Mansionization study

A home in Burbank that is considered "mansionized" dwarfs the residence on the left on Monday, August 26, 2013. Burbank historical officials will discuss guidelines in dealing with mansionization. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / April 15, 2014)

The Burbank Planning Board is asking elected officials to fund a study on anti-mansionization ideas, saying the work would be the best way to show how the resident-fueled suggestions would impact the look of the city’s neighborhoods.

Locals in the past have asked the board to consider stricter guidelines against such developments, arguing that huge houses built near much smaller homes destroy a neighborhood’s personality.

“(Residents) have concerns regarding the integrity and character of existing neighborhoods, and they’ve asked the city to help them maintain that character,” said Carol Barrett, assistant community development director.

The complaints prompted city officials to administer a survey asking residents to weigh in on various-sized single-family homes, as well as different neighborhood landscapes.

More than 800 people reportedly took the survey, which helped city officials, as well as residents, draw up a list of possible changes that could address some of the concerns.

The ideas include limiting garage doors to a certain percentage of the front of the house, limiting the height of front-door porches, changing single-family parking requirements based on the number of bedrooms instead of square footage, limiting the amount of paving in the front yard, and incentivizing reuse of existing single-family homes.

Board members said they were reluctant to recommend any changes without seeing how they would cause new projects to look.

“We have a hesitation to implement code changes without the expertise of an architect, and if council is willing, it would be nice to have an architect do a comprehensive study,” said board chair Kimberly Jo.

A council discussion on the issue is tentatively slated for May 20, Barrett said.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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