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Some more new homes in old neighborhoods


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#1 Bradleto

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 12:10 PM

I exchanged emails with Greg Hughes a week or so ago and among the topics we discussed were each of us describing homes razed and new projects underway in our "old" neighborhoods. I think Greg mentioned that there are several such projects in University West, and I noted that there are two new projects on Westclif Road West, the street that is one street over to the west from Bellaire Drive West which is west of the TCU track and field facilities. One home is already about 1/2 completed... it is on the west bluff side of the street. Unique views there for sure as homes along the bluff side are the last structures before the elevation declines sharply into Tanglewood below it... one can see for miles to the west. Then, across the same street, another home was recently razed, but it is early in the stages and just lot prep work is going on at this time. Finally, no action yet on the home down on Colonial Parkway... I believe they are seeking an adjustment to reduce the required street offset. And, yet another home has been recently razed with a new one soon to be constructed over off of Hartwood across from Kingston Court.

Finally, there are two or three new homes being built south of Berry and east of University... not sure what was there before.

One prognosticator mentioned that the best expected increases for residential real estate in Dallas were those inside of the loop. Perhaps we are seeing sort of the same thing here in Fort Worth with some pretty expensive land acquisitions for dream homes that not so long ago might have been much farther out in the suburbs.

I'd blame it one expected rises in gasoline, but that wouldn't seem to be an issue for folks who can pay big bucks for a home just to get to a prime lot.

Interesting... is this a trend that will accelerate in Fort Worth? Are others seeing this sort of trend in mature neighborhoods around town?

Cheers! Brad

#2 cberen1

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 01:58 PM

QUOTE(Bradleto @ Jul 19 2006, 01:10 PM) View Post

I'd blame it one expected rises in gasoline, but that wouldn't seem to be an issue for folks who can pay big bucks for a home just to get to a prime lot.



I agree that it's not gas. I think it's disgust with the suburbs. But it's still a relatively small number of properties. For every one tear down in Monticello, Univeristy West, Park Hill, etc. there are probably 25 - 50 new homes over $250,000 built in North Tarrant County.

Like you said, lots with an elevated view are garnering an overwhelming premium. One, in University West, that you didn't mention is the open lot on Avondale. I haven't seen any construction yet, but my understanding is that the owner had around $600K in it before he tore down a perfectly good home and dug out the pool. There is also a new home on Rogers Ave. immediately behind the log cabin village. Seems to be taking forever to go up. I'm not sure if that is in University West or not.

#3 vjackson

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 02:53 PM

It could just be the desire to own a home that's not only in the inner city, but in an established, desirable neighborhood...which may not be as numerous in FW as some might think. Although I was already aware of this, there was an article in the DMN last week, about the rapidly growing trend of teardowns in North Dallas....homes built in the 80's!!!!

#4 youngalum

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 03:15 PM

QUOTE
established, desirable neighborhood...which may not be as numerous in FW as some might think


What the hell? Not a post goes by without a bash of Fort Worth? You shtick is getting old.

BTW, I work in downtown Dallas, across from Farmers Market and commute everyday. Downtown Dallas isn't the star you make it out to be and how many shooting deaths this year so far, 4-5?

Get new material.

#5 FWillustrator

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 05:11 PM

Well, I don't think Vjackson is trying do any bashing...I think what he's saying is (and correct me if I'm misinterpreting you) there's only so many places in Fort Worth that are so extremely desirable that scrapping the value of an existing structure is really worth it (unless the structure is worth less than the cost to haul off to the dump). But such is the case for just about any city, and I think the number of 'desirable' locations here in FW is slowly but surely on the rise.

It is, however, a shame that usable structures are being wasted...but then again I think the general quality of home construction that consumers have come accept in past few decades has really gone downhill. I can't imagine living in an 80's home, and if I was forced to I might burn it down myself. I don't have a hard time beleiving those 80's match-stick structures in north Dallas are already worthless.

#6 hannerhan

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 06:40 AM

QUOTE(FWillustrator @ Jul 19 2006, 06:11 PM) View Post

It is, however, a shame that usable structures are being wasted...but then again I think the general quality of home construction that consumers have come accept in past few decades has really gone downhill. I can't imagine living in an 80's home, and if I was forced to I might burn it down myself. I don't have a hard time beleiving those 80's match-stick structures in north Dallas are already worthless.


I see what you're saying and I agree about 80's homes, but on the other hand I think the quality of new homes we're seeing over the past 5 years has really gone up. It seems like builders have (relatively quickly since around 2000) started to actually focus on architectural integrity (imagine that) and construction quality. One of the reasons is probably that the land values have increased to the point where any new house is going to be fairly high-end anyway, and high-end buyers have gotten more demanding. There are still some glaring examples where this isn't true, but overall I've been pretty impressed with the quality and look of the recent houses that are going up in the older neighborhoods.

#7 mmiller2002

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 07:12 AM

QUOTE(hannerhan @ Jul 20 2006, 07:40 AM) View Post


...but overall I've been pretty impressed with the quality and look of the recent houses that are going up in the older neighborhoods.


The quality may be better than the 80's, but to me, most of the new homes in Hi Mount and Heights look like country homes squeezed on city sized lots. They look out of place. Or, they look like Candleridge/Lost Creek style. Or, what's that pair on Hillcrest near El Campo? Blecchh!

I'm not talking about the palacial estates that go up in Monticello or Rivercrest. That's a whole different look.


