As McMansions Move In, Residents Grow Upset

April 5, 2016

Massive homes are being built on plots of land that once accommodated smaller homes. This has sparked debates across the country as long-time residents complain about the McMansion popping up next door.

Some residents say their “air and light” are being blocked by the McMansion next door.

“These houses are often akin to fortress walls on city streets,” argues Greg Goldin, curator at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum. “People in big houses tend to lead non-communitarian, non-civic lives. These homes are the embodiment of their desire to turn their backs on the shared experience and common spaces of real city life. They are anti-city.”

Other residents say these home owners have a right to build whatever they want – in reason – with the lots they buy.

“If people are paying millions for the dirt on which a teardown sits, they want to be able to make their own decisions regarding the housing,” says Arthur Jeppe, a partner at Read & Jeppe in Newport Beach, Calif.

In Mountain View, Calif., the scenario is broadly playing out. After the Google headquarters arrived nearby, this tech city has grown dramatically. As homes go up for sale, developers swoop in to bulldoze older, smaller homes to make room for, say, a 4,000-square-foot home that can fetch more than $3 million.

“It’s built so much higher than my house, virtually every window looks out into my backyard,” says home owner Janet Per Lee, who had a 4,000-square-foot mansion built next door to the 1,000-square-foot ranch that she has called home for 40 years. Per Lee planted Italian cypress trees to try to put up a natural barrier between her and the mansion next door.

Some home owners have tried to fight back against the super-size homes next door. Robert Walker in Renton, Wash., whose 1,000-square-foot bungalow once came with a view of downtown Seattle’s skyline and Lake Washington, even tried to collect signatures for a petition and argue his case before Renton’s City Council. He was trying to block the plans of buyers who had purchased a home in 2005 across the street from him who wanted to build a three-story, 4,000-square-foot home. His attempt failed and they built the house, which now blocks his entire view.

Source: “‘Help, a McMansion Is Going Up Next Door!’”® (April 4, 2016)