Monday, July 30, 2007

A lot is a lot is a lot ...

From the Wall Street Journal ...

The McMansion Effect
The Cullens' Neighborhood Is Super-Sizing,
So What Does It Mean for Terri's Home?
July 26, 2007

Our neighborhood is changing. A number of homes are undergoing major renovations that will double their sizes, and new homes are being built that are much larger than existing homes in the community. Our three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath, 2,400-sq.-ft. home, once among the largest in the neighborhood, will soon be among the smallest.

The building boom has given Gerry and me pause. What impact is the sudden McMansioning of our neighborhood going to have on the value of our home? And will the super-sizing of nearby homes have any affect on our neighborhood's culture? Is it cause for concern, or are we just jealous? ...

Good to read a dialogue about the changes that have taken place in the assumptions about real estate.

For example, this was the guiding principal for real estate in thru the end of the 90's. As Cullen states, "When shopping for homes, the general rule of thumb is to avoid buying the largest home in the neighborhood. A home that's much bigger than other homes in the neighborhood will typically sell for less than if that same home were in a neighborhood with equally large homes. Why? Recent home sales help determine the fair-market value of your home. If no comparably large homes have been sold in your area, it may be difficult to convince home buyers that the larger home is worth considerably more than recent sales of smaller homes in the neighborhood."

Continuing, "On the other hand, having a medium-sized house in a neighborhood with much larger homes can boost its resale value. So in a situation like ours, where larger, more expensive homes are now more common than our home, my neighbors' home renovations should help to improve our home's value. Adding to its value is our lot size -- with an acre of land there's plenty of room for a home-buyer to add on to the home."

Ah ha, now I beg to differ. According to the City of Raleigh property valuation formulas, a lot is a lot. Current ITB real estate research shows lots valued at $100K on the Wake County Property Tax site. The new tax valuations will be $200-300K for the same lot, neighborhood depending. If you look around the site, you will notice a .25 acre lot is the same value as a .60 acre lot.

What gives?

Is this driving the land rush? In the above example, if this was in my neighborhood, that house is a goner. Either that lot will be bought and sold again as multiple lots, each for the current per-lot valuation, or that house will be replaced by something more "fitting" for such a large parcel. And fitting, nowadays, means FITTING. As in, the lot provides a small border of land (called required setback) around as big a house as can be fit within its bounds.

As a general rule, these homes have little connection to the surroundings. They are like islands in the midst of their chosen neighborhoods (translation: location location).

So, yes Terri, your value will rise with the changes in the neighborhood, you can verify this in your property taxes, but if you pay attention you will observe that your house will lose value, mansion by mansion.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

From the Redding Pilot (CT)
Takacs is ready for third term
Jul 26, 2007

Selectman Don Takacs is ready to take on a third term in office. At last week’s Republican caucus, he was selected once again as First Selectman Natalie Ketcham’s running mate.

A 30-year resident, Mr. Takacs describes Redding as “an oasis in Fairfield County” with a pristine environment. And while he believes growth is inevitable, “the key” is to keep that growth in perspective, “to retain the environment we have,” he said.

Mr. Takacs acknowledges this is “a difficult task ... As the area grows, it requires diligence to retain the character of the town which I love,” he said, citing this as a major reason he wants to continue in office.

The town is bigger than when he moved here, Mr. Takacs said, “but the character is the same.” He attributes this to the town’s concept of open space, calling it “awesome.”


A sense of history

A sense of history is also important to the town, the selectman said. “Preservation is something the town is supporting.”

He said the character of homes in surrounding towns has been impacted by teardowns, whereby “large, palatial homes have replaced the original Colonial homes.

“The character here has been retained. I’d like to do everything I can to continue that process,” Mr. Takacs said.


For Mr. Takacs, it is essential that Redding not be turned into something resembling the larger area towns. “We must meet the needs of all citizens while retaining the character of the town.”

Since he has the time available, Mr. Takacs said, serving on the Board of Selectmen “is an excellent way to give back to the town, which has been such a great place in which to live.” ...

Who is ready to step forward for Raleigh?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Time to Tip?

Leveling restrictions on McMansions
As America's desire for bigger houses grows, communities declare enough. But capping growth can have unintended effects.

ALLENSPARK, COLO. — Fed up with seeing outsize houses popping up in open spaces or overwhelming the scale of established neighborhoods, cities and counties across the United States are declaring war on McMansions.