#8 vjackson

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 07:31 AM

QUOTE(FWillustrator @ Jul 19 2006, 06:11 PM) View Post

Well, I don't think Vjackson is trying do any bashing...I think what he's saying is (and correct me if I'm misinterpreting you) there's only so many places in Fort Worth that are so extremely desirable that scrapping the value of an existing structure is really worth it (unless the structure is worth less than the cost to haul off to the dump). But such is the case for just about any city, and I think the number of 'desirable' locations here in FW is slowly but surely on the rise.

It is, however, a shame that usable structures are being wasted...but then again I think the general quality of home construction that consumers have come accept in past few decades has really gone downhill. I can't imagine living in an 80's home, and if I was forced to I might burn it down myself. I don't have a hard time beleiving those 80's match-stick structures in north Dallas are already worthless.

Thank you...it wasn't a FW bash at all and yes you got what I was saying. The lack of perception of good neighborhoods in almost every large city has been a large factor for surburban growth and sprawl. Also, what you (youngalum) and I might consider a good neighborhood, many may not. When I lived in FW, I lived in Ryan Place (off 8th Ave and Elizabeth Blvd.. Although I loved the neighborhood and thought it was great, many people thought otherwise. One drive down 8th, Berry or Hemphill usually did it. A friend of mine who married while I was in FW, who grew up in the neighborhood, sold his parents home and moved to Uptown Dallas with his (now ex) wife. He strongly believes he grew up in a ghetto!!! and will tell you in a NY minute, he grew up in a bad neighborhood. Go fiqure. I lived in FW and Dallas and know they're both far from from perfect. ( The incidents in Dallas have been attributed to thuggy, gang violence, something FW has no shortage of.) The oversensitivity/insecurity schtick is what has gotten old.

#9 vjackson

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 07:44 AM

QUOTE(hannerhan @ Jul 20 2006, 07:40 AM) View Post

There are still some glaring examples where this isn't true, but overall I've been pretty impressed with the quality and look of the recent houses that are going up in the older neighborhoods.


I do agree, many of these home are of good quailty. It's the size of many that bothers me, as they dwarf neighboring homes and look totally displaced. Although I favor older homes, I know not everyone else feels that way, and not every old home can be or is worth saving. I just wish there wasn't this phallus-like need to have these large homes. If only these home were built to match the neighborhood.

#10 hannerhan

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:01 AM

QUOTE(mmiller2002 @ Jul 20 2006, 08:12 AM) View Post


The quality may be better than the 80's, but to me, most of the new homes in Hi Mount and Heights look like country homes squeezed on city sized lots. They look out of place. Or, they look like Candleridge/Lost Creek style. Or, what's that pair on Hillcrest near El Campo? Blecchh!


You're right about the majority of recent houses/townhomes located south of C.B. I am thinking mainly of the large amount of work that builders like HGC and Village have been doing in High Mount and Rivercrest area north of C.B., which like I said before, I think is pretty solid.

Something with the look and quality of Chamberlain Heights would never have been built 10 years ago (whether there is a market that will buy up that many $550k townhomes remains to be seen).

#11 hannerhan

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:13 AM

QUOTE(vjackson @ Jul 20 2006, 08:44 AM) View Post

I do agree, many of these home are of good quailty. It's the size of many that bothers me, as they dwarf neighboring homes and look totally displaced. Although I favor older homes, I know not everyone else feels that way, and not every old home can be or is worth saving. I just wish there wasn't this phallus-like need to have these large homes. If only these home were built to match the neighborhood.


Agree totally, although I still think we're in much better shape than the Park Cities as far as the size of houses in relation to lot size. From what I have seen, most of the new houses in FW going in on the smaller lots (around 50x150) are in the 3-4k sq foot range. New homes in the Park Cities on the same size lots START at 4,200 sq feet and go up from there.

As the land prices go up, I think builders put up larger homes to keep the cost ratio of land/house from being too high, since they are trying to keep the cost per square foot lower, for when they sell the house. The other option for builders which accomplishes the same purpose, and which I am not a fan of, is buying a few lots and re-zoning to put 6 houses where 4 lots once stood.

#12 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:45 AM

This discussion is indicating to me that the best way to limit out of scale new construction on old lots and unnecessary tear downs in our older neighborhoods, is to create either conservation districts or historic districts. A conservation district is less restrictive than a historic district. I think in both districts, the neighborhood is allowed to write their own design guidelines. This type of overlay would benefit neighborhoods like Arlington Heights, North Hi Mount, Montecello, University Place, University West, Berkeley, and the part of Ryan Place not along Elizabeth Blvd. I'm sure I missed a few neighborhoods, but I think you all get the point. However, I do think that from a development and property rights point of view, some areas should be set aside to allow redevelopment to occur. I'm not saying that is the right thing for every neighborhood, but I do think it is something to consider when these districts are created.

#13 vjackson

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:22 AM

John, you didn't mention the Fairmount District. Although I love the neighborhood, so many of those homes are simply to costl to repair or beyond repair. I know preservationist hate the thought, but I don't think it would necessarily be a bad thing for a developer to raze a few blocks and build some nice single-family housing. It would be a great way to bring people back to the Southside who might not have chosen the area before. I have noticed some new "period" homes built on some of the vacant lots that I did like.

#14 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 01:21 PM

I did not mention Fairmount on purpose because they already have their historic district in place. That is why you are not seeing tear downs in Fairmount unless the building or house is so far gone that it is beyond any type of repair. Even then, the demolition must go before the Landmarks Commission.

The new "period" homes that are being constructed on the neighborhood's vacant lots also have to be approved by the Landmarks Commission and they must meet the neighborhood's design guidelines that were set up for the historic district.

#15 FWillustrator

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 01:44 PM

You know John, I've been thinking about this preservation thing a lot lately...in a very deep philisophical sorta way, and I've actually been a bit hesitant to get involved with Historic Fort Worth Inc. Don't mean to put you on the spot, but I have some burning questions, so to speak, and maybe you can shed some light on my concerns.

