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Discretionary Approval for McMansions

Redwood City, located on the San Francisco Peninsula, will make it harder to build homes that take up more than 45 percent of a residential lot.
August 28, 2019, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"As more developers raze starter homes to build extravagant monster homes in Redwood City, the City Council has escalated its approach to protecting the city’s landscape and its diversity," reports Maggie Angst.

"Redwood City Council on Monday night voted unanimously to add a layer to the city’s permit approval process by requiring that new homes that cover 45 percent of a lot or are 3,000 square feet or more go before the planning commission for review," adds Angst.

The change represents a layer of discretionary approval usually required of multi-family residential, rather than single-family residential developments.

Still, the argument in favor of the discretionary review of large single-family projects is motivated by a similar concern for the character of the surrounding neighborhood, and the context created by existing residential buildings in the area. "Several proposed projects and homes built by developers recently have caused an uproar among some residents who complain that the new projects lack compatibility with existing neighborhoods and are making it more difficult for young families to live in the city," according to Angst.

The City Council decided against a proposal by the Redwood City Planning Commission to adjust its zoning code and residential design guidelines to limit residences to 40 percent coverage of the lot area or a maximum size of 2,500 square feet. 

The story about Redwood City preventing homes from getting too large in residential neighborhoods also contrasts the story of a plan in a New York City neighborhood that would allow single-family residences to be built larger.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 in The Mercury News
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