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TOPANGA : Homeowners Upset Over Proposed Law

October 12, 1994|FRANK MANNING

Many Topanga Canyon homeowners are angry over a proposed county ordinance that would require homeowners to bring their homes up to code before selling them.

Many homes in Topanga Canyon were built before the 1960s and would not meet today's strict zoning requirements, said Topanga Town Council member Dale Robinette.

Homeowners, he said, would have to pay thousands of dollars to bring their homes up to code.

"That would be so devastating to all of us here in Topanga Canyon," he said. "We need to mount some kind of offensive against this."

A public hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. Nov. 9 before the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission in Room 150 of the Hall of Records, 320 W. Temple St., Los Angeles.

Fred MacFarlane, spokesman for Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, who introduced the proposal, said the ordinance is designed to keep neighborhoods from becoming run down. It also would protect consumers from purchasing homes with major flaws, he said.

Some homeowners in Burke's district, which includes portions of Culver City, South-Central Los Angeles and Inglewood, have built additions onto their homes and rented them out, MacFarlane said. The extra residents, he said, have caused overcrowding in those areas.

Twenty-five cities in the county already have similar ordinances, he said.

Also under the ordinance, he said, buyers would be alerted to any flaws that would be costly to repair.

"You can look at it as a consumer protection ordinance," MacFarlane said. "There is nothing that is going to come up and bite you on the bottom that you were unaware of. I use an analogy that this would be something that would be great for anybody who was buying a used car."

Marty Brastow, Topanga real estate broker, said buyers are already protected under a state law that requires sellers to point out any defects.

If the ordinance is approved, some homeowners will have to pay $50,000 to bring their homes up to code, she said. The seller would have to add that onto the selling price.

"I would say that buyers should do their own home inspection," she said. "That's part of the process of buying a home: having a licensed inspector come out and tell you what the problems are."

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