• Famously eco-friendly Boulder County, Colo., is considering forcing people in some rural areas to pay extra to build homes bigger than 3,000 square feet.

• Atlantic Beach, Fla., has restricted home size to half the square footage of lots, and the Los Angeles City Council is due to consider a similar measure.

• In Minneapolis, reining in big homes was the top issue Betsy Hodges heard about when door-knocking in her successful campaign for City Council in 2005; last month she and the rest of the council unanimously passed a law restricting home size to half the square footage of each lot.

"There are blocks in my district where almost every house has been rebuilt," Hodges said last week. With homebuilders replacing "smaller houses and building larger homes, people felt they were losing the things they valued about their neighborhood."

McMansions are an issue mostly in built-out cities or in rural communities where residents hope to preserve a bucolic character, experts say. Traditionally, home size has been regulated by zoning laws that require structures to be set back a certain distance from the property line and permit building only within a "footprint." But as land prices rise and the desire for bigger houses grows, new housing is increasingly "bigfooting" lots and consuming airspace, leading to the rush to set limits.

I recommend a read of this article as it offers good information on how places are dealing with issue, the tensions, the forces and the counter forces. Are we reaching a tipping point?

A person can hope.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Habitats for Humans

El Salvador, July 2006

This is a home being built for a family by a church group from Durham. It is a serious upgrade from the former housing, which you can see to the left and behind the house. The house will be two bedrooms, concrete block, dirt floor, with bars on window openings, 700 sq ft.

This house is being built for a woman caring for her older sister; they have been sharing this piece of land and taking shelter in the handmade huts. Their kitchen is outdoors and consists of a platform with hose water and fireplace. The daughter who has a job in the city is paying the mortgage, which is substantial.

The house will resemble this when completed, although in El Salvador this kitchen will be outside and the bathroom connected to the back of the house.

The new owners are very proud. They cooked lunch for the work crews each day. The women dressed each day in flowered cotton dresses and made small gifts for the volunteers to bring back. Real treasures. The joy was palpable.

Habitats in Raleigh . . .

Raleigh, July 2007

2148 Sq Foot house on .48 acre lot demolished to make way 5000 sq ft house. Built 1948, additions 1980. Stone exterior.

In addition to the loss of this house, we also are losing the best Christmas display in the neighborhood. But I digress.

This is my favorite shot.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We are not alone

Westport Teardowns: Creating a Digital Record
Check this tool out

In Westport, Connecticut, the online news, Westport Now, features the teardown of the day. In addition there is a map where you can research the past and future homes that will be demolished to make way for larger homes.

Westport has two problems. One is the very deep history that is preserved in some of the housing stock. Some of these houses go back to the 1700-1800s. Their other problem is that they are a most desirable place to live.

Once again, the conflict arises. The charm that attracts residents is disappearing one property at a time. Because of the incredibly high property values, these homes are being replaced with huge, expensive structures. An area that had several types of housing stock -- estates (think Martha Stewart, Paul Newman), historic, modest, and rural -- has reached a time and place where land values and demand override all the other qualities.

What is going to happen when the next generation looks back and wonders where the green space is, or how 5000 sq ft houses made sense? In the 1980s, the big houses of the early 1900s were being divided into apartments. Now those neighborhoods have been restored to single family homes, with much gratitude that these lovely old buildings were preserved. In Raleigh, Cameron Park, Oakwood and Boylan Heights have all been saved. Now these are the hottest areas for attracting denser residential development on their commercial borders.

As the next neighborhoods down the historical timeline become ground zero for tearing down and rebuilding, these concerns emerge anew. So what is the plan, Raleigh, for preserving Hayes Barton, Bloomsbury, Anderson Heights, and Roanoke Park from the wrecking ball?

From Westport Now:

With the pace of Westport teardowns at a record level, WestportNow decided to feature some of the demolitions that are causing such an upheaval on the real estate scene. We welcome reader contributions to this occasional photo feature, which is intended to create a digital record of some of Westport's history. This house was at ...

Today's WestportNow teardown is at 34 Newtown Turnpike. A demolition permit has been applied for. The Westport Historic District Commission imposed a 60-day delay on demolition at its Feb. 8 meeting. The house, built in the 1760s, is also known as ...


I very much appreciate your coverage of antique homes being torn down in Westport. I happened to live in that home for 32 years, and other familes for about 170 years before us. I find it sad in general and heartbreaking in specific. ...

