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Solana Beach McMansion Vote Tuesday

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Voters in Solana Beach decide Tuesday whether the size of homes should be restricted in certain areas. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce tells us the ordinance would limit so-called "McMansions."

The Solana Beach Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance would limit the size of new homes in six residential areas west of I-5. The goal is to preserve the low density nature of those neighborhoods where smaller homes and beach bungalows are the norm. The Solana Beach City Council approved the ordinance. The council says it's concerned about a trend in those neighborhoods for oversized homes compared to their lot sizes. The council now wants the city's voters to approve the ordinance.

David Zito leads Save Old Solana, which favors the measure.

Zito : It would allow for the homes and new home construction, new home remodel in the west side of Solana Beach to be more in line with the character of the community that exists today.

Ernie Cowan represents The North San Diego County Association of Realtors.

Cowan : Who defines community character? That's not something easily defined, and above all, why should someone be penalized financially for some attempt -- a vague attempt -- to define community character?

Cowan says the measure attempts to control the community's character and will reduce property values.

Cowan : It's a philosophical concern -- with the effect it will have on people who own property and purchased that property with the understanding they have the right to do certain things with it.

Cowan says the ordinance mandates smaller homes and imposes design restrictions that affect about 1,200 homes. He says private property rights and home values will suffer if the ordinance passes.

Cowan : Generally-speaking, for most people, their home is the largest investment of their lifetime and an ill-advised -- well-meaning perhaps -- an ill-advised regulation such as this could have drastic impacts on that investment.

But Save Old Solana's Zito says the ordinance makes only modest adjustments to the size of future homes. Zito says he and other supporters live in the areas affected by the ordinance. He says they would not support the measure if it would drive their own property values lower.

Zito : Zoning ordinances prevent somebody from building a completely out of proportion home next to a lot that destroys privacy, overshadows the home -- and all this measure is doing is adjusting these zoning ordinances to be more effective in that particular area.

The Realtors' Ernie Cowan says if the measure passes, similar ordinances could spring up in other cities in San Diego County. But Zito says the real issue is whether people who live in the neighborhoods or special interests will control Solana Beach's destiny. The city's nearly 8,000 registered voters will have the final say when they go to the polls tomorrow.  Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

(Photo: Solana Beach. iStockphoto )

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