As Seattle cracks down on McMansions, a question lingers: Are huge homes morally wrong?

Seattle wants more backyard cottages and fewer McMansions. What does the rise and fall of the McMansion say about America, and are smaller homes intrinsically more ethical?

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  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2019 3:07 p.m.

    One of the challenges with the wealthy is 95% of them fo feel entitled. They are the ones eho have high priced accountants to help them figure out how to get out of paying as many taxes as possible. In Jeff Bezos neighborhoid of billionaires and millionaires, the city doesn't even have enough money to properly run city services. What does this tell you? They seldom are willing to pay their fair share of taxes. Tax codes tend to favor the wealthy. There is a reason for this. You are not the onky one who worjed hard and went to school and sants a decent life. So did teachers, police officers, nurses, social workers, EMT's and many others needed in our society. We shouldn't cater to the few at the expense of the whole.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    July 14, 2019 12:22 a.m.

    @LOU Montana: "Did you not read the part that it is a homeowner's choice?"

    Are you half so supportive of his choice to own firearms, or to keep horses or chickens in a residential neighborhood as you are his choice to increase housing density contrary to the zoning that he and all his neighbors bought into?

    "Did you not read that it is an opportunity to create income on your own property?"

    So is opening a tannery or other business. But zoning properly limits what we do with property to avoid imposing negative impacts on our neighbors.

    High density housing is fine, where it belongs. What is not fine is changing zoning mid-game after people have purchased in low density areas. Adding high density adds congestion to roads. Causes parking problems in many areas. And otherwise negatively impacts neighbors.

    "Stop all the crying and get onboard. Down sizing is in and gluttony is shameful."

    So it is ok to engage in shaming for conduct you don't like? Will you grant others the same right for conduct they find offensive?

    Yet another evidence of how one sided is claimed left wing "tolerance." There is no tolerance. "Get on on board or be shamed or worse," is the left wing mantra.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    July 14, 2019 12:16 a.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil: "So answer me this. If my house ( a McMansion) consumes less than 10% of my income, and your morally correct consumes a higher percentage of their income, who is living more morally?"

    Interesting how we justify our own behavior while too often condemning the peaceful behavior of others we dislike.

    What if your home consumes far more resources--whether to build or maintain--than someone considers to be your "fair share?" As an American, almost every home consumes several times the resources of the living quarters of half or more of the world living in 3rd world conditions. Some might argue it is immoral for you to do that. Some might want to impose carbon or other taxes on you and transfer that money to people in 3rd world nations, or inner city residents of our own.

    What if your income is yours only because of your various "privilege?" That you can afford a massive home on only 10% of your income might suggest you are not paying your fair share in taxes.

    To be clear, I reject these claims in favor of your right to spend your money as you see fit. But I remind us that they do exist and can be applied to you as readily as they are to someone wealthier than you.

  • Endure2End San Jose, CA
    July 12, 2019 9:23 a.m.

    No one can tell people what they need or should have. This is America.

  • mrjj69 Bountiful, UT
    July 10, 2019 9:32 p.m.

    As we recently celebrated independence day, we are becoming less free.

  • search diligently Lehi, UT
    July 10, 2019 4:52 p.m.

    Liberal progressive socialists have all sorts of ideas on how others should live and spend their money. And if others don't conform to their wishes, they throw out labels. You are racist, a supremacist, an elite, or in this case "immoral". This article illustrates that point.

    I thought America was about having your own dreams and making decisions without fear of some government (or neighbors) castigating you or hampering your enjoyment of the work of your own hands.

    We are living in a sad time when good is called evil or immoral and when true immorality is called fashionable and to be promoted.

  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 9, 2019 9:10 a.m.

    For those of you who need to announce your materialistic success to the world through a fake castle, go ahead! Just don't complain when your expensive landscaping dries up if we need to ration water, or if your home slides off the hill, or if, like Senator Mike Lee, you need to file in bankruptcy court because you can't make your mortgage payments.

    And please don't view me as a loser because I've chosen a modest home and consciously try to limit my impact on the earth's resources.

    Rock on, millionaires next door!

  • Robroy Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2019 8:23 a.m.

    More lunacy from the left coast.

  • sman columbia, MS
    July 9, 2019 4:47 a.m.

    It seems to me that this country was formed to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. I don't understand the huge houses myself, but it is not my business or the Federal Government or anyone else's to dictate what someone wants in a house , car , or any other possession.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    July 9, 2019 1:04 a.m.

    Is American freedom dwindling and envy on the rise.

    If someone has the skill to earn money and success, than more power to them! It doesn't effect my ability and freedom to succeed.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 10:27 p.m.

    Yes, they use up a lot of resources in water, power, land, and other things. Land and water are limited resources. We need to use resources wisely. Just because people have millions and billions doesn't mean they have a right to exploit resources for their own personal gain and enjoyment.

  • NeilT Harrisville, UT
    July 8, 2019 8:42 p.m.

