Santa Barbara City Hall’s efforts to craft a neighborhood preservation ordinance have been anything but easy, and they promise to become even more cumbersome. After touring neighborhoods threatened by McMansionization last week, a clear majority of city planning commissioners favor a new ordinance that sets limits on the size of residential remodels and expansions. The planning commission, which may vote on the matter as early as this Thursday, will undoubtedly butt heads with the Architectural Board of Review and the Historical Landmarks Committee, whose members – mainly architects – strongly prefer more flexible guidelines. As preservationists call for tighter remodel restrictions, neighborhood improvement associations insist homeowners should be allowed maximum flexibility in exercising their development rights.

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