As the Boston real estate market continues to flourish, some real estate developers are moving out towards Boston’s suburbs to seek new opportunities. As the downtown area gets more and more saturated, Boston’s surrounding towns are starting to feel the ripple effect of all the new developments, including Needham.
A common practice for developers is to buy an old house in the suburbs, tear it down and rebuild it bigger and better. They’re buying up old colonials and ranches, tearing them down, and building large “McMansions” in their place. This can cause issues with local residents, as this type of development can have unintended consequences.
In Needham, for example, residents are calling for the town to create more regulations to manage all of the new construction in their neighborhood. In one case, a new house under construction was so large, and so close to the neighbors house, that water runoff from the house caused a leak in their basement.
Residents of Needham put together a group called “Restore Needham”. This group is pushing for limits on the height of new construction homes, as well as proximity to the street and/or edge of property. The proposal comes amid a surge of new development in Needham, where older houses are coming down to make way for larger and more expensive homes.
Residents worry that builders are trying to stuff too much house on a small piece of property. The result is that the new homes dwarf other houses on the block, and houses inch closer and closer to their respective neighbors. This can cause issues with water run off and privacy concerns for local residents.
This is the classic struggle that many neighborhoods face when seeing a surge of new development. The towns zoning board will have to strike a delicate balance to bring a resolution to the table that will appease both sides. Of course they want to keep current residents happy. However, if they put too many regulations in place, it could actually drive property values down and scare off potential developers. The proposal is set to go in front of the committee next month.
Published October 19, 2016
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