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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No McMansions, please

April 13, 2023
By Boca Beacon Reader

To the Editor: 

I admit to being a die-hard gawker of the beautiful homes on BG – all types, but especially the architectural gems along the perimeter of the island. For me the only city homes more fun to gawk at are in Amsterdam, where they are also nestled along the banks of the sea and canals, but that, of course, is a lesson in the 17th century Dutch style, so unlike what we have here. So it is disconcerting when there are more and more deviations from what makes this place so beautiful architecturally.

 I’m referring to the handful of gargantuan McMansions cropping up now, and, insult to injury, all seem to hug their property line so closely as to cast a gray shadow on their neighbor and to heighten the anticipation of hearing the next time your neighbor flushes his toilet. Do these owners have 35 grandchildren to bed over the winter? Or are we seeing the beginnings of a contest to see who can build the biggest and gaudiest house on the island? Nantucket, here we come!

Most here are probably either indifferent or unaware of these new west coast Mar-A-Logos. After all, we live in a free country and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What’s ugly to me may be the culmination of a lifetime of saving and source of pride to the new owners.

We have zoning and historical boards here that may be focused less on style than context within county ordinances, but do we have a group focused more on conformity to aesthetic canon? If so they have been asleep at the switch. Or maybe we need more restrictions on the breadth of a house plan as well as its height. That would take the subjective out of the approval process. If we can’t reach a solution now, the island will soon lose much of its allure.

– Dave Williams 

Boca Grande