What I don't understand exactly what it is that motivates the members to want to preserve structures, and by what criteria do they deem them worth preserving - I mean, I'm a bit concerned about the idea of holding on to the past for the sake nostalgia or sentimentality. While it might be nice to have feelings of nostalgia from time to time, that feeling passes, just as the original purpose of a building passes, and so does the building itself eventually (no matter what preservation efforts). I like the idea of reusing buildings, and making efficient and conscientious use of existing materials and structures - this is good for everyone.

The other thing I have reservations about is the idea of commisions whose duty it is to determine the worth of a design...we all know what happens in committees. And I feel like we don't have any progressive architecture here (aside from museums), and while such committees might prevent architectural atrocities, I think they may prevent progress as well. Now, I don't know what exactly goes in meetings and committees and such, but I know the above things I would personally steer clear of.

#16 youngalum

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 03:28 PM

FWillustrator, that is exactly the reasons I stopped being a member of Historic Fort Worth. Too much emotion of begone buildings and designs that have no place in modern city like Fort Worth.

#17 Fort Worthology

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 04:36 PM

I will simply submit my opinions:

1) A city that tears down and relieves itself on its past is no city I want to be a part of. Ditto any society that would encourage it.

2) "Progressive" isn't always a good thing. "Progressive" has given the world some truly awful buildings (as well as some wonderful ones, of course). It's only "progressive" if it's, well, progress. Tearing down our historic buildings to put up horrid, soulless, spirit-crushing modernist slabs was not progress, yet it was called "progressive." Killing the Lancaster area with parking lots and an overpass was not progress, but it was called "progressive." Annihilating beautiful historic neighborhoods with out-of-place overlarge generic modern homes is not progress, but it's called "progressive." If we just worship at the alter of "progressive," we will forget that which made us what we are. If we ransack useful old buildings - both the remarkable and the average - in the name of "progressive" and the "modern city," we lose links to what got us where we are today. That's not a thought I find particularly appealing. I don't want to forget my past.

You don’t burn the village to save it, and you don’t raze blocks and blocks of old neighborhoods to build gigantic monochromatic modernist edifices.

I mean, look at this:

IPB Image

To quote James Lileks (though he was referring to a different building, of course):

"This is the sort of building they could not abide in the 50s and 60s. It wasn't modern. It wasn't sleek. Its ornamentation - heaven forbid - obscured its structure. It was laden with ornamentation; those gigantic protuberances on the top must have made any right-thinking modernist just shudder with horror. Its white bands suppressed its verticality. The ponderous collanade oozed self-satisfaction, pompous monumentality, ersatz historicism that smothered the brave future with the dead hand of the past. Tear it down!

Idiots."

Now, I'm not referring to any of y'all as idiots. All I'm saying is be careful what you wish for, because, well:

IPB Image

I play '60s-inspired power pop in The Diabolical Machines

Yes, I was the Fort Worthology guy


#18 FWillustrator

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 07:30 PM

No offense Atomic Glee, but your response to my comments seems a bit defensive. And you're assuming that what I'm terming "progressive" is anything but that.

QUOTE(Atomic Glee @ Jul 20 2006, 05:36 PM) View Post
"Progressive" isn't always a good thing.


Actually if it is truly progressive, it's always a good thing. I think being able to effectively reuse old buildings is progressive. I think being able to succesfully integrate new with old is progressive. And as I stated in my earlier post, we in Fort Worth unfortunately (like the vast majority of places) don't get exposed to much that is truly progressive, and I think that's why you might have this image of big blocks of concrete in your head. For the record: I do not think modern is "progressive." Technically speaking, modernism is an era past - it actually had much more to do with the beginnings of the atomic era than it does with our time.

You suggested we should be careful what we ask for...I'm suggesting you be careful what you cling to. Conceptualizing and idealizing the past doesn't change it - it's already happened. Learning from the past and appreciating what we have right NOW, and working with it in contemporary terms helps us move forward (not referring to capitalist motives, but humanistic) as a society.

#19 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:24 PM

FWIllustrator, you are not putting me on the spot. However, some of this may be a little tough to explain. For some of our members, I'm sure it is the "nostalgia" of keeping parts of our historic fabric. For me, I see it as a way to keep our history alive and a part of the urban fabric. I feel that it is very important to preserve the best and finest architectural examples of an era and an architect.

Youngalum stated that we have too much emotion for begone buildings that don't have a place in a modern city. That is an interesting point of view because demolition has been considered in the past for many of our "landmarks" in the city. Back in the 1960's or 70's there was a serious movement to demolish the Tarrant County Courthouse. This is one example. Youngalum, I do have one question for you. Do you think we should have historic preservation ordinances? Please explain. There are some on this forum that feel that we should not and feel that only about five buildings should be designated as landmarks with the rest being fair game for demolition. I'm just curious on your position.

When I really start going on my preservation rants are when:
  1. One of a kind buildings are endangered
  2. The last surviving structures from a neighborhood are threatened
  3. When the historic fabric of a neighborhood is endangered by an invasion of teardowns and McMansions
Of course, one could argue the other side of each of my examples, but here they are:
  1. Montgomery Ward: Eight regional warehouses were constructed around the country. Because there were only 8 examples of this type of architecture in the U.S., I say those were one of a kind buildings. At the time that our Montgomery Plaza was proposed, only 4 were standing. Currently in the U.S. there are 3 of the 8 still standing and 1 that is standing, but with its front facade significanly altered.
  2. Quality Hill: Only 3 Victorian houses and 3 early 1900's homes remain from an entire neighborhood.
  3. Arlington Heights, North Hi Mount: There is a historic fabric in both of the neighborhoods and the teardowns are starting to erode that fabric. Once non-compatible construction enters an area it is hard to stop it. However, through effective planning and zoning, a neighborhood can be preserved and new construction allowed. This is why I favor historic districts in our historic neighborhoods. Then the core area can be left for preservation and parts left for new development.