    President Hinckley taught buy a modest home and live within your means. I have seen President Monson's home. Two car carport in a middle class neighborhood. I do consider large expensive homes nothing more than a display of vanity. That is my opinion. We have always had zoning laws. I have always desired a home with privacy and comfort. large homes are just plain impractical. Expensive and time consuming to clean and maintain. I don't believe government we should dictate home size. On the other hand it is no longer practical for everyone to live in a single family home on a large lot. We need high density housing. It is immoral to price people out of the the housing market. People need affordable housing.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 8, 2019 8:22 p.m.

    I wonder what kind of messages we send our children when we build larger houses than we need?

    The current cries we hear coming from the great and spacious building tempt us to compete for ownership in the things of this world. We think we need a larger
    home, with a three-car garage.

    So said Tom Perry.

  • Zurich11 Frisco, TX
    July 8, 2019 6:27 p.m.

    Articles like these are published because we now have a huge portion of the population who feel they are entitled to everything and since they don't want to work hard for it by job hopping every 6 months, they want to see it taken away from the wealthy. Its obvious, by using the word "immoral" it's a way of hiding their true jealousy. If you really weren't jealous, you would drive by large homes on huge estates and marvel at their beauty and say to yourself, one day, I want a house just like that and I want to work my butt off. "Ask not what your country can do for you"... I'm afraid has turned into.. "this country owes me."

  • Noam Provo, UT
    July 8, 2019 5:59 p.m.

    Since when is the government legislating against “immorality”? It seems they are increasingly legislating for it. Immorality is not the question. Deseret News is creating a straw man argument. Whether large homes are moral or immoral is irrelevant. The question is does the government have the right (the moral right) to intrude where people themselves make decisions as to what it means to pursue happiness (as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others.) If overlarge homes are no longer viable then changing times and the market will naturally make adjustments without the government interfering.
    Also, it’s pretty well safe to observe what Seattle does—and then do the opposite.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    July 8, 2019 5:57 p.m.

    Where do some of you get off making off topic and disruptive, hateful comments about "the left" and Democrats?

    Political partisanship was never mentioned in the article!

    This isn't a partisan issue. Local zoning laws in Seattle are not being changed over partisan political differences; they are being changed in response to practical housing problems in many major metropolitan areas.

    The article that mentions mansions as a moral issue is from 2012, and was referring to the mansions of the uber wealthy, like Bill Gates; not what this naive author defines as "McMansions".

    Many of these comments are almost as silly as is this mashup of an article!

  • dolce et decorum est , 00
    July 8, 2019 5:28 p.m.

    Invariably, large homes scar the hillsides for everyone down in the valley. The other environmental impacts had by large homes are negative for everyone, not just the owner. For what healthy reason would one want to make one's guests and neighbors feel lesser by one's ostentation? Besides, my conscience would give me a devil of a time when the resources could be employed so much better by so many with greater needs. Suffice it to say, I am not a big fan of McMansions, and I do not think they generally reflect well on their owners.

    However, despite the assumptions behind so many comments here, I don't think the article says anything about making McMansions illegal, just loosening up the zoning laws that give the government power to enforce against other uses where McMansions already exist. Its a complicated issue, but loosening the zoning laws is probably a good thing.

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    July 8, 2019 4:59 p.m.

    "Someone show me where it says in the Constitution that the government can tell you what size your house can be or not be."

    I would be upset also if the federal government were dictating the use of private property, but in this case it is local city government that is doing the restricting. The US Constitution is a federal document which enumerates the powers granted to the government of the United States. The tenth amendment to the Constitution reserves to the states or to the people powers not granted to the federal government. Because cities are extensions of the individual states and derive their powers from their state constitutions, they are able to enact ordinances to restrict people from using their property in certain ways, such as are described in the article, without violating the US Constitution. I would like to know which specific provisions of the Constitution you think are being violated by Seattle's effort to restrict the size of new home building.

  • Contemplator Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 4:59 p.m.

    Morality is something that was invented by humans and it has been evolving as time goes on. It is no longer considered immoral for a woman to wear pants or expose her knees, for example. To me the question of whether McMansions are "immoral" is very subjective and relative.

    A better question may be whether McMansions are going out of style. From what I can see in the real estate market, the homes that have a modern or mid-century modern appearance and a well designed functional interior are definitely a hotter item on the market, even if smaller and a bit more expensive, compared to sheer square footage in a cheaply designed wrapper.

    I don't f find homes with super high cathedral ceilings really that great to live in. I wouldn't want to live in a room that resembles a church, a railway station, or a foyer of a hotel or bank. Scale is important for a room to feel just right. Not too tight, not too low of a ceiling but not the opposite either. Good architects are hard to find.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    July 8, 2019 4:50 p.m.

    Why all the upset and hateful comments. This zoning has yet to hit Utah, so why is everyone freaking out?

    Did you not read the part that it is a homeowner's choice?

    Did you not read that it is an opportunity to create income on your own property?

    We are living in changing times. Electric cars and solar panels will be the norm very soon.

