Highland Oaks and show you half a dozen or more empty Bungalows that are using gads of water to keep up the appearances that they are lived in: second homes for second family and some with for sale signs. No pity here.

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  10. Cities like Sierra Madre that RESTRICT massive over development are superior. .....We must always fight for this. Our quality of life and our property values are well worth our efforts.

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    1. If property values are the way of grading a community's success as Chandler and Tay suggest, then yes. Sierra Madre's way of doing its business is better. The numbers say that. The water might stink, and the sidewalks are crumbling, but people would still rather buy here than in the Peacock City Of Tombs.

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    2. Unmitigated development like we saw in Arcadia eventually collapses housing prices in that community. At first, people say this is great, that big McMansion is raising our property values. But what eventually happens is that no one can be safe in the home they are buying. You pay alot of money for your views, privacy, the natural light coming in and then suddenly, the house next door goes on the market, gets bought, torn down and replaced by an oversized home that invades your privacy, blocks your view and eliminated any natural light from coming in on one whole side of your house. That's the problem. In those communities that have safeguards in place to prevent developers and even your own neighbor from screwing you over, you can peacefully enjoy the home that you bought that has the attributes you paid for. not alwys be vulnerable. There is value in that and that's why Sierra Madre values continue to go up and why Arcadia values are stating to implode.

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    3. That's right 8:30. People need to feel secure in their home and not constantly feel that they may lose everything they currently enjoy once their immediate neighbor puts their home up for sale. Everyone will be hesitant to buy a home in a city that doesn't have any rules or protections for existing neighbors.

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    4. Get LA Sheriff into Sierra Madre with lower UUT taxes and a smaller city budget and the Real Estate will continue to climb.

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    5. I agree. A financially well-run and solvent city benefits all, and in many different ways.

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  11. Mr. Tay ought to come to the Planning Commission meeting tonight and observe how rules are implemented that allow for development of large houses on large lots, but put neighborhood protection first.
    It works.

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    1. That would be constructive. Unfortunately Mr. Tay prefers to whine on WeChat.

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    2. Sho Tay might mistake the Kensington for an Arcadia McMansion.

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  12. The developers and realtors are mobilizing. The battle is just getting started. Thanks to the Tattler, Arcadians will have some way to see through all the muck the developers throw at them.

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    1. They call me Clint EastwoodNovember 5, 2015 at 9:38 AM

      Get off my lawn!

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    2. Said Clint to Bruce Inman.

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    3. So right, David N. There will be lots and lots of fights every step of the way.
      Slow growth victories require enormous perseverance.

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    4. Thing to remember is the developers are getting paid. Those resisting them are volunteers who usually work away from town. That is an advantage for them.

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  13. Zillion shows Sierra Made home prices down in the past few months. Why is that?

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    1. Do you have a cite from "Zillion?"

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  14. I would like to suggest that you upgrade kitchens and bathrooms softly, in keeping with the age of the home, not end up with the Tuba solo in the string quartet. What materials would have been used that were high end but not make it look like ...oh yeah, remodeled in 2015! Too many of these are bungled up, HomeDepoed! When I was looking for a house here in the 1970's you could pin point the remodeled date based on the latest "show" in Better Homes and Gardens, etc. I remember later on a favorite hometown realtor (yes we have more than one) saying she was sick and tired of granet. My mid-century cabin in the canyon has better grade but same as what was available in the 1950's when it was built. I wanted the changes to blend not clash. It took extra time and money to accomplish that. On Arbolada there is a home built new next to one that is 35 years old, original to the development. From the outside the new one looks like the older one but inside you would think you were on a cruise ship. Gag!

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  15. i dont think arcadia prices are tanking I thing you are drawing conclusions that can't be supported

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    1. You disagree with CoreLogic's numbers? They are in line with Zillow's numbers as well. A lot of people prefer traditional communities over those with too many McMansions. Those numbers should not be a surprise to you.

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    2. In 2013, the average Arcadia house sold within 30 days. Now it takes 131 days and inventory is at all time highs.

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  16. But having said that they could not keep going up the way they have for the last few years and a slight decrease is due

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    1. A 15% decline is not slight.

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    2. It's a tailspin. A 15% decline in the stock market would be a crash.

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  17. Arcadians have known for quite a while who the real demons are. Roger Chandler and Sho Tay will have limited tenures as councilman until their next election or until they implode like their buddy John Wuo. Stay vigilant Arcadians. The more they talk and stir up trouble they more we know they are scared. Take control of our city Arcadia, vote to change the zoning code next April.

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  18. Who is that sidekick of Tay's?--He's kind of assertive and can be seen hanging around at his meetings lately.

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    1. David Lui. He's a volunteer at the Arcadia PD. He's been on WeChat with Sho. I don't think he works.

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    2. Is this David Lui person really is an Arcadia PD volunteer, wonder if his involvement in all of Tay's community meetings and WeChat website is perceived by the people as an authority figure or endorsement of the Arcadia PD?

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    3. He's Sho Tays personal body guard.

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  19. Why does Arcadia City Council let REALTORS, DEVELOPERS and ARCHITECTS come to these meetings? Most of them don't even live in Arcadia!

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  20. Wake up, Arcadia! The developers own your city. They control the information that is being given to the realtors who are carrying that message to everyone they have ever come into contact with. It's a web of misinformation. They tell people their home values will plummet if the ballot initiative is passed, but what they don't tell them is there is no proof of it happening in any other city that has adopted a FAR. The realtors fail to tell people, property values are spiraling downward because of the mass exodus the current development is causing.

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  21. Planning Commission should be on now. Let's see if our protections do what we hope they do, and people who want to build big can, on the right sized lot.

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  22. The commission has rearranged the agenda, so the 4,000+ foot house is second.

