Montgomery McMansions – Future Slums?

Posted on June 12, 2008

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Quote of the Week Award goes to Rollin Stanley, Montgomery County planning director, for the following:

“Bigger houses, many people think they are the next slums. They are too big, and people are having trouble selling them.” — As Reported by Miranda Spivack in the Washington Post’s Montgomery Extra tabloid, and in the Post reporters’ blog, Maryland Moment

McMansions have been rising out of cornfields for years, and normal people have always asked: “Who can afford these places?” and “Why does a family with two children need such a big place?”

Now you tell us, Mr. Stanley, after the bubble has burst! “The next slums!”

Doesn’t Mr. Stanley understand that his contract with Montgomery County can be terminated for use of unrestrained honesty, especially in public places, when impressionable young reporters are present?

In the old days, grand homes that became too expensive for one family were turned into boarding houses. More recently, over-sized houses have been partitioned into small apartments. The yards make good parking lots. This happens to smaller homes, too. Many of the small brick ranchers in Wheaton Woods have been converted to two-family houses. Prices went so high that in order to make the mortgage payments, new owners had to rent the basements to a second family.

If a glut of big houses does materialize, it could be the answer to Montgomery County’s affordable housing shortage. The County Council has graciously voted to tear down a house in Hillmead, rather than allow a homeless family to live there. Some of these McMansions are big enough to shelter three or four homeless families.

And there is a growing need for group homes to serve the autistic, the handicapped, and the elderly, not to mention recovering addicts and nonviolent juvenile delinquents. McMansions, with six or eight bedrooms and nearly as many bathrooms, would be ideal as group homes. — Bernie Hayden

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Posted in: Social Justice