Tuesday, March 21, 2006

House Bloat

Today’s topic: Bloated houses.

It’s on my mind for a couple of reasons. First, the City Council on Monday night had a public hearing on whether to created a local historic district for the Hermitage Court area of Myers Park. The majority of the property owners on the street support the historic district, which would bring the possibility of up to a year’s wait if someone wanted to demolish a home. So it wouldn’t stop the teardown frenzy, but might slow it some. And Myers Park is being ravaged by teardowns. Consider the "starter castle" (above) on Queens Road West.

But here’s the other reason it’s on my mind. A friend sent me this link to something the alternative weekly Austin Chronicle has put online: Its Bloat-O-Meter. People send in photos and then online voters rate it 1 to 10, a 10 being “McMansion.”

What’s a McMansion? We all have different definitions, I suppose. To me it’s a pretentious new house built in a place where it’s too big for its neighbors, in many cases too big for the lot, and typically with a national-franchise predictability to its architecture (using the term loosely). Just being new and ugly doesn’t make something a McMansion. Being oversized and too show-offy are key ingredients.

I confess to having heightened sensitivity, because I live in a neighborhood where ’50s ranch houses are being torn apart, house by house, and replaced by houses with upwards of 6,000, or even 8,000 square feet. To my knowledge, only one of the families moving into the big new houses has enough kids to truly need that many bedrooms.

The construction has been unrelenting for five years. Builders rip out huge trees. They allow eroding dirt to pollute our creek. Construction trucks block the street, crack the pavement and gouge tracks in our lawns. While our property value has soared, that’s only worth something to us if we sell our house and move. Meanwhile, it means our property taxes have also soared. We used to think we could retire there. No more. The taxes will drive us out.

But enough about me. Take a look at the Austin Bloat-O-Meter. Don’t you think our McMansions can beat their McMansions any day of the week?


Jus' Tressie said...

I disdain unrestrained greed and individualism as much as the next person. But this:

"To my knowledge, only one of the families moving into the big new houses has enough kids to truly need that many bedrooms."

borders on condescending. Who are we to decide what someone needs? Maybe they think they need seperate office, living and work out space. That's their decision to make.

Having said that, however, I do think certain land and zoning requirements should be made to restrain houses that don't contribute to the cohesiveness of a neighborhood. On the other hand, if one hates it that much why isn't moving an option? Especially in light of soaring home values? I know some hard working folks who would love such a dilemma.

JAT said...

Two things: The correct Bloat-o-meter URL seems to be:


And hitting a dozen examples, I've rated the vast majority of the pics a 1 or anti-McMansion. There is nothing cookie-cutter about many of these homes, some of which look quite old, yet someone has rated them a 5 or 6 on the McMansion scale.

I personally have always hated the two-story foyer, a ridiculous waste of space I'm convinced that builders gravitated to once composite and aluminum spans became available because it is cheaper to frame and sheet rock the space if you ignore half of it.

But most buyers seems to like open ("noisy")and dramatic ("tacky") floorplans so what are you going to do?

Mary Newsom said...

Thanks, jat, for the correction. I've fixed the link above (I hope.)

bryan said...

It's the hard-knock life for you!
It's the hard-knock life for Mary!

It's the hard-knock life!
Got expensive houses being built next door!
I don’t want to pay my taxes to help the poor!
It's the hard-knock life!

Crime is low you’d think that’s great
We don’t even allow section eight
But it’s a hard-knock life!

My Property value is on the rise.
Why do things change, I hate free enterprise!
It’s a hard-knock life!

Myers Park schools are magnificent
We don’t have worry about “diversity”, overcrowding or low test placement!
But that doest mean It’s not a hard-knock life!

The west side has prostitution free zones
East side is littered with racist undertones
And in Myers Park it’s a hard-nock life.

It's the hard-knock life for Mary
It's the hard-knock life for her
You are treated like a lark
When you live in Myers Park
It's the hard-knock life
It's the hard-knock life
It's the hard-knock life!

Rick said...

So let me get this strait...

From Mary's previous blog post, it's bad to not have enough Section 8 housing in areas like Historic Myers Park. Yet, rental housing, Section 8 or not, tends to not be as well kept as owner occupied housing. It also tends to destroy that cherished neighborhood fabric so desired by the current residents. This is because renters tend to be more transient than owners.

