by Winston Chua
SAN MARINO – A capacity crowd filled the entire Barth Community Room at the city’s most recent city council event Wednesday, voicing their opposition to thoughts of potential livable area expansion beneath the surface of new homes.
Residents reiterated the theme of “If San Marino ain’t broke, why fix it?,” saying that the reasons for San Marino’s stringent limitations are set up to protect the character of the neighborhood.
One resident argued that increasing livable area, even if it were to proceed under ground, would give new homeowners license to tear down homes that have been here since the 1920s.
The argument for expanding livable area in the form of a basement, say council members, is to give new homeowners subterranean space and reduce the visual bulkiness and massiveness of the outward appearance of the home and surrounding homes.
As the below ground space is allowed to expand, the above ground livable space becomes more restricted.
Nearly all who spoke to the council Wednesday evening, however, were opposed to the idea.
Jim Barger said that if homes are allowed to expand, it would give new homeowners an excuse to tear down the whole house. Brad Ball said San Marino shouldn’t feel pressure to follow what other cities do, because San Marino is not like other cities. Realtor Linda Chang said realtors might use expansion as an enticement for securing a property deal, casting her vote against basement development.
It is part of the council’s obligation to review, maintain or update codes which have not been revisited for a dozen years or so. The discussion on livable area fit that description.
(2 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)