    Stop all the crying and get onboard. Down sizing is in and gluttony is shameful.

  • Nottrue Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 4:07 p.m.

    Yes, another way government is telling you how to live again! Someone show me where it says in the Constitution that the government can tell you what size your house can be or not be. I personally don't own or care for a large home, I own what is in my budget, I am happy with that. If someone buys or builds a large place, that is up to that person. But as usual, a liberal idea coming from a liberal city wants to control your aspect of life in every way possible. Liberal idea aren't going to be a liability to the rest of the country.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    July 8, 2019 3:54 p.m.

    How exactly has Seattle cracked down on McMansions again? Been pondering this. Have they changed zoning that they can't be built. Nope. Have they raised the tax rate on homes over a certain square footage? Nope. So per the author, how are they "cracking down"?

    Allowing for secondary residences in them isn't cracking down. It does allow for additional income opportunities. It also accommodates separate units to accommodate move in family like I have. My "second" unit technically isn't legal because it has a full kitchen, but then again a lot of my neighbors also have these in their homes.

    I know this is popular spin - anti gentrification efforts and all being popular - but this simply seems to be a way to increase population density in areas of high need for housing. After consideration, this isn't really all that provocative at all. It largely legalizes what a lot of people in Utah do in normal course.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 3:11 p.m.

    And conservatives are considered "fascists"? BAHAHA

  • franc Kirkland, WA
    July 8, 2019 3:05 p.m.

    Why do people think that if you don’t spend YOUR $$ on one thing that it is then $$ you can/should spend to “help others?” It’s still YOUR $$ to spend any way you want.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    July 8, 2019 2:49 p.m.

    Sounds to me like the market is taking care of the McMansion "problem".
    Dare I mention the jobs in the construction, supplier, service, and maintenance areas?

    Was it morally right to get those stuck up rich guys in their yachts? That resulted in the loss of an entire US industry (small boatyards) along with their suppliers. And those stuck up rich guys still have their yachts: They just buy and maintain them somewhere else.

  • Tennyson Riverton, UT
    July 8, 2019 2:07 p.m.

    @ FTF

    In regards to your comment: "Classic example of hoarding resources and unfairly denying them to people who are not as lucky -- and I do mean lucky -- as you."

    On the luck part: I live in what this article would define as a McMansion. I thank the Lord daily for blessings I know I have received and pray for the ability to continue working hard to maintain them for myself and to give others. I actively seek to help others and give of my abundance. Is this the luck you are talking about? I recognize it as a blessing, but I know it took a lot of hard work over years and years to obtain it. I don't think I would ever consider my hours and hours of studying for exams at school, sacrificing time with friends and family so I could earn a chance at a good job as luck. And I sure hope my kids never think they can get a job on luck.

    On the hoarding resources: What resources are you talking about? Water? Electricity? Land? My ability to own/use any of these resources are not limiting anyone else from working toward the same.

    Living in a Hollywood world mindset where people are taught to think they can only make it on luck is far more immoral than working for the things I have.

  • Flipphone , 00
    July 8, 2019 1:51 p.m.

    would anyone's 300 st.ft shed be consider a rent able cottage?

  • Tennyson Riverton, UT
    July 8, 2019 1:49 p.m.

    I find this article to be a laughable example of something not talked about too often, but a serious and growing problem. That is of the "not so rich" looking up with envy at the "rich." Everyone will have their own definition of who fits in these classes, but the way the "not so rich" characterizes the "rich" is pretty consistent. They tend to vilify the rich by claiming that they could do more with their money. They say things like, "they could have a smaller house and give more to the poor." Yet, the same could be said of them. Everyone could do more at a scale comparable to their earnings, however, my experience (and a lot of statistics show this too) is that the "rich" are in fact the people doing more at scale. They pay more taxes, give more to tithes and charity, they pay for others missions and school, and open the doors of their "McMansions" to family and friends down on their luck. They work hard for the money they give, all the while the people pointing their fingers at them are giving a fraction (at scale) to what the "rich" give and go home and with envy complain about the "rich" while they play video games and waste their lives. Who is living life more morally?

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 1:44 p.m.

    @ jazzfan - Canton, SD

    So what? If I want a bigger house and I can afford the extra cost for the heat, lights & gas, what do you care? And exactly who is the apartment dweller that is paying for my large lot infrastructure? Seems to me, I'm subsidizing the apartment dweller in the form of welfare checks, rent subsidies, food stamps and free health care. Yet I pay all of that stuff myself? My moderately size house on a large lot costs no one but me.

  • FTF Park City, UT
    July 8, 2019 1:29 p.m.

    Hard "yes." Classic example of hoarding resources and unfairly denying them to people who are not as lucky -- and I do mean lucky -- as you. And to owners the developers, builders, buyers and sellers of these moral monstrosities.

    And here they come in defense, all those Libertarian philosophical arguments, which amount to nothing but a glib rationalization for greed.

  • dtlenox Beaverton, OR
    July 8, 2019 1:21 p.m.

