“Get off my lawn,” said the grizzled voice of Clint Eastwood in 2008’s Gran Torino. Maybe there were more diplomatic ways of going about getting the neighbor boy off the yard than pointing a gun at him and muttering the line through gritted teeth. But many residents in neighborhoods located in Mountain View, Calif. (and many others like it) can understand the frustration and would probably like to go a little Clint Eastwood themselves. Only, these residents won’t be telling neighborhood children to get off their lawn, but will instead be aiming their gripes at the ever-encroaching mansions being built around their properties.
Mansionization, as it is called, is the process by which current homes make way for homes that are three and four times the size. As Realtor.com reports, residents who have lived in the same 1,000-square-foot homes now look out their windows not to see a nice view on their secluded street, but a massive home overlooking their property like a watchtower.
What is happening in Mountain View is not an isolated incident; homes are increasing in size all over the country. While some argue that large houses pay more taxes and, thus, benefit the community, others argue that larger homes block the view, air, and sunlight of smaller, neighboring houses. Others, still, argue that if a person or company is paying millions of dollars for a lot, they should be able to build what they want on it.
Some people think all of the get-off-my-lawn type complaints are just a form of NIMBYism where locals oppose all new, larger residences just because they don’t want their own neighborhoods to change. Some, such as Benjamin Reznik, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who represents large-scale developers, says this is a mistake and it prevents neighborhoods from evolving.
There have been some creative attempts at compromising, such as building downward. If a property is on a hill, instead of making it taller, it can be built down into the hill in an effort to increase square footage without casting the surrounding homes in shadows.