Proliferation of 'mansions' may have helped Temple City avoid greater damage
Yet Temple City lost notably fewer trees than neighboring towns in the heavily hit San Gabriel Valley, partly because of a building boom over the last few years that has replaced traditional homes with residences 6,000-square-feet and larger.
The enormous structures, including multi-car garages and numerous bathrooms and bedrooms, are built out close to lot lines, and many older trees had to be torn out to make room.
In many cases, the owners have not replaced them, said Temple City spokesman Brian Haworth.
Moreover, many mansion owners are Chinese immigrants with a faith in feng shui -- the ancient Chinese practice of balancing energies in a given place. Often, they build their mansions without trees near the front of the house to allow more energy to enter.
Many of the mansions have sparse landscaping, allowing for only a palm tree or two.
“They don’t want anything blocking the front of the door,” said Peggy Kuo, Temple City’s deputy city clerk. “They will want to strategically place it in the yard.”
-- Sam Quinones
Photo: Large Temple City home. Credit: Sam Quinones / Los Angeles Times