    I like the idea of changing the zoning to allow folks to add smaller cottages to their existing yards, in areas where affordable housing is in high demand. Those kinds of homes are in really high demand and sell more quickly in the current housing market, and I see no reason why this wouldn't remain so. Lots of folks (including me) would love to rent a cottage to other family members, either young couples or single folks just starting out in their careers, or else older couples looking to size down. It would also have the extra benefit of allowing them to live close by. These are also very handy as guest cottages or else to rent to strangers for extra income or else have it as an airbnb. I also don't see limiting the single family home size based on percentage of lot size to be a bad thing. More space for gardens and privacy can only increase the livability and sustainability of a community, and is also better for the environment. I think the large homes on dinky lots with no privacy might as well be just large, luxury apartments or large, luxury condos. Having these types of rules are just basically zoning law modifications, which all communities have.

  • Makid Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 1:03 p.m.

    The thing is, it isn't just about size. It is also about connectivity. This would mean less dead end streets, culdesacs and smaller neighborhoods.

    I live in a smaller house (1500 sq ft total approx). The neighborhood has no dead end streets, culdesacs and the like. It is less than 1/4 mile from a Smiths and 1.5 blocks on 3 sides from transit. The transit in each direction is being upgraded to 15 minute or faster frequencies (3 different routes). I am close to both I-15 and I-215 (Less than 1.5 miles to each). Currently driving or transit takes roughly the same time to get to Downtown SLC (5 minutes).

    Houses in the neighborhood are on the market for an average of 7 days. Closing prices are nearly 20% over asking with multiple bidders. The market in the area is so fierce that multiple real estate agents come by every week asking to represent us in the event we want to sell and tell us the current market rate.

    I bought my house for just over $200K 2.5 years ago, today it is work $330K and will be close to $400K by the end of the year.

    So there is high demand for smaller, well connected houses and neighborhoods, if developers offer it.

  • Sense&Sensibility Mesa, AZ
    July 8, 2019 1:00 p.m.

    The Dalai Lama lives in exile in India. You’re right though, that he did live in a palace in Tibet for a time. He was born into a family of poor farmers.

    Soon after he arrived in Mussoorie in 1959, He met with the Indian Prime Minister and they discussed rehabilitating the Tibetan refugees. I like this quote from him too, which supports my father’s (& my belief) that education is the key to rising out of poverty, & that we have a moral obligation to use our means wisely:

    “Realizing the importance of modern education for the children of Tibetan refugees, His Holiness impressed upon Nehru the need to create a Special Section for Tibetan Education within the Indian Ministry of Education. The Indian Government agreed to bear all the expenses for setting up the schools for the Tibetan children.”

    Also, zoning laws have always been in place in U.S. cities to restrict what can be built & where. These new laws benefit the poor & that is what many find objectionable. Helping people rise out of poverty & have homes benefits everyone!

  • northland55 Provo, UT
    July 8, 2019 12:44 p.m.

    This is not morally right or morally wrong. This is not a moral question. It could be a matter of preference. It could be a matter of logistics. But morality???

  • jazzfan Canton, SD
    July 8, 2019 12:41 p.m.

    For your consideration:
    1. Home size and city planning ought to be a concern of local governments because a city is responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. If citizens cannot afford housing that impacts the welfare of citizens. Larger homes typically also mean larger lots, which means the city is on the hook for more infrastructure costs (i.e. roads, sewer, water). Low density areas of cities are being subsidized by high density property owners.
    2. Larger homes use more resources. There is more to heat, cool, and light. This type of low-density development also makes it difficult to live without a car. All of this means an increased carbon footprint that ultimately impacts the most vulnerable of society.
    3. For Latter-day Saints , living opulently is blatantly against the type of lifestyle we commit to live: "For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare...Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment" (D & C 104: 17-18).

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 12:37 p.m.

    Yup, nothing like inviting the slums into the neighborhood. I guess I'm just lucky my entire area is finished with modest homes on minimum 1/2 acre lots. Keeps the riff-raff out.

  • 1Reader Alpine, UT
    July 8, 2019 12:27 p.m.

    A "McMansion" is just what someone calls a house that is much larger and nicer than theirs. There's really no definition whatsoever.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    July 8, 2019 12:19 p.m.

    "If you got money, build" your monument" to your success. If you don't have money, live in a house like mine."

    So answer me this. If my house ( a McMansion) consumes less than 10% of my income, and your morally correct consumes a higher percentage of their income, who is living more morally? I look at it that money is a stewardship, and if you are not doing other things because your house is too expensive, then that is a problem. But if you are able to do all the things you are supposed to do - pay for missions, pay a good tithe, donate generously a fast offering, give to other good causes, then there is no issue. Unless you know someone else particular circumstances, there is little room to judge.

