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Planning Commission Votes To Close Loopholes That Allow Big Mansions

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The L.A. City Planning Commission voted Thursday to close some of the so-called loopholes that allow big mansions to be built on small lots. Though the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance has been in effect since 2008, activists had been complaining that the loopholes were still allowing developers to get away with massive, boxy homes, the L.A. Times reports. The City Council still has to approve the proposed changes before they will go into effect. Possible changes include ditching a 20 percent increase in square footage for builders who agree to go green, smaller square footage for homes being built in residential neighborhoods, decreasing the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from 50 percent to 45 percent of the lot size, and now counting covered porches and patios as part of the home's total size.

Activists continue to push for attached garages to also count towards the home's total size, and some residents complain that garages are being used for other purposes, such as areas to work or exercise, the Daily News reports. At this point, commissioners have decided to exempt up to 200 square feet of attached garage located in front of the home. Detached and rear garages will be exempt up to 400 square feet.

One garage opponent dramatically told commissioners, "It gets so you just want to crawl in a hole and die rather than take a walk in your own neighborhood." Jeez.

Not everyone is happy about the proposed restrictions. Some say they don't go far enough and would still allow monstrous homes in the hills. And one man, who lives in Rancho Park, complained that he won't be able to expand his 2,600-square-foot home to keep up with the proverbial Joneses in his neighborhood, who he claims have 4,000-square-foot homes.