Two-and-a-half years and 33 meetings later, a draft Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance (NPO) was squeaked forth by the committee assigned to produce it, but the issue was far from settled. Neighborhood preservationists appalled by current mansionization efforts worry the proposed NPO allows too much, while architects, builders, and property owners itching to add on to their homes insist its guidelines and requirements are too restrictive. The proposed ordinance – still to be ratified by the Santa Barbara City Council, Planning Commission, and Architectural Board of Review (ABR) – would require all new second-story additions be approved by the ABR. Likewise, the ABR will be charged with reviewing any proposed expansions between 1,830 and 2,500 square feet. The matter has caused much consternation, especially in the neighborhoods off Shoreline Drive, where modest one-story homes built in the 1950s – now fetching seven figures – are essentially torn down and rebuilt as much larger, often two-story structures.

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