    Its rather funny though... when we moved to NC at first we moved to a neighborhood called Preston "Estates". We were told it was the place to be. Lots of trying to prove they were more successful than their neighbors. Same thing to a lessor scale in a neighborhood in Issaquah, WA. When we moved to a truly affluent neighborhood in Durham NC (we were the trailer trash of the neighbors), no one competed or did anything based on what others thought. It was so refreshing.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 8, 2019 11:40 a.m.

    @ xert

    "Except in Texas."

    That made me laugh!

  • Tumbleweed Centerville, UT
    July 8, 2019 11:36 a.m.

    Wow. Leftist "social justice warriors" want to limit the size of our homes along with the size of our soft drinks? No matter that "McMansions" create jobs for builders and their employees; wealth that is redistributed into the economy as these employees buy their needs and wants. The socialist mind - meh.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    July 8, 2019 11:34 a.m.

    @Sense&Sensibility: "Interestingly, this tweet from the Dalai Lama was posted above this article today"

    You realize that the Dalai Lama lives in a palace...right? :D

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    July 8, 2019 11:28 a.m.

    It is not really a "moral" question.
    If a community decides to allow or disallow large homes, I suppose they have that right.
    Politicians thrive on a high-density, poor, dependent class. Creative, productive individuals will tend to gravitate towards where they are allowed to live as they wish.

  • mominthetrenches Riverton, UT
    July 8, 2019 11:27 a.m.

    In answer to the caption question, No. I don't think anyone can dictate how large or small our dwellings should be, esp when someone has the means to pay for it. I CAN understand the angle of this article, though-that area, and all along the west coast, their population density forces the cities to find solutions to problems that we are only just beginning to encounter, here in Utah. I think they are genuinely trying to find a creative solution to their housing problem, and this article was interesting to read about what they are doing. They can see homeless people everywhere along with those who are aging and moving in with their adult children. I think it is wrong to judge and regulate someone's house size, but if there truly is a shortage of land/space, re-zoning is not an uncommon thing to do. Look all over cities like South Jordan, Herriman, Draper & Riverton, that used to be known for their open space, but are now FULL of high density housing, which was re-zoned to accommodate building more homes (and they are smaller). We, too, are trying to create affordable housing for our adult married children and grandchildren to live, so that they can continue to live near us.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 11:28 a.m.

    @liberal larry - "We have over 7 billion people on the planet, and each of us gets 1/7,000,000,000th"

    I hope you are being sarcastic. Because if you do the math, you will realize this is a very big world we live in. If you divvied up the land in just the second smallest continent Europe (cause no one wants to live in Antarctica the smallest continent); you would end up with an acre of land for a family of 6 (give or take).

    Now, I grew up in the Urban Sprawl of Sandy, UT with a family of 10 on a quarter acre lot; even then while I did share a bedroom; there was plenty room on the lot to run and play, and grow a lot of our own food from several gardens; and plant flowers; and storage for emergency. And it was a pretty big "rambler" single story home. If I were to imagine four times the size of that; and cut out some siblings, 1 acre for a family of 6 is a HUGE amount of space, and again that would just be divvying up the land in Europe for the entire world population.

    If you divvied up the entire world; you would see that this world can easily maintain a population 100 times what is currently on it. Yes at least 700 billion. It really is a big world; even if we call it small.

  • Sense&Sensibility Mesa, AZ
    July 8, 2019 10:53 a.m.

    Interestingly, this tweet from the Dalai Lama was posted above this article today:

    “Education needs to be combined with a sincere, compassionate motivation. When intelligence and warm-heartedness are combined, individuals will be happier and more at peace with themselves, their families will benefit and as a result the wider community will benefit too.”

    I’m glad I was raised by a father who believed in not only in getting a good education & having a good work ethic & who was successful in part because of that, but who taught his children to never do anything to show off. He invested in properties that were purchased by wealthy people who tried to out do each other with each subsequent build. He lived modestly & helped many people rise up through education & other means.

    As his children, we went to schools that were diverse economically, racially & ethnically. As a result, we grew up with friends from varied backgrounds & loved them rather than feared them. I’m grateful for that.

    What the Dalai Lama said rings true to me & I’ve witnessed the peace & community building that comes from using education & opportunity this way firsthand.

  • Flipphone , 00
    July 8, 2019 10:46 a.m.

    This is Socialism Government telling you want you can and can't build.

  • Flipphone , 00
    July 8, 2019 10:44 a.m.

    I have a insulated drywall 300 ft shed add electricity and I can rent it for $500 dollars a month.

  • Biscuit , 00
    July 8, 2019 10:21 a.m.

    If you got money, build" your monument" to your success. If you don't have money, live in a house like mine. The government should have no say in how big your house should be. Best advice, move out of Seattle.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    July 8, 2019 10:12 a.m.


    "If I worked hard for my education and subsequently hard to build a good business where we paid our employees well and we were successful, and I can afford what I want, why is it some grasping and groping government officials prerogative to tell me what to buy or live in our "free" society."

    one word: envy

  • Aggielove Caldwell, ID
    July 8, 2019 9:58 a.m.