The current post says that it's bad to build McMansions in these neighborhoods because it destroys the character/architecture/fabric of the neighborhood.

It sounds to me like it is OK to destroy the fabric of the neighborhood as long as you are NOT able to afford to actually own property in the neighborhood. If you ARE able to own property in the neighborhood, then you better leave everything in a 1950's time capsule.

I’m confused.

Jimmy Mac said...

No Rick you are not confuse that's the game that's played in our belove Charlotte Housing Grid,we who live in Meyers Park talk a good game of spreading section 8 out to the entire city,but at the same time they beg the City Leaders at last night's meeting to make their neighborhood "Historic and restricted.
No one really gives a hoot about poor folks or section 8 in reality,just keep them out of my "Yuppie Neighborhood".

Anonymous said...

Get a life and get over it, for crying out loud !! This is AMERICA and we (ALL OF US) can have and buy what we can afford. Maybe some of you would rather live in a communist state that dictates the size of our house and what we have. Quit trying to regulate and control the lives of others and put your energy towards improving your own life.

Anonymous said...

How dare people do with their land as they wish!

Don't some people know that their dream home may be offensive to Mary Newsom!!!

This is a big case of peepee envy.

Some Myers Park banker is feeling really good about himself with his 2,000 sq ft ranch until somebody wealthier builds a bigger house next door. Then 'oh my God, lets put a stop to people who want to build bigger houses than mine.'

Lets face it, this is all about ego. Houses to many are the most outward and visible expression of how they have made out in life. When somebody comes along and builds a multi-million dollar home next to yours, you get jealous and feel inferior, and now want city hall to enact ordanances to protect your frail ego.

Bottom line is, you do not need city hall. Just for a neighborhood association.

But then again, the reason they need city hall is that the McMansions are OK with the vast majority and it is only a vocal few whiners who need big government to step in.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that this area has more than its share of whiners and crybabies. I get so disgusted at all of the complaining about OTHER PEOPLE....What a great place this COULD be if even half that energy was targeted towards GOOD rather than tearing down others..

Anonymous said...

This is a tough issue. I'm pretty much into the theory of 'highest use of the land', which would mean the most expensive home possible, paying those property taxes so I won't have to. However, we are talking about Myers Park (or Dilworth, Elizabeth, etc.) and these are Charlotte's treasures. I live in Dilworth and I love the amazing diversity of the housing along streets like Mount Vernon and Berkeley. These streets are in a historic district and are under control of the Dilworth Association.

Yes, Dilworth has had tear-downs, but so far the houses have been in the spirit of the neighborhood, which does include some McMansions of the 1930s era.

Myers Park is a way different situation. Some lots there are worth more than the entire house and lot in Dilworth (and that is a LOT OF MONEY.) A teardown means investing $700,000 in the lot and then ... what ... $2 million in the home? I can understand why we are talking Mansion, not McMansion, in Myers Park.

I do think that Myers Park should go the route of historic district. That neighborhood is way too important to be left uncontrolled. The historic districts have really aided Dilworth and Elizabeth in the long run.

Oh, it is a hassle sometimes. But if it keeps a monster home from being built on the lot next door, it is worth it.

But I do think the historic districts need to be ready to compromise and be sensible about the huge investments these homeowners are making. So yes, McMansions will be coming, but at least they should be in the spirit of the neighborhood.

leftcoaster said...

Build them, and build them big. When a cut rate outlet mall is Charlotte's claim to fame, I would venture a guess that a few "tourist attraction homes" may be just what is needed. With the basic topography of a high desert, Charlotte needs something. The whitewater center sounds fantastic. Maybe next an indoor, year round ski resort. Those unique attractions would surely bring more than bankers and preachers (reference to the city being known as "banks and churches city"). So, as to not ruffle the delicate feathers of some, I love bankers, preachers, deserts, rafting, and God yes, SHOPPING! :)

Anonymous said...

I just looked at the Austin page. None of those houses are near as pretentious as some I see around here. Personally, I wish some of those builders would introduce their architecture to this market.

Face it Mary, this town is all about wealth, and many in this town love to flaunt it. Get over it! Though half the richies in this town don't stand a chance next to some of the money folks in New York and Connecticut, their insistance on bragging can be overbearing. But having said that, I say let them build!

What exactly do you want Mary? First you say too many starter homes are being built and bringing the market down, and then to many McMansions are being built driving other values up. What is your ideal world?

