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Standing Room Only for Hearing Over Proposal to Curb McMansions

Posted November 21, 2007

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— A controversial plan that could limit the size of a home in Raleigh drew a packed crowd Tuesday night.

Driving the proposal is concern over so-called "McMansions," which homeowners of older residences say detract from the character of their neighborhoods.

But folks against zoning regulations under consideration by the City Council came out in droves for Tuesday's public hearing. They argue that tight restrictions would cause home values to drop and limit property rights.

“The measure is too restrictive. It puts the entire city under a one-size-fits-all solution,” opponent Kristen Monahan said.

“Your actions may very well cause the value in people's homes to disappear,” Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble said.

“Come up with something that meets the needs for the community as well as the rights of property,” homeowner Allen Burris said.

The proposal would increase required setbacks from property lines from 5 feet to 10 feet on either side of the house and from 20 to 30 feet in the back yard and reduce the maximum height of homes from 40 feet to 32 feet.

Almost 600 homes have been knocked down in Raleigh in the last five years to make way for larger residences, with most of the activity concentrated inside the Beltline north of Wade Avenue and west of Wake Forest Road, according to a city report released in September.

Those sites are known as "scrapes."

There is also another proposal that would put more restrictions on a new home that replaces an older home. Raleigh's city planners said that would not be debated until next month.


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  • dmccall Nov 21, 2007

    This story is SO misreported (I should have seen it coming by the use of "McMansion", which is not a funny term). In fact, in a standing room only crowd of interested public, NOT A SINGLE PERSON argued FOR the regulations. It was a decisive roar against this specific set of changes to construction regulation.

    If the election of McFarlane, Stephenson, etc was a "mandate", one also must consider the complete dearth of support this proposal had.

    Personally, I think the fuss is mostly over the lack of architectural taste in many new "replacement houses" (that is the correct term, Sloane, for when a "McMansion" replaces a "McDump"). Taste is incredibly hard to legislate as some of these most objectionable replacement houses actually comply to this heavily rejected proposed standard.

    One of Raleigh's problems is that it didn't have enough wealth to build many large beautiful houses when the ITB area was developed. There's nothing wrong with correcting this mistake; just do it with charm!

  • Gneiss One Nov 21, 2007

    just because you can does not mean you always should. I am glad I dont have to hear my neighbor snore or take a #2 b/c that means he could hear me too. Ignorance, intelligence and attitude make for an ugly mix , add a little disregard for others and it makes for entertainment value no amount of money can buy!

  • oldrebel Nov 21, 2007

    Who cares how high the house on the next lot is? Seems to me the higher tax value of the larger house would help soften the tax burden on the "normal" height homes in a neighborhood.

  • dohicky Nov 21, 2007

    I would love to see larger nicer houses build around mine. Maybe it would keep the value of my property up instead of letting things around get dilapidated. One nice big new house replacing multiple older houses sounds okay to me. If the people own the older homes left, I would think that would be good for them. If the remaining are rentals, the people living there shouldn't have a say anyway.

  • E-Diva Nov 21, 2007

    What makes a mansion a "McMansion?"

  • Gneiss One Nov 21, 2007

    have people forgotten that the so called "little people" far outnumber the priveledged few. these are the people who collect your garbage, check your groceries, deliver your pizza, clean your office, educate your children, renew your driver's license, make your biscuits at Bo's, hot donuts at KK, ..the list is endless. These people are directly responsible for maintaining the standard of living we are accustomed to in this country. What will happen when none of these people can no longer afford to live in this county and are unable to afford a vehicle capable of the resulting long commute from the outlying areas? These little people run the world and most people forget the conveniences we so much enjoy are done by these same folks without thanks to ensure the world as we know it goes round. These jobs are the ones that most think are beneath them. What happens then???

  • RWC Nov 21, 2007

    It's all about keeping up or outdoing the Jones! Ego Ego Ego! Rather live in my McMansion out in the northern county in the woods away from the noise, crime, lack of parking, daily traffic, dog p..p in your front yard, nosey neighbors, ...

  • dougdeep Nov 21, 2007

    Check out the two ridiculous looking houses at the corner of Lewis Farm Rd and Dixie Trail. They look like beach houses crammed onto a lot. Each is right up against the 5' lot edge, and each is taller than a typical 3 story house.

    They might sway you to a yes vote.

  • doodad Nov 21, 2007

    Charlesboyer, funny!

  • charlesboyer Nov 21, 2007

    "This is one more example of how modern day "conservatives" think everyone else should conserve so they can do what they want -- McMansions vs. community standards, water the yard and driveway vs. conservation, gas guzzlers vs. public trasportation, for-profit private schools instead of public schools, etc."

    That's an unbelievable argument. Conservatives telling people to save so that they don't have to? Provide credible examples.

    But by your standards, I guess Al Gore is a conservative. After all, he's forever riding an SUV or flying in a Gulfstream to lecture people about reducing CO2. I guess that John Edwards, living as he does in a 10,400 mansion that is the largest home in Orange County but talking about reducing energy consumption is a conservative too.

    Yup, must be. Or is it that the elite liberals are actually bald-faced hypocrites? That actually sounds more like it.