    Freedom of choice.
    Until those that chose the most expensive need government funded help in whatever matter.
    Sadly Utah has become the poster child for this.

  • No One Of Consequence Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 9:42 a.m.

    Another facet of this article is the encouragement to build a cottage for Grandma in the back yard, presumably to free up housing for younger people. But what happens after Grandma passes? Who will the city allow to live in those tiny homes? When the more affluent neighborhoods are full of back-yard cottages housing students, young couples or recovering addicts the property values will change drastically. If the City Government pushed for this change, does any loss in property value become a "taking?"

    Certain "elitists" believe they know best what to do with the property, money and time of others. It is the worst form of greed.

  • kbee Syracuse, UT
    July 8, 2019 9:38 a.m.

    If you live in a communist country, a country with little space to live, a country with severe restrictions on your freedom to choose, a poor country, a country with few jobs, a country ruled by religious leaders etc. then it is decided what you will build already. Morality is subjective to most Americans because of our freedoms. In our country, don't preach about morality to your neighbor because it is none of their business: who you cohabitate with, how you live, what life choices you make, how you raise your children, what you drive, how you spend money....nobody's business. To cry morality on gluttony vs not cry morality on adultry etc. is pure hypocrisy. Stop it. We are free still in the U.S.A. thankfully. Let people learn to be unselfish through hard knocks and not through Big Brother.

  • @planetjoseph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 9:32 a.m.

    Are McMansions immoral? Maybe.

    Are they unethical? Probably.

    Are they classless, tasteless, ugly, over-consumptive, insipid, vapid, greedy, garish and grotesque? An assault to architectural sensibility and feng shui? 100% Yes. They are.

    Should they be illegal? I mean, maybe not?

  • little bird Mobile, AL
    July 8, 2019 9:20 a.m.

    A better question would be: why would anyone want to build in Seattle? I don't care what size anyone is considering, if they want to have a normal life, Seattle would be out of the question. We lived there for 20 years and we're so glad we moved away! The crime, the homeless people everywhere, politicians who do nothing to logically solve problems, the list goes on. You'll note Bill Gates does not live in Seattle.

  • Christmas Carole Hurricane, UT
    July 8, 2019 9:19 a.m.

    The general idea of this article is so foriegn to the freedoms I have been blessed with. These freedoms were given by those who have bled,possibly died,and all had taken from them a part of their humanity and from some,youth.

    I and you have the absolute right as a person regardless of gender,etc to think as we choose and even to live as we choose as long as it does not interfere with the lives of others.In my youth communes were 'a thing'-go for it,you want a tiny house-go for it, you want a huge mansion and are able to build it, etc,go for it.

    We in America are free to live as we choose..hence people from many other places desire to live here. Because of the country we we stand. We are different.

    If the rising generations protect that freedom we will continue..if we as a nation allow foul mouthed,disrespectful,lude, rude,crass,self absorbed, etc liberial leaning, socialist who set themselves up as the guide of all that is right instead of allowing people to choose themselves, then our way of life is finished.

    I will not have someone else tell me who to go to for a doctor, dentist, what car to drive, what size house to live in,etc

    We are America..may we remain so.

  • RedRockUte St George, UT
    July 8, 2019 9:01 a.m.

    We once built a "dream home" and had a lot of trouble selling it. I'll never forget something our Realtor told us during the process. "When people want a dream home, they'd rather build their own than buy somebody else's dream."

    Moral: Build whatever you want, but if you think you may want or need to sell it someday, keep it at a size that will appeal to more buyers.

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    July 8, 2019 8:53 a.m.

    Punishing prosperity -- what a typical Democrat reaction! No wonder the cities they lead are crumbling, prosperous people are leaving, and the homeless are arriving in droves.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 8, 2019 8:51 a.m.

    Gluttony takes many forms, and there are legitimate moral questions about over-consuming when it comes to one's home. Some of the key problems with over-consuming residential real estate include: 1) energy consumption and carbon footprint 2) water consumption 3) driving up land prices (that causes harm to the less well-off who can't afford a lot because a few people have gobbled up so much land) 4) increased pressure on other natural resources for the materials required (wood, oil - for all of the plastics and resins, etc.

    There is so much good that people can do with their wealth. I have seen people with significant wealth live modestly, and fund education, the arts, shelters, addiction recovery programs, etc. This should be commended. How big of a home is too big? That's tough, because even modest homes in the U.S. are substantially bigger and more comfortable than even average dwellings in much of the world. But most people know when they are going too far over the top - either to impress the neighbors, make a statement, or just overly indulge. Modesty is a virtue because it recognizes the good we can do by not being overly focused on oneself.

  • JkeithC Richland, WA
    July 8, 2019 8:49 a.m.