Many people I know who build these McMansions with giant foyers do more than just house their family of four. They often open their homes to entertain clients and community groups. Essentially, it's their very own showplace. Anything wrong with that? Not my idea of the ideal home, but I have visited many of them and had a great time.

Charlotte at least has plenty of choices for all income levels (unlike New York, Boston, California, etc.) Let's enjoy it while we can.

Anonymous said...

IT's difficult to determine that the objection to larger houses is based on anything other than emotions when the objections are so consistently framed in subjective, emotional terms.

Anonymous said...

The only objections to huge mansions are from the typical, liberal, class-warfare crowd.

How dare someone be rich and flaunt it!

Neighbors have the power to create a homeowners or neighborhood association and set up their own rules. Who wants City Hall to govern taste? Oh, I know who. The jealous, 'I am not that rich so lets punish the rich' crowd, and the nostalgic Newsoms of the world think Dilworth and MP are cute, quaint, throw backs to the old days.

Get over it, whiners.

When I bring guests from out of town, driving through mansionville in Myers Park is one of the most interesting tours.

Lots of huge, creative and unique mansions.

I do not tour Dilworth and go 'wow, look at that 1,300 sq ft 50 year old bungalow some idiot paid $500K for so he could brag he lives in Dilworth'.

It's all about ego.

Next you'll ask City Hall to ban Porsches because you cant afford one of those either and you're feeling inferior.

Anonymous said...

First, this is not an issue of envy. Knee-jerk reactions like "The only objections to huge mansions are from the typical, liberal, class-warfare crowd. How
dare someone be rich and flaunt it!" are not helpful in understanding the dynamics of the problem.

There is value in preserving treasures from our past. I cannot afford to live in this area, but I do understand concerns about scale and aesthetics. If you view housing as a mere commodity, then the McMansion issue is non-issue to you. If you view housing as a function of community, then the McMansion intrusion is a big deal.

BUT, those who sell their small ranches will make a lot of money. Who can argue with that? Again, from a purely economic perspective, you can't. Yet, life and community are about more than money. Maybe I don't WANT to get rich in a real estate windfall. Maybe I prefer to stay in my small-scale neighborhood and retire near friends, family and church. As Mary pointed out, though, some will be forced out in retirement because of the high taxes.

The flip side of the situation is more interesting. We typically don't get too stressed when low-income communities get gentrified. Why, because it's good for them! We're bringing in more tax revenue, reinvestment and creating jobs. In Meyers Park, a perverse case of ubergentrifiers pushing out the gentry is occuring. Wow, who would have thunk that?

Anonymous said...

Farm communities get razed for new starter home subdivisions all the time, Noda is being razed, Derita has had this going on for years, First ward, Wesley Heights. This is just a case of NIMBY nothing else.

Anonymous said...

" The only objections to huge mansions are from the typical, liberal, class-warfare crowd."

Actually, I'm almost certain most of the complaints are from residents in the older neighborhoods who care more about the the quality, history, and cohesiveness,as jus'tressie put it, than the size of the house. If you want to build a huge McMansion, goto weddington, not myers park or closer into the city. One neighborhood that I do like with "possible" McMansions is Pellyn Woods. I put possible in quotations because almost every house is fitting to it's plot of land and it very distinct, no cookie cutter mansions in there, however, they are quite large.

Anonymous said...

There is an easy solution to preserving all this 'history' as you put it...

Just form a small group of investors and pool your money and buy all the houses in neighborhoods you want to protect.

Let the class know how that works out - LOL

Government legislating taste? Come on.

This whole thing is diversion. The issue is NOT preserving history. The issue is house envy, and 'who moved my cheese'.

You paid big bucks for a run down 'quaint' houses in Dilworth and used to feel like the top of the heap.

Now some 35 year old rich dude who made it big in Investment Banking (and doesn't like repairing leaking pipes every weekend) wants to spend $2 on a teardown and all of a sudden you don't feel so good anymore.

Please, Mayor McCrory, don't let the new money into my neighborhood and ruin my good thing!

Waaaa waaa.

Anonymous said...


I am thinking about renovating and expanding my vintage Myers Park home to accomodate a growing family. Can you use your social conscience to give me an idea of the appropriate square footage for the five of us? I would just die if I offended someone who knows better.

MP Blogger said...

