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Studio City Gets New Rules to Prevent Giant, Ugly Mansions

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The LA City Council has approved an ordinance that allows Studio City to keep McMansions in check, beyond what the city's existing Baseline Mansionization Ordinance already does, reports the LA Daily News. The ordinance, which creates a Residential Floor Area Supplemental Use District for the area, passed through committee back in October--in effect, the new RFA limits the floor area ratios (the ratio of the house to its lot) for nearly 4,000 houses in this particular fancy corner of the Valley. The Studio City RFA is made possible by a provision in the citywide BMO, approved in 2008, that allows neighborhoods to expand the citywide regulations. The ordinance approved by the City Council has more exceptions to allow for larger FARs than earlier drafts. Here is how the City Attorney describes those exceptions: "The rewritten ordinance increases the number of available Bonus Options to nine...including the imposition of the following restrictions on a proposed building project: smaller stories above the first floor, step backs from the front yard, compliance with LEED green building standards, improved energy efficiency standards, inclusion of details such as windows to avoid plain walls, additional side yard setbacks, reduced height of buildings, higher pitched roofs, and restrictions on the placement of garages." Under the new RFA in Studio City, most properties will be limited to a maximum FAR of .40, but the exceptions allow for a FAR of up to .53.

Mayor Villaraigosa still has to sign the ordinance, and according to aides, he is still "studying" it. The mayor has until February 21 to make his decision.

Not for nothing, but large houses have been in the news lately. The Metropolitan Research Center released a study a few days ago finding that the country has 40 million more houses than demand requires, and the Sustainable Cities Collective recently published an article citing declining home sizes as evidence of the end of the McMansion era in the United States.
· Council OKs neighborhood plan to restrict McMansions in Studio City [Daily News]
· Studio City Taking Anti-Mansionization A Step Further [Curbed LA]
· Studio City Residential Floor Area (RFA) / Supplemental Use District [Council File: 08-2332]