City News Service: L.A. Councilman David Ryu wants to stop mansionization in Sherman Oaks

Ryu, saying he is responding to calls by Sherman Oaks residents, told City News Service he plans to introduce a motion “to stop mansionization” once City Council returns from recess on July 28.


Ryu, who took office July 1, said he made a campaign pledge to Sherman Oaks residents, who have been complaining of an increasing number of mansion-like homes being built in their neighborhoods, which has traditionally been made up of average-sized homes.

(Ryu said his motion will ask for an “interim control ordinance” for Sherman Oaks, as well as push for a quicker pace on efforts to revise the baseline mansionization ordinance, which sets citywide rules aimed at limiting mansions on smaller lots.

Sherman Oaks was not included in a slate of 14 neighborhoods that got approval earlier this year for “interim control districts,” where rules that differ from the baseline mansionization ordinance are put in place to temporarily limit the size and features of homes that could be built.

“It’s really unfortunate they couldn’t get included the first time around,” Ryu said.

Sherman Oaks residents were not as active early on in seeking the limitations, so when the control districts were approved for the neighboring communities of Studio City and Valley Village, developers began targeting their neighborhood, John Isen of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association told City News Service this week.

Isen said he counted seven “McMansions” and two others under construction or about to be constructed on a street with 28 homes this week.

Efforts in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood have been ramping up in recent months, not only in the homeowners association, but also through the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council. A petition being circulated by a loose group of residents has gathered more than 500 signatures.

Ron Ziff, the neighborhood council’s first vice president, said recent committee meetings on the issue drew about 200 attendees, including one that had 250 people. Many of the residents spoke in support of an interim control ordinance, while a smaller number opposed the idea, Ziff said.

The neighborhood council on Monday adopted a resolution to urge city leaders, including Ryu, to set up an interim control ordinance for Sherman Oaks.

The neighborhood council’s proposal would impose restrictions and requirements for the entire Sherman Oaks area, which has about 65,000 people, making it the largest interim control district of its kind in Los Angeles, according Ziff.

Their proposed rules would still allow new homes to be built, but remove bonuses that currently allow builders to construct homes that are 20 percent bigger than what is allowed.

“I think it’s fair to everyone and it will preserve the character of the community and still allow all the homes to be replaced with new ones,” Ziff said.

Ryu said he is still weighing the specifics of the interim control district’s rules, and his aides said the geographic reach is also under consideration.

Ryu said his motion will also ask for a quicker pace on revisions to the baseline mansionization ordinance, which sets rules aimed at limiting large, mansion-like homes from being built on smaller sized lots.

Ryu said he has been meeting with the general manager of the Planning Department and “top deputies to see how we can get this done faster.”

The council recently also adopted Councilman Paul Koretz’s motion to revise the baseline mansionization ordinance, but city planning officials at the time said that process could take 18 months to two years.

Residents at the time, and now in Sherman Oaks, have said that timetable would mean the ordinance would be in place well after the damage has been done, when much of the neighborhood has been replaced with outsized homes.

(By Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou, City News Service)

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