Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For several years now, Los Angeles has been battling a scourge of large homes built on small lots -- otherwise known as mansionization. A 2008 ordinance passed by the city was meant to curb the problem, but some of the residents of nearby Studio City felt it didn’t go far enough. They pushed for an even stricter ordinance of their own, and instead, ignited a firestorm of opposition. In October, that long-running debate came to an end, thanks to one man: L.A. Councilman Paul Krekorian.
When Krekorian came to office in 2010, he inherited the contentious issue. The Residential Floor Area Supplemental Use District, as the Studio City ordinance was known, initially limited home sizes to 40 percent of the existing lot, among other requirements. Several homeowners and developers were angry because, they claimed, the proposed law was too stringent and infringed on their property rights. Instead of staking out a position, Krekorian met with hundreds of residents to figure out how to reconcile aesthetic, privacy and environmental concerns. Krekorian crafted a compromise: Home sizes were limited to a third of the existing lot. But a home can be built larger -- up to 53 percent of the lot -- if it meets certain incentives, like being LEED Gold certified. The compromise was supported by both sides, and passed by the City Council overwhelmingly.
“The sure sign that we have, I think, achieved a sustainable and correct policy is that the vast majority of the community is supportive of this effort, even if no one is probably 100 percent satisfied with it,” Krekorian says.
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