Here is another example of how new development can adversely impact an urban neighborhood. Our big "urban renewal" project from the 1960's was to tear down most of Hell's Half Acre and build the Convention Center on 14 blocks. The center did not tear down the entire district. The area of similar architectural styles ran from Throckmorton over to Jones Street, even though the "neighborhood" of the acre was smaller than that. After the center opened, more and more blocks were purchased and demolished for parking and other uses. Now in 2006, only one building remains and that building was the old Monnig's Dry Goods Warehouse, which is now Water Gardens Place. The most significant building in the area was the Majestic Theater and the county should have found a way to preserve it at all costs.

FWIllustrator, your final point is about your reservations on commissions determining the worth of design. Most cities in the U.S. have Landmarks Commissions. New York and Chicago wouldn't have the landmarks they have remaining if it weren't for such a board. You probably wonder about the background of Fort Worth's Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission. Without naming names, I will run down the board members. One of the members is a new appointee, and I'm not familiar with her background.

Backgrounds of H&CLC Members: Architect, Attorney/Politician/Spouse of Preservationist, Realtor, Businessperson, Neighborhood Leader, Businessperson, Preservationist, and Architect. I realize all of the above are generalities, but I'm just trying to give an overall perspective on the commission. If you have any additional questions on their backgrounds, I would contact the city.

I probably have rambled and really didn't answer your question, but at least we can continue this discussion further.

#20 Nitixope

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:35 PM

QUOTE(John T Roberts @ Jul 20 2006, 11:45 AM) View Post

This discussion is indicating to me that the best way to limit out of scale new construction on old lots and unnecessary tear downs in our older neighborhoods, is to create either conservation districts or historic districts. A conservation district is less restrictive than a historic district. I think in both districts, the neighborhood is allowed to write their own design guidelines. This type of overlay would benefit neighborhoods like Arlington Heights, North Hi Mount, Montecello, University Place, University West, Berkeley, and the part of Ryan Place not along Elizabeth Blvd. I'm sure I missed a few neighborhoods, but I think you all get the point. However, I do think that from a development and property rights point of view, some areas should be set aside to allow redevelopment to occur. I'm not saying that is the right thing for every neighborhood, but I do think it is something to consider when these districts are created.

John....What steps must be taken for a neighborhood to initiate a conservation or an historic district? I would think that the neighborhood association generates a majority interest and presents a proposal to the city council and to the H&CLC. (please forgive me if this has been addressed elsewhere). Also, I'm interested to know which neighborhoods, if any, currently hold either designation.

#21 FWillustrator

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 06:00 AM

John,

Thanks for your response - that does help. I do know who makes up the Landmarks Commission, and of course have worked some of those (very competent) people. I really didn't intend to single them out, but was wanting to make the point that we should always be careful in how we limit ourselves. Oh, and you can refer to me as 'Tim' - you won't be giving away my secret superhero identity or anything.

#22 cberen1

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 08:29 AM

My concern is about the durability of the structures and the planning that went into them.

What is the practical life for a home in Fairmount? 100 years? Many of these structures are termite snacks waiting to be eaten. It's not a bad thing. I think it's just a product of the materials available at the time, the planning horizon and the economic swap at the time of construction. Nobody involved in the construction of those homes believed they would still be standing in 250 years (obviously it hasn't been that long). They were built with full knowledge that they were, in a sense, temporary. Temporary might be 50, 100, 150 years or more, but they weren't designed to last forever. If they had been, no one could have afforded them.

I don't bring this up to support the wanton destruction of buildings. On the contrary, I'm a big fan of older buildings. But at some point, if a society or community only builds temporary buildings, then extensive demolition is inevitable. And it isn't strictly a function of materials durability, I think aesthetics also play a large (maybe larger?) role in it. Which neighborhoods will endure? Probably not the cookie cutter $90K Centex developments all over the suburbs today. The buildings have to be aesthetically durable as well.

University Place - Relatively untouched.

Linwood - Destined to be rubble.

As this all applies to older neighborhoods, I'd like to see fewer tear downs in my neighborhood. Although some of the new construction in University West blends well, some of it does not. I'd probably feel more strongly about it if there was more of it going on, like in Arlington Heights. But, if the new structures are of very high quality and thoughtful design, I think they can be a compliment to the neighborhood.

#23 EricTCU

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 10:11 AM

John, can a conservation district or historical district legally limit what a property owner can build? If someone wants a to build a gated stucco McMansion in the middle of a 1940's Bungalow neighborhood, can neighborhood written design guidelines really stop them?

I understand a Municipality making building codes and design restrictions, but it seems strange that my neighbors can have jurisdiction over the style and size of my new McMansion.

Really, I'm wondering if conservation or historical discticts are a binding solution to McMansion McXpansion or just a way to only frustrate the inevitable desires of property owners?

Sure, I get the importance of preservation, but ideally don't property owners have the right to choose and purchase a location of thier liking and then build in the style of thier choosing regardless of what their neighbors homes look like?

#24 FWillustrator

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 11:37 AM

Cberen - you mentioned that some new construction blends well, and other new construction doesn't. That's also partly my point...there is a way to successfully integrate new with old, and sometimes it involves modifying something existing in a way that might not exactly be in keeping with the original intent - but again, things have to change. It's just the nature of things.

