City wants to avoid McMansion development because the new residents would then demand upgrades to the sewege treatment plant

I’ve seen a number of objections to McMansions over the years but I’ve never seen this particular argument made by the city of Santa Rosa, California:

Santa Rosa has renewed its interest in buying a former dairy to create a buffer zone at the regional sewage treatment plant on Llano Road…

The dairy is no longer in operation, but part of the property continues to be leased as pasture, Maresca told the board. There also are four rental homes on the property and a cellular tower.

The property has previously been marketed as suitable for as many as seven “McMansions” with “little hobby vineyards,” Maresca told the board.

That’s what the city wants to avoid. If such homes were built near the plant, future neighbors might complain about noise, odors and glare from plant operations and try to force the city to spend millions in upgrades.

So the city wants to avoid McMansions because it will then lead to spending more money on the sewage treatment plant? This is an unusual rationale: cities often avoid McMansions because of concerns about teardowns or homes that “don’t fit” with the character of the community or objections to sprawl. This is out of concern about possible NIMBY concerns that the city wouldn’t want to deal with. This is one way to try to avoid NIMBY situations…

There could be other ways around this issue rather than framing it as an issue of trying to avoid future problems. Why not purchase the land and then zone it for a commercial or industrial or agricultural use (apparently on the table before) that wouldn’t be so harmed by being near the sewage treatment plant? Why not make it some sort of park or open space (also on the table before)? It seems odd to me to argue about contentious future residents rather than framing this as an opportuntiy for the city to make better use of this land.

One does have to wonder: how bad is it near this sewage treatment plant if Santa Rosa is really concerned about how much the McMansions residents might complain?

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