Tuesday, June 2, 2009

You say McMansion....

In today's paper there was a column, from Froma Harrop, on the demise of the McMansion, and the effect that the current economic crisis is having on the American home. (http://www.creators.com/opinion/froma-harrop.html?columnsName=fha) It was hard not to read it and gloat, just a mite, as she repeated arguments that I and others made several years ago to the Ashland Planning Commission and City Council. We were pushing for the adoption of what has since become known as the "Maximum House Size" ordinance, a provision that limits the size of a dwelling within Ashland's National Register listed historic districts. At the time a certain segment of this enlightened community acted as if even a generous limit on their house (about 3000 square feet) was a near socialist act, the first step on the road to total government control of private property.

Of course, as predicted, nobody really NEEDS a special room for gift-wrapping or to play video games (or a roof that was to slide back and reveal a telescope...really) and now that their stocks and 401K have tanked those that built such monstrosities are struggling to unload them, often at huge losses. All of which is fairly predictable. If I have enough capital to chase my wildest dream, I am unlikely to want to purchase YOUR wildest dream, aren't I?

Harrop even talks about the fact that these monsters are often in just those portions of a community where their charm is based on a small scale, a walkable terrain, and an established neighborhood. Maybe the downsizing of the American home, to match the similar reduction in family size, will be one silver lining in the economic situation we now find ourselves.

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