Redwood City Tries to Stop Developers Building ‘Monster Homes’ for Maximum Profit

As more developers raze starter homes to build extravagant monster homes in Redwood City, the City Council has escalated its approach to protecting the city’s landscape and its diversity.

Redwood City Council on Monday night voted unanimously to add a layer to the city’s permit approval process by requiring that new homes that cover 45 percent of a lot or are 3,000 square feet or more go before the planning commission for review.

Several proposed projects and homes built by developers recently have caused an uproar among some residents who complain that the new projects lack compatibility with existing neighborhoods and are making it more difficult for young families to live in the city.

“My hope is that, by doing this, the developer will actually adjust the projects. That they will downsize them to a reasonable size that the neighborhood can live with and that will still meet the needs of a large growing family,” Mayor Ian Bain said at the council meeting Monday night.

Even so, the council’s decision fell short of what the city planning commission recommended as part of the city’s multi-pronged plan to modify its zoning ordinances and residential design guidelines. The commission had called for an outright limit on the size of single-family homes to 40 percent of the lot area or to a maximum house size of 2,500 square feet — whichever was greater.

The council made the decision after a nearly five-hour meeting in front of a divided, standing-room-only crowd of about 150 residents.

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