Burbank moves forward with new rules and guidelines aimed to control 'mansionization'

Burbank moves forward with new rules and guidelines aimed to control 'mansionization'
A home in Burbank that is considered "mansionized" dwarfs the residence the left. (Tim Berger / Burbank Leader)

The discussion about creating new rules and guidelines for single-family homes to address so-called "mansionization" in Burbank has been taking place for about three years.

After numerous public outreach events, "walk-shops" and community meetings, the Burbank City Council unanimously approved on Tuesday the first reading of proposed changes to the zoning code and guidelines. Members said it's a good way to start curbing the number of houses some residents say are too large.

Some of the major changes to the zoning code that address issues of mass and bulk in newly built homes or additions include requiring modulations to the second story if the house has a setback of less than 35 feet, restricting accessory structures to be no more than 14 feet from the top of the roof and 10 feet from the top plate, changing the way that floor-area-ratios are calculated and requiring homeowners to conform with the plans they submit to the city.

Additionally, council members agreed to allow a frontyard setback of less than 25 feet for certain homes in the city that were built in the 1920s and '30s, not require a design review process for first-floor additions up to 500 square feet to the back of the house, allow for up to a 250-square-foot front porch to not be included in the floor-area-ratio calculations, not allow city staff to permit a 75-square-foot increase in floor-area-ratio and not exempt two-story foyers from floor-area-ratio calculations.

"I appreciate the residents getting engaged and involved, and I appreciate the residents that took time out of their busy schedules to meet with staff as well as our consultant to give us a different perspective," Mayor Jess Talamantes said. "It's not a perfect document, but it's a lot better than what we had, and I think we're moving into the future a lot more educated."

Burbank resident Sue Cleereman, who has been involved with the proposed changes since the beginning, agreed with Talamantes.

"I think the next step will be focusing on enforcement once the standards and guidelines are approved," she said. "This is something that is very important."

However, Burbank resident Harold Schierholt, who has a 30,000-square-foot lot, did not like what the city was proposing and said he thought the city was violating his rights as a homeowner.

"This proposal is suggesting a taking of 39% of my property," he said. "It's a condemnation … It will end up in litigation, significant litigation."

The second reading of the proposed changes and guidelines will occur during the council's Jan. 24 meeting.


Anthony Clark Carpio, anthonyclark.carpio@latimes.com

Twitter: @acocarpio