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Original post made
on Apr 2, 2014
How did a spec mdular home get thru planning commission? -- bringing down the value of Beautiful Allied Arts neighborhood!!
Modular homes have a lot of potential and much less construction impact on he neighbors. However in this case I pity the neighbor on Middle who now has a two story straight-up prison wall next to his property. Can't believe the planning commission and department allowed that type of second story w/o requiring it to be set back from the first floor. Typical of our planning dept and commission.
Guessing it's a spec house if ownership is as suspected.
Give modular a chance! This was designed by a very talented Architect, Toby Long of Clever Homes, and is finely appointed with Wenge wood cabinets, Kitchenaid appliances, weathering steel exterior, and Andersen Windows. It will be beautiful, not a lego-kit on the corner! Modular doesn't define this project, it's simply a delivery system to build faster and better. Here's a final rendering: Web Link
Irontown . . You described the interior of the house quite thoroughly, however, it is the exterior that concerns the community. Nevertheless, I do agree that modular homes can be beautiful and do provide for much quicker, quieter and cleaner construction.
With an eye to rebuilding after a major earthquake, this type of construction should be given serious consideration.
The house on the end of San Mateo Drive at the creek bank also has straight walls and flat roofs, and it's quite attractive in its own way. It might even be modular.
Being attractive in one's own way is a worthy achievement, whether you're a house, a bicycle or a person on the street. It's a matter of spirit, and it can take many, many forms.
Old school construction has no monopoly. Even major bridges are being built with modules. New dorms at Stanford were done this way. It's cause for celebration that they look as good as they do.
As for property values in the beautiful Allied Arts neighborhood, this neighborhood is in need of some diversity. The words stodgy and provincial come to mind. Property values aren't everything. If the health of a community depends on conformity as to the value of one's home, then it's a proximity, not a community.
Good point about earthquakes. After the quake just restack the blocks. A crew of toddlers could do it.
But seriously, modulars would be an excellent way to quickly rebuild.
I went to the Planning Commission meeting where this was approved and I was strongly in favor of the design. I live only a stone's throw from this property. I don't believe there was any opposition at the time, just support.
Hats off to the City for thinking outside of the box (pun?). Everything else we buy comes out of a factory, why not houses? As long as the exterior design is well-orchestrated to mask the seam lines and disguise this as modular, it should look no different than a conventionally built home. I'm a resident of MP and all for it. Way to go.
The house is attractive, but it belongs on a much bigger lot. It is very intrusive to neighboring homes.
It looms over the house behind it (on Middle). Its first floor seems almost as tall as the neighbor's rooftop.
We need design guidelines so new houses fit in better. I'm not talking about the style but about the impact on privacy and maybe sunlight on neighboring properties.
Menlo Park has planning guidelines. This is what is required to be submitted to planning prior to obtaining permission to build: Web Link Seems pretty thorough to me.
Here are some design guidelines for the R-2 residential district: Web Link
Here is a summary of the zoning ordinance requirements for lot size, coverage, set backs, etc: Web Link
This town has substantial design guidelines and requirements. This project likely complies or they would had to have been granted Use Permit or a variance: Web Link
"We need design guidelines so new houses fit in better."
Design guidelines for private homes would be a recipe for disaster, just like having city food guidelines or city clothing guidelines.
The existing ordinances provide for controls on height, setbacks etc. - to go further would lead to an endless process to build a new home or remodel an existing one.
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