McMansions Spark Debate in Decatur, Georgia

Call them teardowns, infill, or McMansions, the affluent suburb of Decatur, Georgia is dealing with growing concern about neighborhood character and tree canopy as property owners adopt the trend toward new, large houses in existing neighborhoods.

John Ruch took a drive with city of Decatur Planning Director Amanda Thompson to examine the city's McMansion issue. According to Ruch, "[Decatur] officials have learned that infill housing is consuming roughly 50 older houses and an uncertain number of trees a year."

"Infill has been happening in Decatur for decades, but in recent years the pace has been red-hot: 43 teardowns in 2012, 59 last year, 22 more so far this year. Last year, 72 percent of single-family homes built in the city were teardown or infill projects."

The city is taking the corresponding backlash and controversy over property rights and neighborhood character (including environmental concern's about the city's tree canopy) seriously, commissioning two studies and prepping "mitigation measures" that are expected for public discussion next month.

Decatur will also have a chance to address the growing controversy as it continues to revise its Unified Development Ordinance. 

Full Story: Teardown mania!


Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.