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A big house is not the definition of taste On...

September 22, 2004

A big house is not

the definition of taste

On Sept. 14 I listened to some of the comments made at the City

Council meeting regarding the proposed changes to the size codes for

R-1, R-1-E, and R-1-H zones which would limit future housing size to

45% of lot space.

Although two hours into the proceedings, I gave up and left, I'd

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like to respond to comments made against any changes to the existing

codes. A number of people insisted that many residents of Burbank are

against change, don't understand that the city demographics are

evolving, and want to keep Burbank from competing for "the best and

the brightest" by limiting the size of square footage in remodels and

new house building.

First of all, folks, the operative word here is change. That is

exactly what the city is proposing: a change in the outdated codes

that were designed before people felt that they needed to live in a

McMansion (mansions are built in Bel Air on acreage, not on 7,500

square foot lots) to have enough space for themselves and their two

or three children.

Second, one young woman thought that perhaps this is a

generational issue -- that the old folks here don't understand that

the younger generation, apparently more educated according to her,

want larger homes, but want them in a community that has all of the

amenities that Burbank offers.

Yes, perhaps it is a generational issue. Perhaps those reared in

"strip-mall world" do think that the Disney-esque "Grove" outdoor

mall represents a downtown village. Perhaps those reared in the

suburban sprawl of Santa Clarita, or San Bernardino and Riverside

counties do think that 4,000 square feet of thin drywall, vinyl

windows, 6-by-8-foot bedrooms, and 100 square feet of backyard is

indeed a dream home.

Thankfully, there seems to be another contingent of this younger,

"highly educated" demographic, who actually appreciate the

craftsmanship of the older homes in this community, and who are

moving into my neighborhood to enjoy the good schools and feel of

streets that have aged gracefully, with trees that have reached 50

plus years of maturity.

A few of these young families have added on to their homes with a

respect for what has gone before them, and a respect for the care

that their neighbors have put into their own aging homes.

These younger people seem to understand that "change" isn't always

"progress" -- that cul-de-sacs of cheaply built, oversized,

cookie-cutter cubes don't necessarily represent something better.

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