Now when I say "successfully integrate" I mean not just functionaly on a very basic programmatic level, but aesthetically and characteristically as well. And in that regard I agree with you whole-heartedly. The slap-together burbs are completely devoid of character, and over-zoning, over-seeing, and over-commissioning things can suck the life out the inevitably new just as quick it might preserve the life of the past. I could never live in Arlington because one of their zoning rules requires that houses be clad in something like 80-90% brick veneer. I know a lot of people are just enamored with brick veneer, but I for one think it's a silly material and really doesn't make any sense for our climate. But even if you love brick, my point is you can't do anything but that in Arlington, and therefore it's always going to be stuck in a creativity rut because of their rules.

With regard to "be careful what you ask for" - It's just like the idea of wanting to live in a pristine gated 'community' with all their rules and regulations. Yeah everyone's yard is well kept, and there are no low-riders parked in the street, but it's also pretty lonely there.

#25 John T Roberts

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 07:50 PM

QUOTE(Nitixope @ Jul 20 2006, 11:35 PM) View Post

John....What steps must be taken for a neighborhood to initiate a conservation or an historic district? I would think that the neighborhood association generates a majority interest and presents a proposal to the city council and to the H&CLC. (please forgive me if this has been addressed elsewhere). Also, I'm interested to know which neighborhoods, if any, currently hold either designation.


This is all a part of our Zoning Ordinance, so the best place to get all of the specifics is to read the chapter on Historic Districts and Historic Designations. Some of this has been addressed elsewhere in this forum. In order to be eligible for nomination minimum criteria must be met for either the district or a building. Basically, the only people allowed to nominate a building or area for designation are the City Council, City Manager, the Landmarks Commission, and the property owner. With a district, there is more than one property owner. I believe that for a district to be nominated from within, there has to be approval of at least 50% of the owners of individual tracts and approval of the owners of at least 50% of the land area of the district. A neighborhood association may represent a majority interest, but in order for this to go through, each individual property owner must sign their approval in a nomination form. A neighborhood association would be a great place to initiate a designation. A number of forms and an actual nomination complete with historical and architectural research has to be filled out and then presented to the city's Preservation Officer. If the paperwork is accepted then the historic district has to be approved by the H&CLC. From that point, it does to the Zoning Commission and they have to approve it. Finally, it must go before City Council to be approved. They have the final vote on the matter.

One concern was brought up about guidelines being crafted by the neighborhood for their district. They are the main authors of this document, but City Staff, planners,and the Preservation Officer will provide assistance in preparing these guidelines. These guidelines become a part of the record for the historic district and will be used by the city and for review of projects by the H&CLC. In other words, the guidelines will become the Municipality's (Fort Worth) design restrictions. This was done to individualize the district. In other words, what may be appropriate in the Stock Yards might not be appropriate in Mistletoe Heights. I think this is a good example because the Stock Yards area is all commercial and Mistletoe Heights is all residential.

The final item requested from Nitixope was a listing of the Conservation and Historic Districts. I'm hoping to be comprehensive here, but there is a chance that I could miss an area.

Local Conservation District:
Circle Park Blvd.

Local Historic Districts:
Fairmount/Southside
Masonic Home
Kenwood Court
Mistletoe Heights
Garden of Eden
Handley

National Register Historic Districts:
Fairmount/Southside
Grand Avenue
Stock Yards
Elizabeth Blvd.
Marine Commercial
Leuda-May

It is usually tougher to get a National Register nomination approved than a local one. The standards are higher and the process has to go through the Department of the Interior.

Because several questions have been asked, I have decided only to answer one at a time. I will get to the others later, but I did address the institution of guidelines within historic districts. I will answer the others as time permits.

#26 McHand

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 11:03 PM

QUOTE(vjackson @ Jul 19 2006, 03:53 PM) View Post

It could just be the desire to own a home that's not only in the inner city, but in an established, desirable neighborhood...which may not be as numerous in FW as some might think. Although I was already aware of this, there was an article in the DMN last week, about the rapidly growing trend of teardowns in North Dallas....homes built in the 80's!!!!




Vjackson makes a good point with the word "desirable". I wish someone would notice my little block and buy a lot! It's quiet and close to the desirables without the property taxes. Of course, some properties really aren't pretty, but neighborhoods can come back, right?


BTW, not really surprised with the 80's houses teardowns, frivolous as it seems.

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#27 vjackson

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 07:21 AM

^^^^^^
Where is your block??? I guess I learned something new, as I didn't know all homes built in the 80's were bad. I know the area in N. Dallas where the 80's teardowns are going on. This area is very nice. But granted the homes are somewhat plain in design. So I guess it's no real loss that they're going. It does bother me that many are being replaced by homes as large as 8'000 sq ft.. The homes they're replacing seemed plenty large to me. I guess it's just me that feels these monster-sized homes just scream greed and waste.

#28 McHand

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 07:54 AM

I agree. Large homes built on small blocks are ridiculous.... Didn't mean to be so harsh about 80's houses. I'm sure there are some fantastic ones, as in every decade. Speaking of old N. Dallas houses, there's an area just east of the Tollway, north of Mockingbird (I think) that has some really great residental architecture from the 60's and 70's.

My block is Woodland Ave, one block west of that little row of small Tudors behind Our Lady of Victory. The houses are smaller (around 1300 sq) but well built little arts and crafts bungalows, and mine is a small Tudor style.

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#29 mmiller2002

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 08:29 AM

Another one bites the dust. Corner of Virginia and Bunting. Dropping like flies in that area. Go one block west on Bunting there's about three at that intersection area. All the tear downs were somewhat run-down, but 10-15 years ago they would have been nice fixer-uppers. Now, BAM!