A distressing reminder that house by house, bulldozed one at a time, Westport is starting to look like just another late 20th suburban development.

From personal experience, I urge buyers of old homes to live in their house for a year or two before doing any substantial work: make friends with the house, the property, and learn the vernacular of the neighborhood. ...

Thanks for showing these old houses. I read the Historic District Agendas and try to visit the places they consider for demolition permits but sometimes I can't find them or it's too late. The topic of tear-downs is one that is discussed almost every day among my friends, old-timers and new-comers alike. ...

I drove by this partial teardown a week or so ago, and our digital camera was off being fixed so I had no way to take a photo. I had the same reaction: we need to document these wonderful homes (old and new) that gave Westport it's character. ...

Ten years ago you'd drive down a street and there would be an old farmhouse, a small, pristine cape, a modern house set back, a Victorian home from the 1800s, and it was so charming. We are ALL going to lose if there is just stone fence with 4' high wooden fence atop it, hiding any views, for mile after mile in town. We've solved bigger problems: any ideas about what we can do? Lovingly from someone who moved here in 1946 to Roseville Road (originally called Poor Town Road, according to my late-102-year-old neighbor!) ...

Its not that things are changing, its the rate at which things are changing. Westport's real estate is undergoing the natural (and sometimes unfortunate and disconcerting) state of evolution. Whose fault is it? Should the seller pre-qualify the buyer and demand that the buyer only renovate rather than obliterate their home? Do we seek to regulate (ugh!) in an attempt to control this remaking of our residential landscape? Or do we accept this change as the natural progression of our town and our society and try to move on? Kindda reminds me of the Town's struggle with the Long Term School Renovation/Building Program and the many other Town-wide issues surrounding those who advocate for change and those who don't. Yet this one is centered on our individual rights to own and maintain our personal property. ...

I happen to know the person who now owns this house and she has done everything to try to save it. Her engineer and her contractor both said that it was too far gone. She got demolition permission from the Historic Distric Commission as the house had historic designation, and she must rebuild so the the outside of the house looks just like the old one. She even called me before demolition so that I would not think badly of her. (I live in a 1740's farmhouse which she sold me when she was a RE broker) I remember well how excited she was when she bought the house and we talked about how much fun it would be to restore it. This is not a case of disregard for an old house. It is a case of too many people letting it go until it was too late. ...

Friday, July 20, 2007

This Just In

Making McMansion Owners Pay
July 12, 2007 | Time Magazine

As bloated homes and McMansions continue to sprout up across the country, Boulder, Colorado, may have come up with a lucrative approach to contain what detractors call the plague of Garage Mahals and Big-Hair Houses. At a July 10 meeting, where more than 70 citizens spoke, Boulder county commissioners preliminarily approved a system of development rights transfers that would extract mega-bucks from builders of mega-homes. ...

Intriguing idea. So far it looks like the toll for such a Venti house in an unlikely location is paid by the neighbors who lose their views and sunlight, the ground which is covered with impervious surfaces, the streetscape which is now devoid of trees and lawns, the geographic areas which lose their heritage and connections, the neighborhoods who lose their diversity and livability, residents whose property taxes rise commensurately with the "improvements" in their comparable tax zone, and everyone who will pay higher prices for energy and water uses that are affected by the resources larger houses use.

What is unique about the proposal in Colorado is that it offers positive economic incentives for NOT living large, and makes large houses pay for their cost to the surrounding communities by purchasing size "credits" for their homes.

It's a start. So far, those who can afford million dollar homes have been able to shift the burden of exercising their property rights onto their neighbors. Finding a way to reward, rather than punish, the neighbors is intriguing indeed.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Atlanta Rules

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/10/07

Proposal aims to limit big houses on little lots
City Council to consider regulating scale of new houses

Eighteen months after Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin ordered a temporary stop to construction of massive homes on lots where smaller houses once stood, the City Council is starting to look at rules to regulate the scale of those new houses.

The council's Zoning Committee is scheduled to consider the proposal at its meeting at 11 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Under the proposal, the scale of the new houses would be determined by the size of a lot. Bigger houses would be allowed on bigger lots, and smaller lots would require smaller homes.

Another provision would require that the square footage of basements and attics that can be converted into living areas be counted toward a house's overall square footage. The plan also would prevent a developer from hauling in dirt to create a hill on which to build a house so that a finished basement could be added later.

