Can townhouses look like McMansions?

One resident claims units in a proposed townhouse development “look like a bit like the stereotypical “McMansions. Here is a description of the proposed units as well as an artistic rendering:

“The idea is to capture the transient market of people coming from urban areas to work at the colleges,” Buhl said.  “They would ultimately buy a house, but don’t know where to locate.  We’re looking for young, two-worker families.  It’s an in-between type of rental of higher-end people that we’re looking for.”

Cayuga Farms has gone through several changes over the past recent years.  Originally it was conceived as a 144 unit townhouse condominium community.  Today it is being packaged as a 102 rental two and three bedroom townhouses with one or two-car garages in a total of 21 buildings.  Buhl characterized it as a high-end development targeted at young families who may have moved to town to work here, renting for a while before purchasing a house.  He said rents will range between about $1,800 and 2,200 per month…

cayugafarms elevation
An artist’s elevation of the proposed design for the townhouse buildings

These do seem to be aimed at a wealthier renter. So, could these be McMansions? These townhouses do appear to have some of the features tied to McMansions. A multi-gabled roof. Big emphasis on garages. A mish-mash of styles on the facade. Possibly two-story entryways (the windows right above the door do suggest this). Odd dormers on the third story. Windows of all sorts of sizes. Porticos at the front door. Height and width that seems to dwarf the green space between the driveways.

Yet, I think not being single-family homes is a big barrier as McMansions are viewed by critics as cartoonish versions of the single-family house. The design of townhouses seems not to be as much of an issue. Perhaps this is because there are fewer design options for townhouses or because they tend to be located within their own developments (avoids teardown situations) or density is a bigger issue for opponents compared to design.

My verdict: these look like McMansions but can’t quite be labeled McMansions.

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