At least there's a nice renovation at the corner of Clover and Clarke. The green-ish one across Clover from it was very nicely renovated several years ago. Then someone squeezed a large brick 2-story next to it.

On the first Virginia block north of Camp Bowie, there's a nice renovation of an older (?) 2-story brick home going on, then, right next door, a new mcmansion is being squeezed right in, dwarfing the older home. Looks bad. That thing has an odd single door garage right in front.

Same area, on Clarke, near the Virginia intersection, there's one going in that looks like it will be all garage and concrete in front. Yuk.

#30 vjackson

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 08:45 AM

QUOTE(avenuebabe @ Jul 24 2006, 08:54 AM) View Post

I agree. Large homes built on small blocks are ridiculous.... Didn't mean to be so harsh about 80's houses. I'm sure there are some fantastic ones, as in every decade. Speaking of old N. Dallas houses, there's an area just east of the Tollway, north of Mockingbird (I think) that has some really great residental architecture from the 60's and 70's.

My block is Woodland Ave, one block west of that little row of small Tudors behind Our Lady of Victory. The houses are smaller (around 1300 sq) but well built little arts and crafts bungalows, and mine is a small Tudor style.


I know the neighborhood you're talking about. When I lived in FW, I loved that area....so much potential. Another underated area is the neighborhood around Capps Park. That's the area the city should be awarding tax abatements to developers, not downtown. (But that's another thread and another rant.)

#31 hannerhan

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 04:14 PM

QUOTE(mmiller2002 @ Jul 24 2006, 09:29 AM) View Post

...there's one going in that looks like it will be all garage and concrete in front. Yuk.


The front garage is the single worst design element for a new house in an old neighborhood like Heights, in my opinion. If you don't have an alley to work with for a rear garage, then at least add footage by building over a port cochere, and put the garage in the back like it should be. HGC did a nice job of this with a couple of houses on Dexter if I remember correctly.


#32 ghughes

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 06:07 PM

These two houses were major remodels across the street from each other on Park Hill in University West. Sorry I don't have the "before" shots, but trust me, there is no resemblence to the prior structures even though both made use of some of what was there.

IPB Image

They are both larger than prior but not outsized for the neighborhood, IMHO.

#33 Urbndwlr

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 06:12 PM

QUOTE(mmiller2002 @ Jul 20 2006, 08:12 AM) View Post

QUOTE(hannerhan @ Jul 20 2006, 07:40 AM) View Post


...but overall I've been pretty impressed with the quality and look of the recent houses that are going up in the older neighborhoods.


The quality may be better than the 80's, but to me, most of the new homes in Hi Mount and Heights look like country homes squeezed on city sized lots. They look out of place. Or, they look like Candleridge/Lost Creek style. Or, what's that pair on Hillcrest near El Campo? Blecchh!

I'm not talking about the palacial estates that go up in Monticello or Rivercrest. That's a whole different look.


MMiller - you're on target. Many of the new homes built in the older neighborhoods are being built by builders with terrible taste. The two you noticed on Hillcrest are being built by Ron Carter (a builder). I don't find them vaguely sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood.

I honestly don't know what an effective way is to stop the current epidemic of tastless, out-of-place faux country homes with horribly gaudy designs from infiltrating our neighborhoods. While those homes might not sell as well or quickly as a better designed one, all it takes is a few buyers to emerge to buy them who don't agree with most of the people in the neighborhood who are generally disguested by the trend.

How do you approach a builder who has really bad taste, and effectively convince them to change their practices? Anyone have a suggestion on that one? I'd love to know how to do it tactfully.

#34 hannerhan

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 07:55 PM

QUOTE(Urbndwlr @ Jul 24 2006, 07:12 PM) View Post

MMiller - you're on target. Many of the new homes built in the older neighborhoods are being built by builders with terrible taste. The two you noticed on Hillcrest are being built by Ron Carter (a builder). I don't find them vaguely sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood.

I honestly don't know what an effective way is to stop the current epidemic of tastless, out-of-place faux country homes with horribly gaudy designs from infiltrating our neighborhoods. While those homes might not sell as well or quickly as a better designed one, all it takes is a few buyers to emerge to buy them who don't agree with most of the people in the neighborhood who are generally disguested by the trend.

How do you approach a builder who has really bad taste, and effectively convince them to change their practices? Anyone have a suggestion on that one? I'd love to know how to do it tactfully.


The problem in some of these cases (and specifically, in the one mentioned above with the 2 on Hillcrest) is that there is an investor involved, who is telling the builder what to build and what the budget is. So the builder isn't calling the shots in this case...he's just a hired hand.


#35 mmiller2002

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 08:06 PM

The latest fad seems to be rough wood/barn style garage doors, and exposed timber-look trim in front. Just too country for the 'hood.

#36 cberen1

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 04:19 PM

QUOTE(ghughes @ Jul 24 2006, 07:07 PM) View Post

there is no resemblence to the prior structures even though both made use of some of what was there...

...They are both larger than prior but not outsized for the neighborhood, IMHO.


Boy, they sure didn't use much of what was there. The one on the left had only one wall left standing when they started new construction. It was a remodel in permitting only. The one on the right, I think, used a fair amount of the previous structure, but it still looks completely different.

#37 FWillustrator

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 05:39 PM

QUOTE(mmiller2002 @ Jul 24 2006, 09:06 PM) View Post

The latest fad seems to be rough wood/barn style garage doors, and exposed timber-look trim in front. Just too country for the 'hood.


That's not a garage - that's where the pumpkin-carriage is housed. Cinderella lives up in one of the turrets.


