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LA Skirting Rules to Allow 50-Foot-Tall Megamansion in Bel Air

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Your neighbors want to build a 20,000-square-foot mansion on their property? No problem. Wait, it's going to be 14 feet taller than hillside development limits would normally dictate? Hell no! Bel Air is filled with gaudy, sprawling megamansions, yet the residents are adamant that the sprawl be kept horizontal. According to the LA Times, neighbors are upset because some builders are getting around an ordinance passed three years ago to limit the height of new development, most recently in the instance of a proposed 50-foot-high estate at 10550 Bellagio Rd., which one neighbor claims will give "a canyon-like, almost urban feel" to the posh hillside 'hood. (Normally the city would cap buildings here at 36 feet.) Developers M & A Gabaee asked the city to ok the project, and the city did.

Unsatisfied with the city's decision, a Bel Air resident appealed to the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission, which turned down the project's height. No matter: the City Council voted yesterday to allow the house be built. "The bottom line is, it's not an easy property," says Councilmember Paul Koretz, who brought the motion. "[W]e don't want to be unreasonable by holding to the exact letter of the requirements — as opposed to using some common sense." (Yes, it is total common sense to need a 50-foot-tall mansion.) They're silly, but the Bel Aireans have a point: why make rules just to skirt them?
· L.A. City Council takes heat over building exemption in Bel-Air [LAT]
· LA Passes Ordinance to Keep Oversized McMansions Out of the Hills [Curbed LA]