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House-Size Limits Extended


WEST COVINA — The City Council on Monday extended and liberalized a moratorium that limits the size of additions to single-family homes.

The council voted 4 to 1 to extend for another 10 1/2 months a 45-day moratorium that had limited the size of room additions to 50% of the total existing floor area. Councilman Steve Herfert voted no.

Planning Director Pat Haley said the original 45-day moratorium was too restrictive for property owners with small homes on large lots. The moratorium will allow additions on a sliding scale ranging from double to triple the original floor area, depending on lot size. The ordinance also calls for wider second-story front, side and rear setbacks.

Haley said that the ordinance was created to stop mansionization and to make homes compatible with other neighborhood homes. She described mansionization as the tearing down or remodeling of houses to replace them with larger ones.

The ordinance will serve as a temporary solution while a permanent ordinance is being prepared, Haley said. The effort to scale down the size of homes came after the city received proposals in July for a 7,400-square-foot addition to a 4,280-square-foot home, and an expansion of 8,868 square feet on an acre lot that would have given the house 10 bedrooms. Both houses are on Merced Avenue.

Under the new ordinance, the two applicants will be allowed to add rooms totaling 100% of the existing floor area.

Panee McDonagh, who submitted the 10-bedroom proposal, said she was told when she moved to West Covina that she could build up to 35% of the lot size, and has already spent $35,000 on architectural fees.

"There are 10 people in my family, and everyone wants their own room," she said. "Everyone should remember when they were young and wanted their own room."

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