Sorry I'm a bit behind. I've had a busy weekend. This story was posted last Thursday, and while it might not directly relate to bubble issues, it's still interesting to consider. Summary: McMansions in Kirkland may be getting out of hand .
As Kirkland becomes a destination for new luxury homes — many taking maximum advantage of the lot space — residents worry that the new houses are changing the feel of their communities.Hmm. I think he's got a point. Here's my plan: Every home within a 5 mile radius of each of King County's downtown centers should be no less than a $350,000 condo or a $700,000 McMansion. All apartment complexes should be converted, and all small old houses should be torn down and replaced with more "appealing" homes of no less than 3,000 square feet. Also, no home (condo or house) is allowed to be without granite countertops. If we implement my plan, King County will have the most appealing cities on the planet! It's foolproof!
The concerns have led the city to take a hard look at the rules for determining how large homes can get. Proposed changes will be presented at a public hearing tonight.
The issue is not unique to Kirkland. Across Puget Sound, communities are seeing small homes on modest lots being replaced by much bigger homes that often seem out of scale and overwhelming to neighbors.
To [Loren] Spurgeon, [chair of the city's Market Neighborhood Association,] more out-of-scale homes mean fewer people can afford to live in Kirkland, making the city less diverse.
"It's improving the value of the homes, but the blowback from it is that retired folks are unable to continue to live here," Spurgeon said.
Others have mixed feelings. Russel Smith has lived in his home on Seventh Avenue West since 1967 and, while he's not happy that his taxes have increased, he said the new homes improve Kirkland's appeal.
"It is changing the quality of life," he said. "I've lived here since 1967, and back then it was a town of little bungalows that were thrown up quickly for the ship workers. I didn't think it looked too nice."
(Lisa Chiu, Seattle Times , 06.08.2006)