#38 Urbndwlr

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 12:55 AM

QUOTE(hannerhan @ Jul 24 2006, 08:55 PM) View Post

QUOTE(Urbndwlr @ Jul 24 2006, 07:12 PM) View Post

MMiller - you're on target. Many of the new homes built in the older neighborhoods are being built by builders with terrible taste. The two you noticed on Hillcrest are being built by Ron Carter (a builder). I don't find them vaguely sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood.

I honestly don't know what an effective way is to stop the current epidemic of tastless, out-of-place faux country homes with horribly gaudy designs from infiltrating our neighborhoods. While those homes might not sell as well or quickly as a better designed one, all it takes is a few buyers to emerge to buy them who don't agree with most of the people in the neighborhood who are generally disguested by the trend.

How do you approach a builder who has really bad taste, and effectively convince them to change their practices? Anyone have a suggestion on that one? I'd love to know how to do it tactfully.


The problem in some of these cases (and specifically, in the one mentioned above with the 2 on Hillcrest) is that there is an investor involved, who is telling the builder what to build and what the budget is. So the builder isn't calling the shots in this case...he's just a hired hand.


Whomever is calling the design shots is to blame. Often the builder is also the promoter or sole investor in these deals. Even when he or she is hired as a builder, he or she is involved in the design process. The problem is that neither the investor nor the builder (if they are one or two parties) really A) understands what they should be doing or B) doesn't care and only cares about extracting as much $$ from the neighborhood and putting it in their pocket.

I'll pose a question to you all: Is there a difference between what is morally correct and legally permissable (i.e., as it relates to development or building)?

#39 cberen1

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 08:35 AM

QUOTE(Urbndwlr @ Aug 4 2006, 01:55 AM) View Post

I'll pose a question to you all: Is there a difference between what is morally correct and legally permissable (i.e., as it relates to development or building)?


"Morally" might be a bit extreme. I guess, to the extent that you can run people out of business, devalue their property, or materially diminish their quality of life, yeah, you could do something that was legal but immoral. However, I think the bar is pretty high to qualify as immoral.

Most of these homes we're talking about might be in poor taste and detract from the quaint appeal of a neighborhood, but I don't think anyone invoved is on morally shaky ground.

#40 FWillustrator

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 10:01 AM

Urbandweller - I think you raise a very good point about morality, and you may have noticed (or start to notice) that this is the underlying theme in many of my posts.

CBeren - I don't think it's hard to hit the immorality mark, and unfortunately I think a LOT of building business is there.

The following link doesn't pertain specifically to architecture, but does talk about accountability and morality in design - just something for everyone to think about: Article by legendary designer Stefan Sagmeister

#41 cberen1

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 01:13 PM

QUOTE(FWillustrator @ Aug 4 2006, 11:01 AM) View Post

CBeren - I don't think it's hard to hit the immorality mark, and unfortunately I think a LOT of building business is there.



I'm just referring to the topic of the thread, new homes in old neighborhoods. I just can't see how poor taste and lack of foresight are immoral.

Now, I think that there are plenty of examples of immorality in construction, but they still probably relate primarily to defrauding people who don't know any better. You could design structures that were unsafe. Build structures that are not as they are represented.

But to be "immoral" there has to be an element of intent or neglect. I doubt the guys building McMansions intend to devalue the neighborhoods. They don't mean for the houses to be distasteful to the architecture community and they probably don't view them as distasteful. And the truth is, as long as people buy them and are happy with their purchases, it's tough to describe it as immoral.

#42 FWillustrator

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 01:25 PM

^^^
I suppose it's a matter of perception and what you may consider conventional morality. By some perspectives, lack of forsight is by definition immoral. Not to consider the effect your actions has on others, isn't accidental - it's neglect. I personally feel the same applies to what you do to alter the aesthetic character of something that may affect peoples' lives.

#43 cberen1

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 03:00 PM

^^^

Ok, I can see this one falling apart pretty fast, so this is my last comment on the morality issue.

By virtue of your existence, you impact other people. And there is no way to consider every possible outcome of your decisions. Like I said originally, actions that are negligent could certainly qualify as immoral. But, it's not necessarily negligent to do something other people dislike. Why? Because you might hate it and someone else might love it. If the standard is to only do things that everyone likes, or else be considered immoral, then we're all screwed.

I've got to admit, I'm having trouble thinking of rational perspectives where lacking foresight is immoral. Lacking the capacity to see into the future is not, in and of itself, immoral unless that skill is requisite for the position. Designing things that are unsafe, that devalue other property, that are malicious in nature, that cause people to inadvertently do harm to themselves, etc. are all things that would be considered immoral. Designing something you don't like the look of is, at worst, unfortunate, and maybe not even that.

Look at the flip side of it. Is it immoral for you to prevent me from building my dream house because you don't personally care for the design? We're talking about homes that are well within conventional guidelines for home construction. In fact, most of them are probably done with above average materials and amenities.

What if I lived in Arlington Heights for the last 35 years and now I can make a small pile of money by tearing down my house and building a new house that's twice as large. Is that immoral? What if I need the money for retirement, or medical bills? Is that immoral?

One last twist on the question: If you built one of these monstrous, out of place, homes and you were taking your last few breaths of life. Would you ask God to forgive you for your design choices?

If it doesn't jeopardize your soul, it's probably not immoral.


#44 courtnie

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 03:31 PM

I can do the same in my neighborhood. The prices have tripled since I bought my house last year. They have torn down about 6-8 houses in the last year and put up massive mansions. I dont think its immoral...its not like your stealing. You didnt ask for everyone to move in around you and start tearing them down..its not your fault.

