Tear It Down or Build It Up?

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Teardowns, knockdowns, bash-and-builds vs. McMansions, pop-tops, and snout homes: It’s a war out there these days, as detailed in today’s New York Times articlethat would get anyone’s heart racing — even if you didn’t own a home.

What’s happening is that folks are buying homes and hoping to tear them down to rebuild bigger ones or take existing homes and morph them into McMansions, of sorts. Communities where this is happening such as Laguna Beach, Calif., Nantucket, Mass., and Ocean City, N.J., are putting their foot down and getting help from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to slow down the madness.

One funny anecdote in the article dealt with a real estate agent who was given the OK to build an addition to his home in Lewes, Del., but to make room, he needed to knock down a dilapidated chicken coop on the property that dated back to the 1800’s. Thinking it would be a slam-dunk to get the go-ahead in a public hearing he was met with fierce public disapproval and did not get the OK. The reason? It lent “value to the streetscape.”

So, whenever you drive down the street and see a dilapidated building ready to fall over, a community ordinance could be protecting its right to stand there — albeit sloppily.

 

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