I don't have a problem with the criticism of houses being out of scale for a lot or street. It's a valid opinion from a design point of view. While it's cool to see some of the new architecture, some of these new homes on Maryland and Sterling look ridiculous compared to their neighbors.

Anonymous said...

A family of 5, eh? No less than 6,000 square feet would be appropriate for such a large family. I would also suggest multiple stoves (Viking or Wolf), dishwashers (Miele) and Refrigerators. The kids will eventually be driving, so a 5-car garage is necessary.

Each child must have their own room and you will need a minimum of two-guest rooms for the in-laws and holidays.


Anonymous said...

Our McMansions in Myers Park and in some of the New Developments to the south can certainly beat these....The Starter Castle or as we call it "The Bed and Breakfast" would be the first on the list......but I wouldn't include any of the vintage homes that were built large in the first place...mainly because they fit the lot dimensions.

Anonymous said...

>>A family of 5, eh? No less than 6,000 square feet would be appropriate for such a large family.>>

I am assuming that was sarcasm.

Good for them if they have 10,000 sq feet and 10 viking ranges and sub zero fridges.

Why do YOU care what someone else does with their house?

It can be summed up by the opening line in this thread by jus'tressie:

'I disdain unrestrained greed and individualism as much as the next person'

You disdain 'INDIVIDUALISM' ?????

So did Karl Marx and Fidel Castro.

THis is the root motivator of people who are anti-mansion.

Envy, jealousy, hatred (yes, hatred) of people who have ACHEIVED more that you have.

Oh, I forgot, all rich people got rich by stepping on the necks of the working class and crafting underhanded deals that shafted the commoners.

You commies are pathetic. Move to Cubba and see how you like it there.

Meanwhile, leave all the hard working, rich dudes alone. They earned the right to do whatever the hell they want with THEIR money.

Anonymous said...

Someone asked what did Mary really want given the conflicting opinions expressed in differing article posts.

Mary and those like Mary seek control because they know with great certainity how the rest of us should act, shop, eat, drink,live, commute, raise and educate children, etc...

Mary and those like Mary might not be leaders, successful, informed, or involved in the community as those they wish to control but that is irrelavent because Mary's know best.

How dare anyone not submit to the control of the Mary's of the world who seek with pure intent and purpose only community good?

Anonymous said...

Mary,Mary Quite Contrary
How much more can your envy grow?
With conceit and fear,and a voice so shrill

Perhaps, you should move to Monroe?

Jus' Tressie said...

wow some people see what they want to see huh?

To anon who compares my concern about how my actions affect the world around me to Marxism I say you must have a very definition of Marxist cultural theory than the millions around the world.

I made it clear that people are entitled to do as they please with their money even if it doesn't suit my personal taste.

i also made it clear that a person always has options. in this case Mary could move or decide to keep up or hate it and stew in silence.

Why does the inability to hold two seemingly opposing ideas simultaneously seem to be so difficult for some folks.

I can both not like your house AND think you have the right to buy it.

Sheesh people. A little perspective and reading comprehension please.

Anonymous said...

"Why do YOU care what someone else does with their house?"

And that's the rub. I don't. Buy as many appliances as your heart desires. Paint it any color you like. Stuff your garage full of old magazines. It's your house.

However, when "what you do with your house" affects my house and quality of life, I have a problem. Just as we regulate noise (you can't turn up your stereo to 11 on your front porch at 3AM can you?), there are limits to whatever you want to do.

If your McMansion casts shadows on my garden, you've affected me personally. If your McMansion causes my property value, thus my taxes, to rise astronomically, you've affected me. If your building footprint destroys pervious surfaces and forces more runoff onto my property, you've affected me. YOUR property rights end where mine begin.

Anonymous said...

I think thats a beautiful house. Maybe your just jealous?

Anonymous said...

Shadows? We're concerned about shadows? Really?

I'll believe that's a reall issue of your rights when people start lobbying to restrict the planting of new trees that may cast a shadwo on your property.

Anonymous said...

If I've installed solar panels, then yeah, I'm concerned about shadows. If I have to bleach my house every 2 years because it's always shady and damp, then yes. THINK!

Anonymous said...

If your McMansion casts shadows on my garden, you've affected me personally. If your McMansion causes my property value, thus my taxes, to rise astronomically, you've affected me.

Then you should have bought all the surrounding property to ensure your garden had light.

Until then, you have learn to get along with your neighbors, even if they remind you daily via their house that they are richer than you.