#45 FWillustrator

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 04:11 PM

QUOTE(cberen1 @ Aug 4 2006, 04:00 PM) View Post
If it doesn't jeopardize your soul, it's probably not immoral.
Trust me, there is much that people don't repent for out of sheer ignorance.

Ok - where do I begin with this? Hmmmm...it's not always easy for me to formulate things in conceptual terms that can be related by words. Ok, maybe it's better if I pose some questions for you to answer. But remember in all this - I'm not trying to make indictments or hurt feelings. I regard my job as simply playing devil's advocate:

Courtnie - are you sure not stealing from someone, in some way?
Cberen - I wouldn't presume to tell you that my favorite color should be yours too because I have better taste. However, by what underlying morality might our tastes be shaped?

As far as our existence and the impact we have on others: you're right, we can't predict the future. But how often do we really consider the result of our actions with regard to the greater good? So the final question is: what's the right thing to do with our older neighborhoods? I don't have the answer, I'm just an advocate for an alternate point of view devil.gif

#46 mmiller2002

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 07:14 AM

Last night's 60 Minutes on the topic.
http://www.cbsnews.c...in1067145.shtml

I couldn't believe the owners of the outrageous homes actually went on camera. Must take some ego to not care about that of image of excessiveness.

#47 Bradleto

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 09:23 AM

QUOTE(mmiller2002 @ Aug 7 2006, 08:14 AM) View Post

Last night's 60 Minutes on the topic.
http://www.cbsnews.c...in1067145.shtml

I couldn't believe the owners of the outrageous homes actually went on camera. Must take some ego to not care about that of image of excessiveness.


My guess is that these homeowners were approached about letting 60 Minutes come and take a look at their beautiful homes without knowing that the program presentation itself may poke a little fun at the excesses these folks enjoy in their living quarters.

Oh! A friend drove me by that huge home shown on the program "north of Dallas." It is actually sort of just south of Denton to be more exact and I think it is 45,000 sq ft. It was for sale at the time we drove past it a few years ago. It has a wrought iron fence around it and one has to drive for what seems like minutes to cross what would be its front yard. I asked the person showing me the home what the owner did for a living, Goldfield was the name I believe given on TV, and he said that he had developed some component found in all cell phones.

Cheers! Brad


#48 courtnie

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 06:36 AM

QUOTE(FWillustrator @ Aug 4 2006, 05:11 PM) View Post

QUOTE(cberen1 @ Aug 4 2006, 04:00 PM) View Post
If it doesn't jeopardize your soul, it's probably not immoral.
Trust me, there is much that people don't repent for out of sheer ignorance.

Ok - where do I begin with this? Hmmmm...it's not always easy for me to formulate things in conceptual terms that can be related by words. Ok, maybe it's better if I pose some questions for you to answer. But remember in all this - I'm not trying to make indictments or hurt feelings. I regard my job as simply playing devil's advocate:

Courtnie - are you sure not stealing from someone, in some way?
Cberen - I wouldn't presume to tell you that my favorite color should be yours too because I have better taste. However, by what underlying morality might our tastes be shaped?

As far as our existence and the impact we have on others: you're right, we can't predict the future. But how often do we really consider the result of our actions with regard to the greater good? So the final question is: what's the right thing to do with our older neighborhoods? I don't have the answer, I'm just an advocate for an alternate point of view devil.gif

[color=#FF6666] Im curious exactly who would I be stealing from? I bought the house at the price the owner was asking for it. Its not like I went in and devised some scheme to get the house. Is it my fault that the house prices have sky rocketed to the point that when I sell it I will never be able to afford to live in that neighborhood again? I didnt ask for the place I have called home for all of my 28 years to become the play ground of the wealthy. So again I ask exactly who am I stealing from?

#49 cberen1

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 07:49 AM

^^^^

FWIllustrator is just padding his post count. Don't let it bug you.

#50 Yossarian

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 08:00 AM

QUOTE(FWillustrator @ Aug 4 2006, 05:11 PM) View Post

QUOTE(cberen1 @ Aug 4 2006, 04:00 PM) View Post
If it doesn't jeopardize your soul, it's probably not immoral.
Trust me, there is much that people don't repent for out of sheer ignorance.

Ok - where do I begin with this? Hmmmm...it's not always easy for me to formulate things in conceptual terms that can be related by words. Ok, maybe it's better if I pose some questions for you to answer. But remember in all this - I'm not trying to make indictments or hurt feelings. I regard my job as simply playing devil's advocate:

Courtnie - are you sure not stealing from someone, in some way?
Cberen - I wouldn't presume to tell you that my favorite color should be yours too because I have better taste. However, by what underlying morality might our tastes be shaped?

As far as our existence and the impact we have on others: you're right, we can't predict the future. But how often do we really consider the result of our actions with regard to the greater good? So the final question is: what's the right thing to do with our older neighborhoods? I don't have the answer, I'm just an advocate for an alternate point of view devil.gif


In debate, the argument appealing to morality is more often than not the losing argument. It is because "morality" is subjective. And for grins, neglegence cannot be considered "immoral", but is instead "amoral".

As to consideration for the "greater good", we have found out through a good deal of experimentation throughout the history of civilization that the greatest good is achieved by allowing individuals to pursue their own self interest with the sole confine that such pursuit does not infringe upon another's pursuit. The erection of a "McMansion" or demolition of a quaint cottage by person A does not violate that standard with regard to person B. Hobbs, Locke, Smith, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and others were all pretty clear on this issue in that rights accrue to and should be preserved for individuals (the SOB who wants to erect what another SOB finds distasteful) as opposed to groups (a "neighborhood" in which the first SOB will be committing his/her alleged "offense").




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