Back to letters Back to Home
Dear Bill,
The question over whether a Mc Mansion (and yes, that IS the universally recognized term for these oversized, cookie cutter structures) is a tricky one. Most residential lots in Elmhurst are in the size range of 140 X 52 which equals a total of 7280 Square feet. Most Mc Mansions in Elmhurst are in the 3500 to 4000 Square Foot parameter. (This includes 1st and 2nd floor space) So in TOTAL square footage, YES, these new homes are WAY over the 30% allotment. If you count only the 1st floor space then NO that doesn't cover over 30% of the lot. (However, Garage space is NOT included in 1st floor square footage which only lists "Living Space.")
It doesn't take a genius to look at your average sized lot in Elmhurst and note that when a Mc Mansion is built on it, the result is way too much house on too little a piece of land. One of the key points would be what this website notes on the Setback Violations which in Elmhurst are rampant. The builder wants to put up SO much house that he goes as WIDE as possible, even if it means not leaving enough setback space and crowding out neighbors on both sides.
I could go on with this but we all know the drill. Mayor Marcucci is very tight with many Mc Mansion builders, and he is equally snug with numerous bank officials, lawyers and business folks who want nothing more than to continue ravaging this town with ugly, too large, too expensive and unwelcome structures.
But there is a rub to this overdevelopment mission folks. Home start-ups are way down and still dropping. Home values are also sinking and many people who bought Elmhurst Mc Mansions for 900,000 to 1.2 million dollars are watching their values going down up to 30%. With the adjustable rate mortgage problems continuing, we're going to see more and more people abandoning their huge homes and taking losses and bankruptcy with them.
I know numerous builders are already sweating out their current construction commitments and they haven't seen the bottom of the real estate pit yet.
What is coming to Elmhurst is what happened to Houston Texas in the early 80's: Tons of development, then an oil bust left many people broke and then Houston had an overabundance of empty Mansions and skyscrapers. Forgetting the skyscraper point, welcome to Elmhurst, "Houston of the North."

Mick Kahler