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The McMansion Ordinance Doesn't Hurt 9300 Square Foot Lots, You Idiots

Today's article in the Statesman is making me breathe fire. Of course this couple can build a big house - they have a 9300 square foot lot! That's a very large lot for Central Austin. And, of course, they're a family of 3.

Try running the same calculation on a more-typical lot of 7000 square feet, or on my lot of 6000 square feet. The impact of this ordinance is that families like mine (4) and my next-door neighbor (5) must choose between a normal second-story on the same footprint as the existing small house, and a garage apartment (which they already have; and I'd someday like to have). It's going to drive families out of the urban core neighborhoods; exactly the opposite of what we should be encouraging.

AustinContrarian is posting an excellent series about this ordinance. He's up to Reason 7 to hate the McMansion Ordinance as of today. Highly recommended.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Austin , When Neighborhoods Go Bad


You beat me to it.

The article didn't mention the square footage of the redesigned house, did it? Strange, at least for an article about the effect of the McMansion limitations.

Yes, that article was quite the puff-piece, wasn't it? They took the most ideal situation they could find. Did they even attempt to find a second viewpoint? I guess they sel-fjustified the lack of depth to the article by way of the fact that it's in the living section.

My crackpot theory as to why people think they need large houses: They prefer indoor space over outdoor space. They have no need for the outdoors, so they strive to essentially not have any outdoor space on their lots. No wonder America is getting soft.

I've always wondered why there wasn't more opposition from architects to the McMansion ordinance. I should have figured it out earlier. As the Statesman examples make clear, it'll take a lot of creative work from designers to get around these restrictions.

Not that there's anything bad about using architects. You're bound to get more creative and sensitive designs.

But creativity is expensive.

If you eat a McGriddle in your McMansion, it takes the edge off it a little.