Wrong Way to Curb McMansions

I’m against McMansions as much or more than anybody (see this U.S. 1 story), but I have big questions about new rules being rushed through Princeton Council that aim to curb them.

Says architect Marina Rubina, who lives in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, “Our elected officials decided to take on the issue of “tear downs and McMansions” and solve it in one month without thinking it through or giving the public a chance to weigh in. The problem is that what they are proposing won’t stop McMansions, but will hurt a lot of people and lower income people much more than others.”

Here’s a quick read: the opinion of Walkable Princeton, an organization I respect. It has links to the ordinances presented at council last week. An excerpt:

Unfocused restrictions on FAR will have some effect on reducing the numbers of ‘McMansions’, but it will also make it harder for people to build rooms for aging parents, or to sell their homes at full value. A stealth downzoning appears to be underway, in the rush to be seen to be doing something about development that many residents consider ‘ugly’ or ‘not fitting the neighborhood’. But for many homeowners, the new restrictions may prove costly in the long-term. 

It’s complicated. I can’t decide. But we can all ask Princeton Council to take more time to decide. Council meets at 7 pm tonight (November 30) on another matter and is supposed to vote on Monday, December 7. Come to either meeting or send a note to somebody on council with the message “WAIT . . .. LISTEN” before you take a vote.

1 thought on “Wrong Way to Curb McMansions

  1. I just saw your older post about “Why Not Oriental,” and immediately thought of my father’s rug business selling and repairing Oriental carpets. Toward the end of his life, I winced every time I heard the word, but had no better suggestion. I kept my mouth shut, figuring at his advanced age he gets a pass, but I still don’t have a better word. If one searches for “Oriental” on the ABC Carpet & Home website, it brings up lots of carpets, but that word is never actually used. Instead they attribute each carpet to the specific region it came from. But no overall term for the genre.​

    Have a nice Thanksgiving Barbara!

    Faith Bahadurian

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    *SAVE THE DATE for my December 2, 7:00pm, Crazy for Cookbooks panel discussion at the Princeton Public Library with Yours Truly, Alex Levine, Christopher Hirsheimer, Melissa Hamilton, Pat Tanner, & Rachel Weston (moderator).*

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