Week in Review : MAJOR EVENTS, IMAGES AND PEOPLE IN ORANGE COUNTY NEWS. : AT THE SCENE : Remodeling of House in Irvine Gets Neighbors All Up in Arms
It was an odd case, even in Irvine, where the uniform look of houses and yards is strictly enforced.
Victor Ganish started remodeling his tract house there four years ago, and it has grown, taking on the look of a Tudor mansion. Work is still going on.
But neighbors took the issue to the City Council. A spokesman for the homeowners’ association said Ganish’s house “doesn’t fit in the neighborhood. If we were in Big Canyon or surrounded by million-dollar homes, then it would fit. One doesn’t put a house that is four times the size of other houses in a residential area like this.”
One neighbor testified the sight of Ganish’s house so upset him that he and his wife avoid walking by it.
There were sympathetic ears on the City Council. Councilwoman Sally Anne Miller said she was of a mind to order the house demolished. “Quite frankly, this gentleman has violated everything that we believe to be true in Irvine and that is that quality of life is important, to be a good neighbor and to abide by rules in mandatory and non-mandatory homeowners’ associations,” she said.
Mayor Dave Baker concurred but the two failed to get the third vote necessary to order demolition.
Instead, the council voted 3 to 2 to allow Ganish 60 additional days to complete most of the house’s exterior. “We have to strike a balance between enforcing the law, safeguarding the neighborhood and respecting the dignity of the human beings involved,” Councilman Larry Agran said. “Who knows, this may be one of those things that in 20 years people will say, ‘This is one of the most interesting things to see in Irvine.’ ”