McMansions is dedicated to protecting the beauty and the serenity of the American River Parkway by encouraging the County's enforcement of the Parkway Plan and its zoning ordinance, the Parkway Corridor Combining Zone
PROTECTION OF THE AMERICAN RIVER PARKWAY
HOW THE COUNTY IS PARTICIPATING
In 2003, developers (Markis/Lien group) submitted to the County a proposed development of three large houses in the Parkway with a 20-foot setback from the river bluff. Neighbors of the proposed houses, parkway supporters, and Save the American River Association vigorously opposed the scale and the setback of the houses - asking the County to support the requirements set forth in the Parkway zoning code. After a six-year campaign, the Supervisors approved two houses with a 35-foot setback.
Though the Parkway community was deeply disappointed at the County's failure to support its own zoning code, subsequent action by the County Supervisor has benefited the Parkway:
**County Supervisors have commissioned County Parks to contact Parkway homeowners who have failed to comply with requirements of the zoning code; Through SARA's efforts (and financial assistance from the Parkway community), County Supervisors are now fully aware of the proliferation of offensive, non-compliant houses that litter the banks and the bluffs of the Parkway (see the houses shown on the "McMansions" page.)
**County Supervisors have commissioned the County Planning Department to create a brochure (The American River Parkway Corridor Zoning Guidebook), to be mailed to all homeowners within the county whose land and home are governed by the Parkway Zoning Code's regulations, reminding homeowners of the regulations to be observed before planning a project.
** The Markis/Lien houses, though much closer to the viewshed than any Parkway user would want, will be less intrusive than the original project proposed in 2003. The developer has committed to proper house materials and color and to adequate landscaping with appropriate materials, irrigated in a responsible way.
ONE OF THE TWO MARKIS/LIEN HOUSES
McMansions is deeply grateful to the Sacramento Bee for its support of the Parkway and the Parkway's zoning code. Since 2003, the Bee has written six editorials opposing visually intrusive houses in the Parkway. In the days preceding the February 2008 Markis/Lien Supervisorial hearing, the Bee covered the issue with an editorial, a front-page article, and followed up with an article on the front page of the Metro section.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD REGARDING VISUALLY INTRUSIVE HOUSES IN THE PARKWAY VIEWSHED:
"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." G.B. Shaw The Parkway belongs to the public: nine million visits annually – more than the number of visitors to Yosemite Park. Those who love and care about the Parkway can and should bring their collective voices to the County approval authorities when there are threats to the beauty and the natural serenity of the Parkway. The creators of the Parkway envisioned a natural sanctuary within a metropolitan area for passive recreation – not an “urban park,” not an exclusive housing enclave. To ensure this goal, city and county leaders and citizen activists created the Parkway Plan and its zoning ordinance, The Parkway Corridor Combining Zone.
Send in your pictures of big houses in the Parkway: visually-instrusive houses with no screening, with non-native, non-compliant landscaping, with patios, stairs, other accessory structures cascading down the bluff/riverbank, houses of non-earthtone colors, houses that visually invade the serene aesthetics of the Parkway. Your pictures will be posted on the website, along with what is there now(see the "McMansions" page of www.McMansions.org). Perhaps a rogues' gallery of offending houses readily available to everyone will keep the Supervisors conscious of their obligation to the intent and the spirit of the Parkway's Zoning Code.
Write to your Supervisor and tell him/her of your support for the Parkway and its aesthetic values. Write to Don Nottoli and thank him for voting to support the 50-foot setback recommended by the County Planning Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org
What's a McMansion? According to the Word Spy, the word McMansion has evolved from meaning "a large cookie-cutter house" to "a large opulent house, especially a new house that has a size and style that doesn’t fit in with the surrounding houses." McMansions.org was chosen because it symbolizes inappropriate and intrusive development along the American River Parkway.
Mansionization: The Word Spy defines "mansionization" as the act of tearing down an existing house and replacing it with one that is bigger, especially one that is much larger than the surrounding houses. A "Trophy House" is a house used to enhance status and impress other people. Newsweek magazine recently noted that the average single-family dwelling has almost doubled in size over the last thirty years, although family size has gotten smaller. The American River Parkway deserves to be protected from inappropriate and intrusive mansionization.