New Limits on McMansions Bring Cheers, Jeers From Readers

Would you like to see this built next to your house?

Would you like to see this built next to your house?

Tuesday’s vote by the L.A. City Council to limit home sizes to 3,000 square feet on 5,000-square-foot flatland lots (a little larger on larger lots) was unanimous at 12 to 0.

But the responses by readers were more, shall we say, well rounded.

Are these restrictions a communist plot? Or necessary to preserve neighborhoods?

Some comments from L.A. Times readers:


“It’s all about restraining those whose selfishness exceeds their social conscience.” — Rocky JS

“The fact of the matter is that these grotesque homes are ugly and that in a few year’s time they will fall into disrepair and hasten the decline of the neighborhoods they infest.” — Ted Burke

“By the way, even 3,000 square feet is pretty darn large!” — Kirsten

“Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.” — Stever R.


“It’s a sad state of affairs when property rights are considered meaningless, and the government starts taking on the right to limit, regulate, and control every last stitch of our lives.” — Sad

“Excuse me!! Who paid for the land???” — Oscar Myer

“Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city of the richest nation on earth — and we’re suddenly limiting the size of new homes (teardowns) to 3000 sq ft? This is nuts!” — David in Los Angeles

“Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.” — David H

POLL: Complete the following sentence:

(Photo: Building Green TV)

10 Comments on New Limits on McMansions Bring Cheers, Jeers From Readers

  1. Ann

    Some ordinances are helpful, such as a house with 5+ bedrooms needs a 3 car garage so the street does not absorb the excess cars. It’s a disgrace when teardown/rebuilds diminish the character of 50 year old neighborhoods, affecting the neighboring home’s privacy, removing stately trees, and adding noise (outdoor speakers when the patio is up against the fence line). Cities should stimulate updates to the older neighborhoods by forgoing permit fees on items such as new roof, foundation repair, new windows, etc., or offering rebates on certain upgrades, but the character/tone of the neighborhood should remain. But, I like one big house better than a developer who puts 3 skinny townhouses on the lot. A fun book is House Lust by Daniel McGinn who explores McMansions and related topics.

  2. riley

    Less is more.
    One thing people aren’t taking into consideration here is the planet. Maybe we could consider using less space and reducing the amount of children we put on this planet and enjoy those who inhabit it already.
    Today, with all we know about global warming, it is soooo uncool to have lots of things. Reduce. Reuse.

  3. commetcollector

    To those who purport to support “property rights”: zoning and land use regulations have a long tradition in this country. Such regulations prevent a cement plant from opening next door to your house. In the past most people seemed to have a sense of what kind of house would be appropriate for a given neighborhood. It is sad that the City even has to do this, but with social conventions as frayed as they are today, it is necessary to step in and tell someone that no, you can’t build a 7,000 s.f. monster on a street of 1,600 s.f. ranchers. Matters of dubious taste and conspicuous consumption aside, it is just simply bad manners to block light and air and destroy the aesthetics of the existing neighborhood . A) such houses are not impressive and B) they just testify to their owners’ vulgarity, wastefulness and personal insecurity. Personally, if you really want a McMansion, there are plenty of new unsold ones filling the exurbs. Go there and leave old and interesting neighborhoods alone.

  4. P J Evans

    If a house is going to be much larger than its neighbors, the neighbors certainly should be able to block it.
    Zoning is the best way to do this.
    Why do people think they need a house with 5 or 10 thousand square feet, anyway?

  5. Jon

    If I buy in a neighborhood with protective covenants that limit the size, style etc. of houses, thats one thing, but for a government to attempt to control a citizens personal property rights without just compensation is not what the founding fathers had in mind. The problem is that the kids graduating from high school or college are taught to think that Socialism works, Capitalism bad. So now our communities are filled with Socialists because thats what is taught in school. This is all justified by calling it an environmental concern. They know better than you. jh

  6. John Krill

    Laguna Beach is trying to limit house size but I think money will rule in this small town.

  7. Another way to keep late-comers down, how selfish!

    This is just a way for the current generation of landowners to feel superior to later-comers. Not everybody is rich enough to own a parcel larger than 5,000 feet, which is apparently what it takes to build a large home. We’re effectively saying that unless you’re rich, you don’t get to live in a house big enough to hold an extended family. Sorry, you’re out of luck. All that hard work is for nothing. I’m a little disgusted at LA right now.

  8. michael

    this is no different from regulations regarding trash bin placement, lawn maintenance, and other quality-of-neighborhood issues. cities and neighborhoods have a right to define the character of development. big non-issue.

  9. GC

    It’s their land. If you don’t like what they are doing, buy them out or buy a covenant with them. What the L.A. City Council proposes is nothing more nor less than theft.

  10. Nancy R.

    Just take a drive through Arcadia, which put no controls on tear-downs and building size. You’ll see lovely, one story ranch style homes next to hideous giant-sized ostentatious faux Italian villas. The neighborhoods are ruined.