NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 27, 2007

Cities continue to rein in "teardowns" of old houses and the giant homes that replace them despite a housing slump that has slowed construction, says USA Today.


  • The Atlanta City Council approved a zoning ordinance last week that bans the construction of giant homes on small lots.
  • In a compromise to appease builders, real estate agents, residents and planners, the city links the size of a home to the size of the lot. That allows big homes on big lots and small homes on small lots.
  • Edina, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb filled with rambler-style homes from the 1940s and '50s, changed its zoning in June after a spate of teardowns in the past three years.
  • Austin, Texas, approved a so-called McMansion ordinance last year that limits the size and height of homes that replace teardowns.

Last year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation identified 300 communities in 33 states that experienced a rash of teardowns. The group is drafting an online teardown resource guide that includes sample ordinances from across the United States.

"Everybody jumped on the bandwagon because real estate was going up," says Vince Bernardi, president of Rob-Lynn Construction in Lombard, Ill., outside of Chicago. Bernardi estimates an average 200 homes a year are knocked down and replaced "with as much as we can get on the lot."

Source: Haya El Nasser, "Cities block bulky homes on little lots," USA Today, August 27, 2007.

For text: 


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues