CNN Money has an article discussing residents that are turning against the gigantic houses. The article has some good stats comparing the increase in average house size with the decrease in average household size.
Link to article
Residents are bringing up some classic arguements that date back to some of the original reasons for zoning such as inadequate light. Apparently these huge houses are going into inner-ring areas that have small lots, but the houses are being built as tall/wide as possible, often dwarfing the older houses in the area. There's also complaints about privacy loss since these new giants are able to peer down on their neighbors. Other concerns involve increased impervious cover and its affect on stormwater runoff.
My first thoughts on this were why doesn't the city have more restrictive maximum heights in the residential areas and why don't they have maximum impervious lot coverage requirements? I thought these had been a staple of zoning ordinances for decades...
However, someone from APA actually came down from the ivory tower of planning utopia to chime in on the subject.
Michael Davidson of the American Planning Association said, "Every community is different. Higher density can sometimes serve a neighborhood." Packing more homes on smaller amounts of land can free other acreage for recreation. And mass transit, a darling of urbanists, works most efficiently when there's a large population living along its corridor.
I'm trying to figure out how he took a discussion about houses being too large for the lots they are on into a discussion about density and mass transit. It's still going on the same size lot, so the only influence on density is how many people live in the house. I believe the complaint was about the aesthetics of these large houses in relation to the neighborhood--why don't you try addressing the actual complaint!! There is more to life than promoting high density APA!!!