August 13, 2005

Builder: We’re Not The Ones Demanding Large Houses On Big Lots

The message that builders prefer to build large homes on large lots has been believed and delivered by a number of professional planners throughout New Jersey," writes Patrick Bunn, president of the Builders League of South Jersey and director of construction at J.S. Hovnanian & Sons, in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It is not true, however. ...

"[Builders] are eager to work with municipalities and other governing entities to create smart, dynamic neighborhoods that can sustain themselves over time. Unfortunately, that opportunity rarely happens in New Jersey. In the end, builders build only what zoning and regulations allow them to."

According to Bunn, it's a lot riskier and more difficult to try "unconventional" smart-growth projects in the typical suburb, and THAT'S why so many builders stick to the classic subdivision. If you recall the lengthy process trying to get PUD district projects approved in Framingham, you might concede he has a point. If it's easier to build sprawl and more profitable to build McMansions, that's what businesses are going to build. But it's not necessarily true that all Americans want a McMansion; plenty of people still desire affordable housing in walkable communities.

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