The story continues, and says what is said in every neighborhood confronting this. "Community leader David Patton said the proposal would halt desired development in the neighborhood. Many future houses would be limited to about 2,000 square feet because many lots in the neighborhood are small. 'We're not interested in kicking people out of our neighborhood just because they want a large home,' Patton told the city's Zoning Review Board."


"When all is said and done, this ordinance will make new residential developments, and developments where someone might take down an old house and build a new one, compatible with the neighborhood," Steve Cover, the city's planning commissioner, told the Zoning Review Board at a hearing last month.

According to Mary Norwood, the city council woman who has taken on the infill issue since her election in 2002, "The proposal has widespread support across the city. This is a matter of closing loopholes and clarifying definitions."

Atlanta's building moratorium was issued in January 2006 to begin the process of resolving the tensions caused by infill development in some of Atlanta's changing neighborhoods. Replacing smaller older homes with houses three and four times as large is exactly what is happening here in my neck of the woods. This quote could come from Anytown, USA.

Residents who complained said the fabric of their neighborhoods was changed overnight when a bungalow or ranch home was demolished and replaced with a house that towered over others. Mature trees were routinely cut down, furthering the sense of a neighborhood in transition.

What is it about the quest for quality of life that makes us destroy it as we seek to have it?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Historical Highlights by Irena Dorton

Arndt House, Canterbury Road, Raleigh

The Arndt house is one of fourteen houses built from 1945 to 1965 recommended for individual listing in the National Register in a 2006 comprehensive inventory of all Raleigh buildings for the Raleigh Historic Districts Commission.

Designed in 1959 by F. Carter Williams for the Arndt family, the one-story Contemporary with a wide, sloping front-gabled roof, a recessed front gallery porch, and an almost fully transparent front living room wall is one of the most graceful modern residences in Raleigh. The house is so extravagantly windowed that when you are standing in front of the house, you can see straight through to the huge old trees in the backyard.

From sea to shining sea . . .

Bellevue residents worry about explosion of ''McMansions''

BELLEVUE WA -The City of Bellevue says it may be time to set up new regulations on home construction.

The concern is about so-called McMansions. A new report indicates that 432 of 1,031 new house construction permits in Bellevue (over the last six years) were for tear down of an existing house to be replaced by a larger home. The average increase in size is said to be 163 percent, from an older 2,000 square foot home to a new 5,260 square foot building.

The city council is asking the building department to review the way building height is calculated, the so-called "daylight plane," and possibly requiring increased side setbacks for the large homes. Another proposal would bar the combining of lots to allow construction of even larger homes.

Bellevue says the average livable floor space of a new home in the city is 4,268 square feet, with another 804 square feet for a garage.

The largest number of home tear downs has been in Northwest and West Bellevue.

That's where Trish Kraft lives. "Our neighborhood is a war zone," she said.

There's a constant beeping of a truck back-up alarm; the occasional sound of gravel being dumped; and a significant increase in traffic.

"I counted the other day and within a one block radius of our home, 20 mansions have gone up," Kraft said.

The house next door has taken half her view of the Olympics. With each new plywood sheet on the roof, a little more view disappears.

The neighborhood now includes a $2 million house, and a $4 million one.

Here are some of the City's concerns according to Bellevue's Neighborhood Coordinator Cheryl Kuhn: "The impact includes loss of sunlight, vegetation dying, gardens dying because of houses looming over their yards, robbing them of access to the sun."

Kuhn says the city is mindful of the property rights of those who buy property and those who live in the neighborhoods. She says the city hopes to be able to put together a solution that will satisfy the concerns of both.

One neighbor, Jay Rubin, predicts in a few years, the mega-homes will be too expensive for anyone.

"I think if the energy crisis continues, and gets worse, a lot of these people are going to have to move out of their houses. I just can't imagine how they are going to pay to keep themselves warm in the winter."

Rubin said they could huddle together, if they can find each other.

- Seattle, Washington, July 18, 2007 | KOMOTV.COM

Monday, July 16, 2007

What Goes Around . . .

Mary Korber, who lives in one of the larger new houses in Harbour Green, answered her door the other day with a phone at her ear. A furniture store had failed to deliver one piece of new den furniture. Her house, on a raised foundation, has two stories, five bedrooms and a total 6,200 feet of space on a lot that once held a modest three-bedroom ranch.

