New Homes in Older Neighborhoods Causes Controversy

New Homes in Older Neighborhoods Causes Controversy

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Richard Piatt ReportingPressure is mounting over a lingering problem in Salt Lake City neighborhoods. How much leeway should homeowners have when they rebuild or add on to their homes? Richard Piatt takes a closer look at new size and style restrictions that are making waves.

Built overshadowing homes a fraction of its size, a 15-thousand square foot mansion is one example of a city-wide issue, the so-called 'monster home' explosion. The home's future resident doesn't think attempts to regulate the trend makes for good public policy.

Scott White, Homeowner: "The ramifications, I think it's going to be, it's sad."

It's getting more common for people to buy property in an older neighborhood, demolish the existing home, and then build a new one. It's an alarming trend to some neighbors.

Karen Carlson, Homeowner: "It bothers me, because we can't keep knocking down, knocking down. We have to keep the flavor of the community."

Most of the time this 'remodel' process is good for property values. Neighbors on a Yalecrest neighborhood block are hopeful about the 66-hundred square footer that's going across the street.

Jennifer Robertson, Homeowner: "It seems like it's going to be a really nice property. Hopefully it will raise our property values, so we're not too worried about it."

But certain homes are offered as examples of a need for regulation -- too big, too tall, not the right style for neighbors. Salt Lake's city council is attempting to legislate these subjective factors.

Jill Remington Love, Salt Lake City Council: "We have neighborhoods with great character and we don't want to lose that character, and one house can destroy the property values all around."

But the council is walking a tightrope. Contractors and architects are worried a hurried version of an ordinance could be passed Thursday, in the middle of the construction season. Architects recognize a multi-faceted property rights issue.

Soren Simonsen, Architect: "There are property rights on both sides of this, whether you're the owner that's developing the piece of property or the neighbor that lives right next door to it."

It's a sticky issue. Only a few communities across the nation choose to take it on, and Salt Lake City is one of them. The city council will take on the residential zoning regulations again at next Tuesday's meeting.

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