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  23. As a resident of Arcadia, and growing up here, I'm disgusted with what I'm seeing here. I've been involved with 2 major efforts to curb mansionization, once in 2004 and now. So many outsiders incorrectly assume that most Arcadia residents have sat idle while the demolition frenzy or simply don't care. While some have, the real problem has been the 3 to 2 dynamic and recycling of certain city council members. Developers and prominent Realtors funded campaigns for Harbicht, Chandler, and Wuo, so is it any surprise that they voted in favor of developers every time? The 2 good council members have always been voted down when trying to get anything done.

    Last night's community meeting clearly illustrated how misinformed many residents are. Most cities use FAR (Floor Area Ratio, which includes second story mass) to determine appropriate home sizes based on lots. typically ranging from 20-40% based on lot size. Arcadia has some examples that are 50-65% FAR, but because the city doesn't use FAR as a measurement, the second story mass is never factored. Instead, Arcadia uses lot coverage. On paper, 35% lot coverage APPEARS fine then you add a second story, you get nearly double the size of any other local city. There was a mixed crowd last night, many of which have been convinced by developers and Realtors that limits on home size will kill their property values. Knowing several people in Arcadia who sold to developers for $200,000-$300,000 less than market value if they'd listed, I can tell you the developer scare is a complete lie. Another myth circulating was that mansionization is the driving force behind Arcadia's well maintained, high performing schools. If that were true, San Marino and South Pasadena wouldn't be ranked in the same category. San Marino, while having large homes has maintained its character, it's property values, and it's overall prestige.

    The ballot initiative seems to be the most effective solution as it's the only option that can't be undone if a pro-development 3-2 council is voted for in 2016. Just as important as the ballot initiative is to vote to STOP Bob Harbicht (Pro-Development, anti-preservation of trees) from getting back on the Arcadia City Council in 2016. The are 2-3 people running for the 2 open seats that are for fixing the zoning code and they will need all the support they can get.

    The primary reason Sierra Madre hasn't faced what Arcadia has, is the Pasadena Unified School district. Those moving to the area for top notch schools will pick Arcadia, San Marino, Temple City or private schools. Now that common core is making its rounds, I'd imagine Sierra Madre combined with private high schools will be increasingly desirable. Seeing what I see now, I realize how sudden influxes of money can turn majority of a council against its people overnight. Residents in Sierra Madre have been successful in the fight so far, but if developers start funding council member campaigns, you're going to be at the will of 3-2 votes. I hope you can stop that before it happens.

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  24. 126 East Mira Monte Ave starting now.

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  25. Director Gonzalez on full basement/partial basement, and when things are counted as floor area or not.

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  26. Big boxy thing. But if it's legal, it's okay.

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  27. It does not negatively impact the neighbors. Ya sold me.

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  28. Hutt clarifying that we have to exclude all interior changes - it's not a part of the review. All Craftsman stuff gone, and nothing but IKEA inside, it will still be approved if the outside is legal.

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  29. Desai on discrepencies on measuring square footage. Good catches.

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    1. So the architect didn't know where to begin and end taking the measurements? That's worrying. Gross floor area is very, very important.

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  30. Hinton wants clarification on why the minor CUP ends up not being required regarding the crawl space.

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  31. Why don't we already have a definition for crawl space?

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    1. Just hasn't been a critical thing before.

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  32. The applicant.
    They currently live in a 1907 Craftsman on Montecito.
    Emotional signifigance to the town & they are mindful of that.
    The current owners reviewed all of the bad ideas the previous owners had tried to do.
    He just lost me - "We were not trying to build a huge house but we had to."

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    1. That was an unfortunate thing he said. Overall, he was ok. If he wants an ginormous house and the land can support it, oh well.

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  33. The architect is arguing to measure from the finished floor - but Desai is educating him that he has to measure from the existing grade. The architect is still arguing.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  34. Thank goodness for Desai!

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    1. He is great tonight - telling the applicant that the numbers are way out of whack.

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  35. They are going to have to modify their plans based on accurate measurements.

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  36. Gina catching the balcony off the bedroom - more square footage not counted.

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  37. I love our planning commissioners.

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  38. "Staff had a difficult time calculating the area."
    What?!?

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    1. Director Gonzalez suggested approval and he didn't do the math?

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    2. Looks like there was way too much confusion in measuring. Wouldn't ya think that would be the first thing an architect would do? Get the codes, get the rulers....

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    3. Not in Arcadia where everything goes.

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  39. Let's just be real here folks.
    1) Arcadia money really comes from the Chinese buyers, simple as that. Starting this year, the Chinese "president" started reigning in the ability to take money out of China and brought here (many times in nefarious ways). So when money coming in starts trickling (until they can game the system again), the real estate values aren't going to skyrocket like that had.

    2) Some Chinese think that the only option is to sell to a developer as a tear down. Talk about a frog in a well. Many amazing homes are sold that people move into, and that's what happens most of the time except to developers. So the owners are being hoodwinked into selling to the developer unless the "homeowner" decides to not maintain their house to that it's basically condemned.

    3) When was the damn last time a house was burned down in Arcadia? Only one that was even partially burned down in recent memory was from a pot grow house. And of course, rebuilding to the same size can easily be grandfathered in, like everything else is where code has changed.

    I've seen a bunch of lies, and a bunch of racists on both sides of the matter, but mostly, I've seen a lot of ignorant people, led by their noses to do their bidding. Learn the facts, and you'll realize why almost EVERY OTHER CITY has added a moratorium to McMansioning. Arcadia is one of the few cities that enjoy rolling around in the sewage of irresponsibility.

    City Council members must lead and learn, and not fear monger. Those 3 on the McMansion yes men list are doing a disservice to Arcadia and yet many people don't realize it.

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