“I have mixed feelings,” Ms. Korber said, a hand resting on the head of one of her four children, Collin, 5. “We moved here because we loved the charm of the neighborhood. I know people think our house is too big, but we thought it fit in. On the other hand, the land here is very expensive, and people who come here are not first-time homebuyers. They want a little more room. They have a lot of stuff.”

Her phone rang a lot: The furniture store calling back. A brother who lives in a house nearby. A friend down the street.

“But I have to tell you, that house where they were taking down that tree the other day,” she said. As it turned out, she had driven by at the same time that Mr. Kobs was watching the removal of the cedar tree at Bay Drive and Nassau Street.

“That was one of my favorite houses,” she said. “It was horrible when they knocked that down.”

New York Times 04/23/07:
Views Clash Among Neighbors as Builders Destroy Old for New

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This land is your land . . .

This land is my land.

This land was made for you and me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Not In My Back Yard

NIMBY gets whole new meaning.

Here are back yards, as viewed from a neighboring back yard (CIRCA 20th C.).

Here is the new improved backyard, 2007 version, looking over neighbor's outbuilding to the new dwelling.

It's all about setbacks. This lot is nearly 1/2 acre, zoned R-4. Therefore, by tearing the original house down and removing the original footprint, the builder is free to build according to the zoning, that means setbacks of 30 ft front and back, and 10 ft away from the side lines.

Net effect, large surface area of house, small surface area of grass and trees.

Front view from next door neighbor's front yard.

What the street scape currently looks like a few houses away.....

All perfectly legal under Raleigh's zoning ordinances.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Raleigh's Muni Code

The historical heritage of Raleigh and Wake County is among their most valued and important assets. The City is authorized by the North Carolina General Statutes, by means of listing, regulation, and acquisition, to safeguard the heritage of the City by preserving any property or district that embodies important elements of its culture, history, architectural history, or prehistory, and to promote the use of and conservation of historic districts for the education, pleasure and enrichment of the residents of the City and state as a whole. The purpose of these regulations is to provide the organizational vehicle by which certain areas, structures, buildings, and objects within the City's planning jurisdiction that have special significance in terms of history, prehistory, architecture, archaeology, and/or culture and possess integrity of design, setting, materials, feeling and association may be preserved and protected.

(Ord. No. 1992-66-TC-399-TC-15-92, §2, 10-6-92)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

G. Milton Small House

From Raleigh Architectural Survey Phase 2

Besides the popular Wrightian style, the International-Style made an impact upon School of Design architects Eduardo Catalano and George Matsumoto. An independent architect, G. Milton Small, followed in the footsteps of his Chicago Institute of Technology professor and mentor, Mies van der Rohe. The best example of Small's work is clearly revealed in his commercial and residential architecture where sharp geometry, restrained elegance and good use and expression of materials are evident. The G. Milton Small House, 1951 with later additions, at 301 Lake Boone Trail, remains unchanged in its facade appearance and is the epitome of Miesian architecture in Raleigh. The single story structure is supported by a massive concrete foundation.

This house has builder sign in front. Here's hoping....

So what is the big deal
about replacing old Raleigh?

From Raleigh Architectural Survey Phase 2


The significance of the private family dwellings in Raleigh lies in the rich diversity of their forms and shapes. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century dwellings reveal the variety of socio-economic patterns. In general, the surveyed domestic architecture of the previous century is more common and vernacular indicating the existence of ordinary citizens. As the new century slowly dawned, the dwellings take on the appearance of popular styles emulated from books and magazines. Hence, the 1920s and 1930s houses are less regional in character and style and more mainstream in appeal to the average homeowner.

Individually, the houses are not significant but as a collection of streetscapes, neighborhoods, and suburban development they take on greater meaning. The "American Dream" of individual home ownership was pursued on many levels by peoples of various means. The wide range of dwellings offered several kinds of specialized habitations for the poor and the wealth. In a sense, the diversity of the houses document the spatial differentiation of residential development of Raleigh society in the early twentieth century.

Friday, July 6, 2007

How did they know?

From Dallas Texas comes this effort, speaking directly to us.

We’re familiar with the phenomenon. A speculator “flipper” makes a fast-buy offer and tries to get a commitment to buy a house on an established residential block before it even appears on the market. Usually by approaching a retiree or the estate of a recently deceased resident. A developer then gets a large loan and levels the house, quickly erecting a new 5,000+ square foot house which consumes most of the surface area of the lot, and towers over neighboring houses. A certain type of realtor then sells the “supersized” house to an incoming suburbanite or someone from outside of Dallas who values the proximity of the house to the city. The parties involved can make anywhere from $80,000 to $200,000 per house.

