Tampa McMansions block the sun, loom over older ranches

A hot housing market in Tampa has led to a number of teardown McMansions that loom over the older homes of neighbors:

If there’s one trend that has characterized Tampa Bay’s new-home market in recent years, it’s the proliferation of huge new houses replacing or overwhelming smaller ones in established neighborhoods like Davis Islands and St. Petersburg’s Snell Isle. Many Realtors and property owners welcome the new construction, which is boosting sales and driving up value.

But it can be less than wonderful for homeowners who live next to these enormous abodes. They must endure months of banging and pounding, only to face the prospect of diminished privacy and an inevitable change in the look and feel of the neighborhood…

Because of federal flood insurance rules, the new house had to be elevated so much that its first floor was above the level of the Dodges’ 6-foot fence. “Where their feet walk is higher than our fence,” Dodge said. “The fence didn’t give us privacy any more.”…

Levine said she and Lentz aren’t opposed to new homes, only to huge ones that sit a few feet from neighboring property and loom over everything around them. The couple have stopped trimming their large fan palms, but even those aren’t big enough to block the view of their yard from the McMansion’s second floor.

These are common complaints about teardowns: the new homes are significantly larger than the original homes in the neighborhood. The pictures accompanying the story provide the image: mid-twentieth century ranch homes next to hulking McMansions (that also are now following new guidelines to help limit flooding damage). This story doesn’t contain much reference to another common complaint – changing the character of the neighborhood – but it is easy to see why having such big houses suddenly show up next door could draw negative reactions.

The next step in this process would likely involve going to the municipal level and trying to get develop restrictions on teardowns. However, this doesn’t always happen: there likely needs to be a critical mass of teardowns, enough of the existing residents of these neighborhoods may not mind selling their properties for big money, and it can be daunting to try to push forward such regulations.

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