San Marino Residents Worry About McMansionization

If you are thinking of trying to get a permit to add a second story to a home in San Marino - good luck! The City Council has voted 5-0 to impose a moratorium on the issuance of building permits, demolition permits or anything involving second story additions, according to City Manager John Schaefer. The 45 day action gives city officials time to deal with some of the anger of the McMansionization that has extended to the wealthy community south of Pasadena.

At issue is the purchase of older ranch style houses built on large lots, only to demolish the existing structures and try to build much larger homes that anger neighbors. "Why do I want a huge palace overlooking the home I've been in all my life" says one exasperated neighbor.

Mayor Eugene Sun would like to see more "consistent decisions" in the approval process. It's not like San Marino doesn't have houses with two stories, or large homes and mansions that rival Beverly Hills properties. But quite a chunk of the city is known for it's well landscaped, older homes that blend into existing neighborhoods, explains Schaefer.

The council will study the issue for the next 45 days, considering new standards having to do with appeal fees, neighborhood notifications and permits and come back with a more detailed ordinance at the next city council meeting.

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