Residential Bulk/Volume and Mansionization Standards

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The City's initial Bulk/Volume Amendments were intended to address single-family residential building mass as viewed from the street. The subsequent Mansionization Amendments were oriented toward increasing open space and setbacks, limiting lot size, and encouraging retention of existing smaller homes.


  • April 2002 - Bulk/Volume standards adopted with Ordinance No. 2032 (PDF)
  • December 2003 - Bulk/Volume Amendments adopted with Ordinance No. 2050 (PDF)
  • September 2004 - Additional Bulk/Volume Amendments adopted with Ordinance No. 2061 (PDF)
  • January 2005 - Minor Exception allowance created to encourage the retention of small homes
  • February 2008 - Mansionization/Bulk-Volume/Merger/Small Home Amendments adopted with Ordinance Nos. 2111 (PDF) and 2112 (PDF) as reviewed and recommended by the Mansionization Committee
  • May 2013 - Mansionization revisions recommended by Planning Commission with Resolution No. PC 13-06 (PDF)
  • July and November 2013 - City Council revewed Commission recommendations and asked for further study by the Commission November 19, 2013 (Link)
  • September 2015 - City Council directed revisions from 2013 recommendations for lot size and minor exceptions, September 1, 2015 (Link)
  • November 2015 - Maximum Lot Size and Minor Exception 2013 clean-up items adopted with Ordinance No. ORD 15-0026 (PDF)
  • November 2015 - Mansionization Community meeting held (PowerPoint (PDF)); first of many opportunities for community input


On April 16, 2002, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 2032 (PDF), establishing new Bulk/Volume standards primarily pertaining to single family zoned properties located in Area Districts I and II.  These regulations were adopted to reduce visual building bulk and/or volume at the front of new homes and additions to existing homes and became effective on May 17, 2002.

On December 2, 2003, after a one year review of the adopted Bulk/Volume standards, the City Council adopted an additional code amendment (Ordinance No. 2050 (PDF)) which further refined and reduced the bulk and volume of homes. Ordinance No. 2050 became effective January 1, 2004.

The goals of the City Council in adopting the bulk and volume requirements were as follows:

  • Reduce mass/bulk of homes, particularly from the front at the 2nd level
  • No reduction in allowable Buildable Floor Area (BFA)
  • Provide flexibility in architectural design

At the April 13, 2004 joint Work Plan meeting with the Planning Commission and City Council, the Council felt that the 6 percent additional front open area setback requirement should be reviewed and possibly increased to 8 percent.

In July 2004 the Planning Commission recommended approval to the increase of the additional front setback open area requirement from 6 to 8 percent. The City Council approved Ordinance 2061 (PDF) increasing the open area requirement from 6 percent to 8 percent in September 2004.

The City Council's 2005-2007 Work Plan, adopted July 5, 2005, includes an item to address Mansionization. And in December 2005, the Council formed the Mansionization Committee. Prior to and since that time the City has continued to study Code Amendments to address merger of lots, maximum lot sizes and residential development standards to address neighborhood character, large homes and lots, open space and setbacks. The May 8, 2007 joint City Council/Planning Commission staff report (PDF) provides a comprehensive history. A summary of the Mansionization Committee's  recommendations (PDF) from March 2007 is available. 

The Planning Commission completed its review of the Mansionization Committee recommendations in November 2007 and forwarded its recommendation to the City Council as summarized in the staff report (PDF) dated January 15, 2008.

On February 19, 2008 the City Council adopted Ordinance Nos. 2111 (PDF) and 2112 (PDF) amending various sections of the Zoning Code (Title 10 of the Municipal Code) and the Local Coastal Program which revises residential development standards, effective March 21, 2008. A three-page summary chart (PDF) and a redline-strikeout (PDF) format of the language are available.

On May 8, 2013 (PDF), the Planning Commission adopted Resolution No. PC 13-06 (PDF). recommending revisions to Mansionization items pertaining to open space, setbacks, site area, alley access, parking clearances, nonconforming structures, and minor exceptions. The Commission had reviewed status reports on Mansionization (PDF) and related parking standards (PDF) on January 23, 2013, and initiated the public hearing on February 27, 2013 (PDF).

The City Council considered the Planning Commission's Mansionization revisions recommendation in the fall of 2013, but postponed the item for more review, primarily due to concerns for proposed open space requirement revisions.  

The City Council re-initiated Mansionization review on September 1, 2015 (PDF), directing that a public hearing be scheduled (10/6/15 (PDF)) for the maximum lot area and minor exception items previously considered in 2013, with final adoption on 11/3/15 (PDF). Council also directed that a Mansionization Community meeting (PDF) be scheduled (11/9/15) for new input, and a series of future meetings, including a joint City Council/Planning Commission meeting, be scheduled (TBD) to determine possible further action.


For further information, call (310) 802-5503.

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