Though it was original published back January, I just recently came across a post on the Historian for Hire blog about teardowns in Montgomery County. It focuses on a house in North Four Corners that was recently razed and replaced with a McMansion. It's definitely worth a read.
One thing that I found particularly interesting was a map included in the post. It was originally produced by the Montgomery County Planning department and illustrates the distribution of teardowns across the county. What's striking is the large disparity in the number of teardowns in Silver Spring when compared with Chevy Chase, Bethesda and Potomac. (Granted, the map was created in 2006 and there certainly have been some more teardowns here since that time, though I'm sure there's been just as many or more to the west of us.)
|Teardowns in SoMoCo|
|The Next Trend?|
Why tear down a perfectly good house in favor of a McMansion? Perhaps you need larger gold bar storage rooms or additional quarters for your manservants. Who knows. When they've finished with everything to the west of us, will the bulldozers come for our properly-scaled homes next? Hopefully not, as the Great Recession may have served as the the McMansion's Waterloo, permanently halting their progression before they could establish a foothold in Silver Spring.
To be fair, not every so-called "McMansion" design is grotesque and not all are completely oversized for their lot, but I've seen some terrible examples in MoCo. The problem is particularly pronounced in Chevy Chase, where some houses quite literally block out the sun. There are a certainly a few unfortunate examples of McMansionization in Silver Spring, some of which are referenced in the Historian for Hire post. In many ways worse are the completely over-scaled additions to small homes that have produced Frankenstein houses even more hideous than most McMansions. I can't begrudge someone the right to expand on their home, I just wish people took more of an effort to make their addition blend with the existing house and those surrounding it, rather than just maximizing square footage for the sake of it.