Mansionization is the practice of demolishing smaller, older homes and replacing them with enormous new residences that occupy the maximum amount of lot space possible.  These “McMansions” are grossly out of proportion with surrounding homes.  They erode neighborhood character and negatively effect the property value of adjacent homes.  Save Burbank Neighborhoods believes in protecting the charm and character of Burbank’s historic, small-town neighborhoods by establishing design standards to limit over-building.

In collaboration with Preserve Burbank, the City developed a Visual Preference Survey. Hundreds of residents from across Burbank participated in the on-line survey, examining photographs of actual Burbank homes and voting on whether or not they felt the homes were appropriate to the surrounding neighborhood.  The results of the survey indicate that the majority of Burbank residents want design regulations to restrict mansionization.  To view the results, click here.

Carol Barrett, the Assistant Director to the Planning Board, agreed that Burbank needs to do more than just “tweak our existing codes.”  On Monday, April 14, the Planning Board asked City Council to initiate a study to explore design guidelines and limit mansionization.  Preserve Burbank, the community group committed to historic preservation, has spent numerous hours investigating appropriate design guidelines.  Nearby cities like Glendale and Pasadena, already have guidelines in place to property values and historic character of their communities.  

Preserve Burbank recommends the following design guidelines for the City of Burbank:

1.  Reduce Floor Area Ratio/Lot Size from 40% to 30%.

2.  Prohibit structural add-ons that would create or increase Floor Area Ration non-conformity

3.  Require that proposed remodels and new construction  include photos of the existing property and the surrounding properties on either side.   Photos of tree locations and the three properties across the street and to the rear should also be included before the approval of construction.  All documents should be verified by a on-site visit.  

4.  Protect Burbank’s existing urban forest.  Large trees increase property values and give our neighborhoods a sense of history and dignity.  All future construction should make every effort to protect and retain existing mature trees.

5.  Increase noticing to Burbank residents.  Post signage and visuals at proposed building sites.  Postcard mailings are insufficient to notify surrounding neighbors.

6.  Establish a Floor Area Ratio increase incentive from 30 to 35% for construction that meets ALL additional incentive design requirements.  

Additional Design Incentives could pertain to: (a) Building Height Requirements, (b) Building size, massing, scale and proportion requirements, (c) Proportion of Design Elements such as pillars, windows, doorways, banisters and railings, (d) Appropriate location of access elements such as doors, windows, garages, walkways, driveways, entryways, patios, (e) Asymmetrical features and positioning, (f) Inset doors and windows, (g) Expressed elements such as chimneys, porches, and overhangs, (h) Roof style and pitch, (i) Use of appropriate materials, (j) Use of appropriate and compatible exterior lighting

Save Burbank Neighborhoods believes that the small-town character of Burbank neighborhoods make our city a special place to live.  We encourage all Burbank residents concerned about mansionization to e-mail our City Council members.  Tell them that over-building damages the historic charm of our Burbank communities and diminishes neighboring property values.

For sample letters, click here.

To email ALL Council Members at once:


To email the Planning Board:

One Comment

  1. Carol T.
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Is this going to be videotaped?

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