Opinion: Some La Jolla residents may be in favor of so-called ‘McMansionization’

Letter to the Editor / Opinion / Our Readers Write:

La Jolla Light reader Randy Levinson submitted the following Letter to the Editor:

There have been many articles published this year on the “mansionization” of La Jolla. For starters, please define “mansion”? Is "mansionization" the rebuilding of a neglected 1,000-square-foot home into a 3,000-square-foot home? Is a 3,000-square-foot home now the definition of a mansion? Hey mom, your kid has made it, he lives in a mansion!

I always thought of a mansion as a sprawling estate (think 15,000 square feet-plus, on acres of land with amenities such as guest houses, tennis courts, pools, etc). But according to the small minority who are pushing an agenda to suit their own personal desires, “mansion” has been materially redefined.

As a fellow La Jollan, it is frustrating to read these articles month after month, which would lead one to believe that the opinion of the majority is that La Jolla (they are really talking primarily about Bird Rock) is being ruined by this so called “mansionization.” Now there is an ad hoc “Mansionization Committee”! The reality is it couldn't be further from the truth. Everyone I know actually thinks the rebuilding of the many old, neglected houses that dot the landscape is a good thing — both for the aesthetics and economics of the neighborhood.

New homes are being built by both homeowners and developers alike. (For some reason Tourmaline Properties has been singled out. I and many other Bird Rock residents actually like the homes they are building and think they are improving the neighborhood.)

There is market demand from all sides for the type of property being built; otherwise the product would not be built. Ever heard of laissez-faire economics? In a past article, one of the main individuals (as far as I can gather) pushing this agenda recounted how she and her husband moved to Bird Rock years ago and eventually did a "modest" rebuild to about 2,000 square feet. Modest in whose opinion?

What do you say to the person who believes no Bird Rock home should ever be enlarged beyond its original 900 square feet to 1,200 square feet? Or that a 2,000-square-foot home is ruining the “character” of the neighborhood. Why isn't their remodel considered a mansion? When does a “mansion” begin and end? 2,500 square feet is not a mansion, but 3,000 square feet is? You pick the example. Wow, how arbitrary.

I think it’s great that new family-sized homes are being built. It is nice to see neighborhoods returning again with families moving back into the neighborhood and having kids breathe new life into the area. It is great to see Bird Rock Elementary School thriving (I have one still at BRE and two that have come and gone).

A suggestion was made to use a point system that may allow a homeowner to build a larger home by “incorporating community pleasing features.” Huh? Define community? Define pleasing? This whole issue is just another example of a few trying to push their views on the majority. Since the majority of residents don’t see a problem, you don’t hear from them.

Layering on more building restrictions and procedures is a bad idea. It will just cost homeowners more time, money and frustration. The existing development regulations are just fine. When you start making my mortgage payment, maybe I will consider letting you have an opinion on what I should be able to do with my property.

Randy Levinson

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