    The article irritates me. We are reasonably affluent and live in a home that may be modest for our circumstances. But that was our choice. If I worked hard for my education and subsequently hard to build a good business where we paid our employees well and we were successful, and I can afford what I want, why is it some grasping and groping government officials prerogative to tell me what to buy or live in our "free" society.
    The writer seems to think that the only motivation someone has when they build a large house is to make others envious. Balderdash. We use our money well, and hopefully without the intrusion of some covetous governmental functionary trying to figure out how they could better spend our money or how they could control us.
    Those who buy boats, motorcycles, private planes, nice cars, and yes, large houses are making their own decisions on how to spend their money and time. If they decided to live a more modest life they might have more money in the bank.
    But those extra expenditures do more for society through employment of others than more money in the bank. Let people make their own decisions on how to live. Resist the McNanny opinions of liberals..

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    July 8, 2019 8:40 a.m.

    @ LiberalLarry:

    "Yes, over consumption is morally wrong!

    More than two children, huge houses, meat consumption, and driving large inefficient vehicles are all morally questionable acts!"

    5 kids, larger home to fit them in, I love meat, and if a minivan counts as large and inefficient I may be the least moral person you know.

    Odd - here I was wasting my time focused on things like not lying, stealing, cheating, fighting. I was focusing on caring and providing for my children, serving my neighbors, and mentoring people at work.

    Where did I go wrong?

  • BobUtah Draper, UT
    July 8, 2019 8:38 a.m.

    Bill Gates lives in Seattle in a 66,000 square foot home. Please tell him to downsize before pontificating about the ethics of living in a small house.

    If a person can afford the house and wants a large house he should buy it. This is capitalism and the best system whereby people can really get ahead.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    July 8, 2019 8:31 a.m.

    I love the guy saying large homes, private jets, and gold-plated cars are morally wrong because people don't need them, and that money could be used to save lives. I would love to go through his possessions and monthly spend and point out where he is morally wrong as well - I happen to believe the list of true needs is remarkably small. As such, I don't make judgments about how others choose to spend their money when they can afford it.

    As far as houses go, everybody does what is right for them and their budget. I've known families with one or two kids in truly massive homes. I've known families with 8 kids in small homes. We all balance our needs, wants, budgets, etc.

  • Sportsfan123 Herriman, UT
    July 8, 2019 8:28 a.m.

    I can't believe this is even a thing, how rediculous, laws prohibiting large homes!

    If you can afford it more power to you, and as far as being morally correct. Home size doesn't even enter into the vinacular of what morallity is.

    But I not surprised, these laws in seattle are just the extremist communist agenda a.k.a. United Nations agenda 2030 where limited suburban sprawl and high density housing and the elimination of property rights will be the norm, mark my word there will be a day when laws are created limiting property rights to the average citizen and property ownership will be called into question morally.

    This is absurd people, be careful who you vote for, our country's future depends on it, liberaly, I mean litterally!

  • Kristjhn Bountiful, UT
    July 8, 2019 8:06 a.m.

    No. They are not morally wrong. Next question please.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    July 8, 2019 8:04 a.m.

    I know enough about PC beliefs to know that in PC having a belief about morality is considered to be a cardinal sin: hatred and prejudice. To take the additional step to apply it to the law is even worse. So I know that many of the people here arguing that this is immoral are violating one of the most sacred commandments of PC. Fix yourselves first before preaching to others.

    However, I am liberal and not PC so it is OK with me to have a moral belief and so I do.

    When our lives are over and we face God he is going to want to know what we did to help others. He won't care about the stuff that owned. Jesus told the rich young ruler, that if he wanted to be perfect that he should go and sell what he had and 'come follow me'. He would get treasure in heaven.

    There are people in jail because they don't have the money to pay parking tickets. Given the choice between a bigger house, a Hermes purse, and expensive stuff, pay off someone's parking ticket and see if that will give you more joy than a Rolex watch.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    July 8, 2019 8:00 a.m.

    It only took about a decade and a few too many rolled up eyeballs from Johnny and Susie's schoolmates before soccer moms started to realize that they looked like overkill overconsumption showoffs in their Hummers. Now you don't see them very often. I think as more kids say to their parents--"I'm embarrassed by this house," or "can't we live in a normal sized house"--you will see McMansions die out more and more.

    Except in Texas.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    July 8, 2019 7:50 a.m.

    This is rather a futile issue to tackle. Different families and individuals have different needs and desires for their homes, and most of the time that should be entirely the decision of the people involved. We are in our 70s and are in the process of changing homes (if we live long enough). The "new" one will have more than three bedrooms because we often have relatives stay with us. We also run businesses from our home, and will do so until we can't. I am in the process of getting rid of a lot of unneeded stuff, but my spouse doesn't want to do that right now. Though I think he should, it really isn't my decision. There has to be a lot of flexibility for anyone who wants to live harmoniously with others, and sometimes that means having extra space for relatives, or have the place to store family items that descendants may want at some time, and so on. I have an antique bed that has not been in view for a decade because of lack of space. I want it in view again because it represents much family history. I think that decision rests with me and my family.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    July 8, 2019 7:48 a.m.

    @Liberal Larry:
    "Yes, over consumption is morally wrong!