Neighboring houses are now “overshadowed,” and since they are now expected to follow suit by selling, the value of the existing smaller houses is reduced to the raw land value.

While many neighborhoods have broad constituent sympathy for the idea of limiting construction that disrupts a neighborhood, people are often unaware how to do anything about it. Neighborhood associations typically are not touching the issue for fear of creating a “hot potato” by offending certain individuals with an economic interest in the redevelopment. Well-spoken and well-funded representatives from the development and realty industry say a zoning overlay would severely limit individual rights, and have attempted to delay any action and dissipate Dallas into smaller neighborhood groups that have little collective influence.

The citizens group Dallas Citizens for Responsible Development (DCFRD) will be launching a broad awareness campaign to promote the idea that new development in existing neighborhoods needs to be “better, not bigger.” ... The goal of the group is to educate Dallas citizens on the reality of their property rights, and demonstrate to the Dallas government that citizens need an effective tool in place to provide some reasonable limits to new construction in existing neighborhoods....

The goal of DCFRD is to get a Zoning Overlay passed by demonstrating a visible level of support within Dallas and disseminating information through the site that educates homeowners and provides suggestions on how to show support for responsible development.

In addition to the outward signs of the awareness campaigns, many citizens are working directly and meeting with their council members, the zoning commission and other government bodies to ensure that reasonable building limits and controls are part of the proposed zoning overlay.

A zoning overlay is not intended to stop homeowners from renovating or improving their own houses. In fact, it encourages the expansion and/or improvement of existing houses. In addition, each neighborhood will still determine its own standards once an overlay is in place.

Nor does the overlay halt new construction and improvement of neighborhoods. But development companies are attempting to spread the idea that the zoning tool would create a “block war” within communities that have differing opinions on what limits should be. In reality, the overlay would primarily affect only new developed houses and simply limit their overall size, setbacks and height to proportionate levels in comparison to neighboring houses. It would eliminate that quick-flip profit of a larger house, which isn’t a popular notion for certain developers and realtors currently enjoying the lack of zoning controls.

Unregulated construction not only destroys the character of a neighborhood, it provides little economic benefit except for the parties who profit from the sale. Unregulated development is now rampant on many Dallas streets, with development companies running hundreds of crews to feed the teardown boom. The unregulated construction is not only disturbing and hazardous to existing residences, it is fueled by a low-interest economic housing “bubble” that has spiraled out of control and will leave behind an inconsistent legacy in many neighborhoods.

Let's read that again.

Unregulated construction not only destroys the character of a neighborhood, it provides little economic benefit except for the parties who profit from the sale.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Credit where credit is due

This is the story of a pretty little house up the street and what it went through to become a home again.

I cannot show the original house, but this is how it sat for fall and winter after the men with sledgehammers were done with it.

[Note: there are two demolition styles in this area, the big yellow dinosaur that munches it up in 2 days, and the non-resident laborers who are hired to hand demolish most of the structure. I can't say which has the greater advantage, I would not know how to measure that. I do not know if building material reclamation is being made in the slower method, but I do know the smash and scrape method does not recycle anything, other than a hazard or two.]

Along came the sign of a builder of good reputation in the area, who, to great sighs of relief, has made the best of this situation. Notice that the building design, although larger, is compatible with the tone of the area. The new house is designed be just a little taller while getting in its 2nd floor and attic rooms, and does not tower over the house next door. It respects the setting and the neighbors.

My research shows this house is being done by indivdual investors. Whether the investors or the builder came up with this design, it is a step in the right direction.

This is how it can work ... if we do not remove all the smaller housing stock ... to weave together a diverse older neighborhood.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mansions on Medway?

Looks like the first re-development on Medway is in process. This property changed hands June 5 and is for sale as a building lot. Funny, looks like a house and lot to me. The name on the flier matches the name of the person who brought our neighborhood the first 1.4 million manse on Royster. That would be 4x the value of the previous lot usage.

Here are pictures of both the house in question and the look of this wonderful settled street. Medway backs up to the new Oaks at Fallon Park development, an R-10 residential development. Up the hill from Fallon Park, Medway could face substantial changes if this redevelopment trend is unrestrained.