11 comments

  1. Decaturguy says:

    The fuss is about how so many people want to live intown these days (for the culture, the lack of commute, etc.), but they want to move the same type of house they had back in Cobb and Gwinnett counties into small lots in old neighborhoods. So they buy an old house, tear it down, and build a house that is 3 or 4 times larger than the surrounding houses. It changes the landscape of a neighborhood dramatically and it happens very, very quickly.

  2. Erick says:

    Thanks Decaturguy, that’s a better explanation than anything I’ve read about it. It also is troubling and I understand the concern now.

    I like old neighborhoods. They have character. McMansions do not.

  3. Dignan says:

    DecaturGuy is correct that they change neighborhoods. But this is a good thing and is an inevitable part of change. Do we really not want intown Atlanta to continue to grow and improve? The hypocrisy and ignorance of the anti-McMansion people is astounding. These are the same people who complain about the lack of good public transportation but them complain about high rise apartments proposed near Piedmont Park because they will “ruin the character” of the neighborhood. Well the “character” of the neighborhood is the very reason that there is such a lack of public transportation. Good public transportation requires great density of development.

    A ban on McMansions will halt the good growth that ITP has had over the past 10 years.

  4. billy says:

    ” These are the same people who complain about the lack of good public transportation but them complain about high rise apartments proposed near Piedmont Park because they will “ruin the character

  5. Dignan says:

    billy: I see you ignored the moral of your own story by implying that I am one of the OTP Republican types who sneer at, as you say, the “intown-pinko-commie-Democrats”. I live ITP, always have, always will. I lived in E Atlanta before it became what it is now.

    I am not saying that the city doesn’t have the right to place a ban on McMansions. I am saying that it is stupid and will slow growth ITP, especially in areas like Inman Park or Oakhurst.

    I am lumping in many of the people in these neighborhoods as all they seem to care about is NIMBY. If the main issue was “maintaining the character” of Intown neighborhoods, the first thing we would do would be to get rid of the interestates running through the city and reconnnect the neighborhoods that were destroyed. But that obviously isn’t going to happen. The City of Atlanta needs the growth that is occuring to keep it from being irrelevent.

  6. Decaturguy says:

    Billy: I agree. The people who oppose the high rise condos in Midtown are not the same people who oppose McMansions. I support high density housing near public transit. However, McMansions do not help improve density or public transportation. People who live in McMansions are less likely to ride public transit and usually McMansion construction actually decreases density.

    Dingan: I don’t think that tearing down old neighborhoods to replace them with the same housing stock you see in the suburbs is a “good thing.” Sure, there are houses that are beyond repair, or were never worthwhile in the first place, that should be replaced. But lets try to replace them with new houses that fit in with the neighborhood. The reason to restrict McMansions is to protect the long term viability of intown neighborhoods so that it will maintain the character that brought people to these neighborhoods in the first place. If these neighborhoods become the same as what people were trying to escape in the suburbs then they will lose their appeal and people will stop moving there.

    I don’t think putting restrictions on McMansions will slow growth intown at all. You mentioned Inman Park. Inman Park already has some of the same restrictions that the city wants to incorporate in other neighborhoods (it is a historic district). Has that slowed growth in Inman Park? No. It is one of the hottest neighborhoods intown. Why? Because they value protecing historic properties and new construction is compatible with the old construction.

  7. The notion that people “escaped” the suburbs to move in town is ridiculous. Sure, some people who are born and raised in Marietta move to the city when they turn 18, but they generally aren’t the ones buying $500,000 houses.

    What if a family of four (or five) that lives intown decides to have another baby, or adopt or whatever. Is there some sort of rule that says if you want to live in a 5 bedroom house it has to be in Cumming?

    People pick neighborhoods because of location or because of the people who live there. Oftentimes they like the style of houses but that’s usually because that is the type of house in their price range, they can afford it and we generally are preferential to the things that we can actually attain.

    If you bought a house because you could afford X and there happened to be an X priced house near a place you wanted to live, why should you have to move now that you can afford 2X if you can just rebuild your current house to match the specifics?

    Property values go up for everyone when new housing stock replaces the old, so what is the big deal besides class envy of those who can’t afford to upgrade their house?

    I think we can all agree that a good architect would make sure that the house fits in, and maybe that can be codified, but I just don’t think in America you can tell someone what type of house they can build on land that they own.

    Northern Virginia has this ridiculous ordinance where you can only remodel the original house and you can’t tear down/rebuild. So they have all of these huge houses and when you look around the back of the house you see the original house like a little tumor attached to the newer house. Is that what we want here?

  8. Decaturguy says:

    “I think we can all agree that a good architect would make sure that the house fits in, and maybe that can be codified, but I just don’t think in America you can tell someone what type of house they can build on land that they own.”

    Nobody has a problem with building new houses intown to replace old houses, so long as they fit into the scale of the neighborhood. That is not what we are talking about here. What we are talking about is the building of 7,000 to 8,000 square foot McMansions next to 1,500 square foot bungalows.

    I live in one of these neighborhoods, and your statement that people are not moving in from the suburbs is simply incorrect. People are moving in from Cobb and Gwinnett in droves. These are the people buying the McMansions. Most people in 1,500 square foot bungalows don’t wake up the next day and decide to live in a 7,000 square foot house. No. The people who already live intown, who need a larger house for family reasons, etc., and want to stay intown, actually care about their neighborhoods, and will make sure that the new house they upgrade to is compatible with the neighborhood. A 2,500 to 3,000 square foot house, maybe yes, but not a 7,000 square foot monster of a house.

    This is not about class envy. It is about preserving the dignity of our neighborhoods.

    For those who do think it is about class envy, and that people should have unlimited rights to do what they want with their property, I ask this question, would you believe the same way if someone wanted to build a trailer home next door to you?

  9. billy says:

    memberg, sorry, I meant 10th street. I was reffering to the proposed condo towers on the east side of the park by Park Tavern.

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