Is this the best argument? That manions are RAISING your property value and subsequent taxes?

I though new urbanist liberals LOVED higher taxes!

Oh, sorry, they just want OTHER people to pay for higher taxes.



Anonymous said...

I see. So if someone builds a log cabin next door, then I should have bought up the land to keep that from happening.

The free marketeers are fundamentalists. Never mind the fact that their perfect market doesn't exist. What does the misinterpreted book of Smith say regarding this? What does the invisible hand deign? It's religion and doesn't require thought.

Anonymous said...

>>So if someone builds a log cabin next door>>

So what if somebody does. It's their land.

What if your kids are fat and ugly? I REALLY don't like fat and ugly kids living next door to me. I think I will get City Hall to pass an ordinance declaring Dilworth an 'ugly-free' zone, so I can celebrate my version of beauty in my neighborhood.

If you don't want this sort of thing, form a neighborhood association and set the rules to say you can't tear a house down and build a great big one.


The problem with that is none of the neighbors would buy in, since they want to keep the FREEDOM do sell their home to someone who may want to do a teardown.

This is a classic example of why a small vocal minority needs city hall. Because the masses do NOT support it, so they won't act. Get a few noisy whiners in front of the Mayor and try to get law passed legislating your personal taste.

erin said...

So many of the ginormous houses being built today are more eyesores than architectural marvels. And they're eyesores that are identical to the other houses on the street. If you're going to spend the money for a huge house, why not put some into making it visually appealing on the outside as well?

Anonymous said...

To the poster concerned with shadows who admonished, "THINK":

Oh, I thnk, all right. I think you're playing the part of Rubberman: stretching credulity.

The fact is that no one is, has or is ever likely to complain about the tall, old trees in the neighborhoods concerned, whether or not they cast a shadow that crosses property lines. Nor, for that matter have I heard of anyone complaining about the shadows cast by existing houses. The original comment about shadows impacting someone's garden were little more than an effort to find something to complain about. And what was found was the thinest of complaints: that the new two or two and a half story house will somehow cast a shadow that is unacceptable while the existing two or two and half story house will not.

The real issue for almost everyone complaining about these houses boils down to only a few things: they are "not interesting" or "ugly", or the people building them don't really "need" them, or they destroy the sense of neighborhood community.

Almost everyone has heard that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". That is no less true if one is discussing architecture, and ought to make it obvious that it is impossible to impose some sort of universal orthodoxy about what looks good and what does not. With that comes the reality that we all live near people and things that we think do not look as we would have them. Most people also realize that is simply part of life. We do as we prefer with that which is ours, and while we may scratch our heads and wonder at the choices made by others, we also know that their choices are not ours to make.

The criticisms based on what people need suffer from a disconnect with reality: almost no one, including the people who make these criticisms, "need" the amoutn of space they occupy. People build or buy houses based very marginally on their needs, and largely on their wants. And the simple fact is that the wants of one perosn are no more or less valid than those of another.

Those those two categorie of complaint are utterly ridiculous is obvious to anyone who approaches the matter in a non-ideological fashion. The only complaint of any substance is the final one: that changing the mix of housing in a neighborhood may destroy the sense of community.

They will certainly change the nature of a neighborhood to some dgree. In all honesty I don't think most people actually know their neighbors particularly well -pretty much since the advent of airconditioning, evenings spent on the porch chatting with neighbors have grown relatively rare. As a result I don't know that there really is an active sense of community in most neighborhoods. What there may be is a sense of identification: people in this city commonly respond to a question of where they live by identifying a neighborhood or subdivision. I doubt that is destroyed by a changing mix of houses or people, although how people feel about that identification certainly may be altered. And how they feel about their "position" in that neighborhodd may well be altered in a negative fashion, particularly if their house had been among the larger or more impressive houses in the neighborhood.

In any event, those criticisms, when they come from people who support what is often referred to as a progressive approach ot the city are ironic, since they amount to resisting change in some neighborhoods, while calling for huge changes in the city. Elsewhere in this blog there are voices speaking about change being good, being inevitable, being the fundamental goal. The neighborhoods around South Blvd are being changed dramatically, but we seek nothing less than enforcing the maintenance of the status quo for Meyers Park, for example.

There's more than a little irony there, no matter how it is dressed up.

Anonymous said...

>>So many of the ginormous houses being built today are more eyesores than architectural marvels>>

100% your personal opinion.

