“Mega Mansions” Upset Beach Town Residents

The new homes are increasing property values, but decreasing quality of life, according to some residents

Construction has been booming in what's usually the quiet community of Manhattan Beach. As the economy improves, the number of construction projects in the beach town is skyrocketing to the tune of 148 projects in the month of July, according to city officials.

And some residents don't like it.

"It's no secret property values are very high in Manhattan Beach and the new homes coming in are improving property values," said Wayne Powell, a City Councilman for Manhattan Beach.

"But there are many long-time residents who don't want to see it change," he said. "They want a small beach town and they're afraid that it's going to be overdeveloped. Some people think we're already there and it's too late."

At issue are large "mega mansions," many of which are being built with basements to maximize square footage. The noise from construction, which residents say starts very early in the morning, has been described as "feeling like an earthquake."

"You feel literally the floor vibrating," said Marty Friedman, a long-time resident. "I like to say I can feel my teeth chattering -- it's a rumbling."

In July, Manhattan Beach saw nearly 150 construction projects, 70 percent of which were residential.


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"If you live in Manhattan beach, you live near a construction project," said Bill Nault, another long-time resident.

The city now has a full-time residential construction officer to regulate rules and regulations, like making sure construction is halted on Sundays and holidays. Contractors who don't comply will face hefty fines.

"Fines are typically $100 to $250," said Wayne Powell. "But for multiple or repeat offenders we were going to double or triple the fines."

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