McMansion construction next door can violate your rights?

A New York woman claims teardown McMansions in her neighborhood violate her rights:

The view from Evelyn Konrad’s backyard has been ruined, she claims, by a massive house built behind hers. The Southampton attorney is suing village officials, claiming they should not allow the building of so-called “McMansions.” She wants them “to be cut down. They’re not allowed to be there. Sure, chop them down,” Konrad said.

The term “McMansion” was coined more than a decade ago to describe the crop of super-sized new houses. Konrad claims Southampton village officials violated her rights by approving the larger homes on half-acre lots – 4,000-6,000 square-foot houses — that dwarf tiny capes.

“In architecture scale is a factor, and these houses are overscaled for the area they are in,” Konrad said…

They said the homes comply with village code, but Konrad claims those who enacted the code had conflicts of interest.

“They all profit from it. They partner with the spec builders,” Konrad said.

This is an update to a news story covered in an earlier post.

Such debates about teardown McMansions are common: long-time residents of neighborhoods tend to see the big homes as intruding on the character of the neighborhood as well as driving up property taxes and prices while others argue property owners should be able to do what they want with the property they own. But, Konrad highlights what is often behind these debates: who has the rights to do what they want? Should a property owner be at mercy of what their neighbor does? Should the community be able to limit what people build and, if so, how much can they limit? What are the rights of property owners versus over nearby parties? Should community or individual interests win out? These are not easy questions to answer and are the same issues present in cases of eminent domain. Hence, the heated situations where neighbors take sides in response to McMansions.

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