I drive down Colville in Myers Park and look at all the new 8,000sq ft homes and I think they are stunning. No two are the same, and they use all kinds of stone, metals and architecture that you dont see anywhere else.

I wish I had one (albeit not in Meck. county).

Anonymous said...

I live in Myers Park and generally agree that folks should be able to build what they want. Having said that, however, I wish developers and consumers would show a little better judgement in some of these designs. Independent of the individual tastes in architecture and style, it makes me sad to see all of the "green space" disappearing - many of these massive homes have almost no yard at all. Again, not saying that someone else doesn't have the right to build that way. But it definitely changes (negatively in my opinion)the landscape and the original intent behind this neighborhood. I guess its a good thing the Greenway and Freedom Park are around so there will be a few strips of grass preserved in the neighborhood!

Anonymous said...

After reading these diatribes, I'm not surprised that Charlotte is getting to be so ugly.

You all miss the point about SCALE and what it does to everything around it. The 17,000 square foot monster in question is completely out of proportion with everything around it. It makes one of the most beautiful streets in this city laughable.

Beyond the sheer ugliness of it, the cladding isn't even real. My God, if you've got that much money to build such a thing, would you not have used REAL stone?

Disgusted in Union Co said...

Mary Newsom wrote:

"But enough about me. Take a look at the Austin Bloat-O-Meter. Don’t you think our McMansions can beat their McMansions any day of the week?"

Ha! It took me this long to check out the "Bloat-O-Meter" and...Mary's right! The McMansions in Austin are modest in size and almost tasteful in design...I didn't see even one that could equal the sheer ugliness and inappropriateness of any new McMansion on Maryland Avenue or Queens Road West, or in the attrocious subdivisions along Providence Road in Union County or almost any subdivision in Marvin.

And I thought things were all supposed to be BIGGER in Texas! ;-)

Seriously, the only other problem with the Bloat-O-Meter is there's no context: Some of the houses pictured might be perfectly in scale with their neighborhoods. If they are, they're not necessarily the worst sort of McMansions. Ugly wall-to-wall subdivisions consisting exclusively of such monstrosities are bad, but destroying a pleasant street with a teardown-replacement trophy house is worse. Contrary to what the "ME FIRST" posters on this topic would say, residents of a neighborhood do bear some responsibility for maintaining the architectural, spatial, and taste standards of their street.

Oh, you say no? What's that you say? Socialism?

Sorry folks, as part of a community an individual still bears some responsibility to the community. That's not socialism, that's good citizenship.

Ed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ed said...

Jesus, who are these raving lunatics that are losing their minds over some criticism of wasteful housing? Criticize something a conservative supports and then you are an elitist communist and a hater of all that America stands for. I guess by their logic if I own a piece of land in Myers Park it's OK to build a house in the shape of a human butt because it's my land and I can do what I want. Other people's views and property values be damned.

Probably the same person over and over since they are all anonymous.

Love that picture of that horrid house on Queens. It's ugly and it ruins the look of the street

rebecca said...

What the " if they have the money thay can build what they want" crowd seems to miss is that in a very real way these folks are in effect stealing the homes right from under long term residents who bought the house they could afford and are now being forced to move due to inability to pay increased taxes -- in my case from 1800 a year to over 7,000 -- and no, my house did not sell for anywhere near where the stated tax value. But I had to uproot my family because the "I'm rich so I get what I want" crowd could build vulgar ugly housees in my formerly pretty and modest nieghborhood.

Anonymous said...

I wonder fo you're consistent in that "leave things as they were when I got here" argument? So often here I see people support the idea of government sponsored and facilitated change (S. Blvd corridor, etc.) by pointing out that those who oppose change only want to cling to a past that cannot and should not be regained. But I suspect that it is often the same people who want neighborhoods to look like they have been transported to an earlier time.

Anonymous said...

I don't care about "leaving things as they are" -- just wanted to be able to leave my own home as it was -- with me in it! I don't understand why if someone builds a McMansion next door to me my tax value goes up - how is my house suddenly worth ten times more because it sits next store? Nothing changed on my house, so the value should stay the same. In the bigger picture, by driving middle class families north and south with their draconian taxes, Charlotte is creating the mess the schools are in now -- people are not fleeing the suburbs b/c of racism -- they are fleeing because of economics! These McMansions are contributing to the runaway taxes that are sinking Charlotte.

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