Coastal residents have for years hated that developers can tear down small homes in older neighborhoods and build much bigger ones in their place.
They say the new homes are big and ugly, block the sun and the breeze and strangle the sensation that you’re on the coast. The catch-all complaint is that the new, big homes are destroying the “community character” of established neighborhoods.
One specific loophole in the city’s development regulations makes it a relatively easy process – at least easier than the alternative – and a handful of local developers have turned it into a lucrative business.
Developers can acquire permits to tear down and rebuild a new home in as little as a day, if they keep 50 percent of the existing home. Otherwise, they’d have to get a coastal development permit, which requires a political process developers say adds $100,000 to a project and delays it by about a year.