Letter to the editor Make ‘McMansions’ fit in with neighborhoods

It’s fascinating that residents locally and in California always cry “traffic” when great housing density is proposed, even though smaller homes are more affordable in general and everyone agrees we need more affordable housing.

The large-scale housing development on Lake does appear out of place. It is surrounded by smaller duplexes and quad units, and its proximity to the highway suggests it is an ideal place for more intensive development. I suspect that 40 to 60 units would have easily fit on the site, fit in better with the community, allowed for more setback from Santa Fe and made the developer the same or more money, and no one would be calling these units McMansions.

The McMansions now under construction are mediocre quality, with roofs and overhangs and window sizes typical of much cheaper housing, and they are designed to maximize square footage at the lowest possible costs.

But isn’t that what Encinitas forced upon them by not approving something more in line with the existing neighborhood? So how can we now criticize them?

One local resident suggested they lower property values. As an expert in housing economics and valuation, I can tell you she is wrong. This doesn’t mean I like them. But we got what Encinitas forced upon the developer.

Design guidelines have been suggested, and again I can tell you developers are fine with reasonable design guidelines, as long as they know them in advance. Fitting in with the local neighborhood is sometimes a good goal, but often the neighborhood construction quality and design is a pretty low bar.

Norm Miller, Encinitas resident