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Study: 'McMansions' Small Percentage of Raleigh Building

Raleigh officials will hold a public hearing on the residential infill debate Wednesday evening.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Replacing older homes with gargantuan new ones amounted to a tiny fraction of the residential construction in Raleigh in recent years, according to a new city study.

Raleigh officials released the findings hours before a public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday on how to best regulate infill building in the city.

City planners studied building and demolition permits in Raleigh from 2002 to 2007 and found that 656 of the 24,187 homes built in the city during that time were replacements for older homes. More than half of those 656 replacements were smaller than 4,000 square feet, including 26 percent that were under 2,000 square feet, the study found.

Most of the infill has occurred northwest of downtown in neighborhoods inside the Interstate 440 Beltline. Some residents have complained that large, new homes – they are often called "McMansions" – have damaged the character of their neighborhoods, prompting city officials to begin studying the issue last year.

Mayor Charles Meeker suggested limiting the size of new homes built on lots where older homes had been razed, but he later backed off the proposal amid intense opposition from residents and builders.

The City Council's Comprehensive Planning Committee in January created more Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts, where individual neighborhoods could establish their own building standards.

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