    More than two children, huge houses, meat consumption, and driving large inefficient vehicles are all morally questionable acts!"

    I agree with you. However, since you are so enthusiastic about this: Prove to the rest of us that over consumption is wrong.

    You are not a prophet who has brought down God's word from Mt. Sinai so we are not going to automatically accept what you said. Go and prove it.

    We are waiting.

  • mohokat , 00
    July 8, 2019 7:27 a.m.

    Big Government intrusion. Do I smell liberals? Yup!

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    July 8, 2019 7:08 a.m.

    Are McMansions ethical?

    That is an entirely stupid question.

    The better question is, are they needed? And are they nothing more than an ego stroke?

    My experience is, most of the time, they aren't needed. But if someone wants to waste their money building one, more power to them.

    I'm now an empty nester and my 1000 square foot home is almost too big. But I'm keeping it.

  • LeftField Auckland, 00
    July 8, 2019 6:45 a.m.

    If you consider the husbandry of natural resources to be a "moral" issue, then you have already answered the question.

  • Elsleuth Valencia, Ca
    July 8, 2019 6:33 a.m.

    Utah's answer to this problem is build huge castles in Alpine and thousands of condos in Lehi and Harriman.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 8, 2019 6:26 a.m.

    Huge homes can be kind of dumb if you can't afford them and do all the things that are higher priority.

    Go on vacation. Go out to eat .. without being in debt. Fund your retirement.

    Also during the last recession there were many people who lost high paying jobs and couldn't replace them. Why have a house much larger than your needs when you could pay cash for a smaller house and pay much lower property tax?

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 6:18 a.m.

    Yes, over consumption is morally wrong!

    More than two children, huge houses, meat consumption, and driving large inefficient vehicles are all morally questionable acts!

    We have over 7 billion people on the planet, and each of us gets 1/7,000,000,000th of the pie, no more, no less!

    Being able to afford something is not the issue!

  • Flat foot Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2019 5:47 a.m.

    If you can afford to build a house, build it to the size you want - just make certain that you can make the payments to the end of your traditional 30 yr. mortgage.

  • Nichol Draper West Jordan, UT
    July 8, 2019 5:25 a.m.

    I guess I've lived in McMansions all my life and I just didn't know it. I don't know very many people who don't have at least three bathrooms. Is that really a problem? Of course what we consider an average home in a state where you are still allowed to have a family isn't acceptable by the new politically correct. I bought my house in my twenties. My son bought a house recently about the same size, he is in his twenties and has three children. And one bathroom for a family of 5 isn't enough, growing up in that age it was common to just relieve oneself in the backyard because there wasn't enough facilities for everyone. 2.5 children means some people will have three children.

  • SFSteveS SF, CA
    July 8, 2019 3:38 a.m.

    I've not wondered even in passing whether my home is "more ethical" ...

    What I HAVE considered is whether it is more practical than a large trendy McMansion would be ...

    At our present age, the last thing we need is a lot of stairs to climb, a lot of useless rooms to clean and a high property tax to pay ...

    Our 1,500 sf home has no stairs, allows us to have a guest bedroom and has all amenities we could ask for not to mention a property tax that is as much in reason as taxes get here in tax-ifornia.

    Why on Earth would we ever want a home double that size or more ??

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    July 8, 2019 2:03 a.m.

    Here we go again. Pretending one of these ways is right, and the other wrong. I have 3 generations living in my home. To keep my marriage safe, my home is large enough that my mother lives in her own space. Every family is different, with different needs. The real funny thing though is when we move back to Utah, we tried to find a home with just 3 bedrooms, and and a basement we could build out for my mom, and that was nearly impossible. Everything had 4 or 5 tiny bedrooms. Not what we needed or wanted.

    The other thing is I lived in Seattle in the late 90s, and my home I had there now sells for 3x what I sold it for. I'm not sure where this part of the article is that home is Seattle are not selling because they are too big... they are just too expensive. Quality of life is a big reason people move to the Northwest. Clean Air. Great outdoors to explore. People there buy small not because they want to.... but because they have to. Most would love to have some of that elegant green in their back yard... if they could.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    July 8, 2019 1:05 a.m.

    How about we stop telling people what to do with their own property? If crowded neighborhoods with tiny homes are so great, people will demand them and buy them up. If not, it’s none of your business.

  • Sore loser Oakland, CA
    July 8, 2019 12:46 a.m.

    Is it morally wrong to want someone else's McMansion. Is it morally wrong to not want others to have nice things and be successful. Is it is morally wrong to stick your McMansion or anything else in other people's face as an effort to devalue them. It would seem that most people should have plenty of things to do and think about that have nothing to do with another person's business. If you earned the McMansion then it's your business to have one or not. It would probably be better wouldn't it to build a smaller house and try to help those in need with their problems but nobody is perfect.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2019 11:15 p.m.

    In a free society, a person can build or buy whatever size home they want and can afford.
    Anyone who wants to live in a tent on the sidewalk can (sadly) do so. Anyone who wants a 9,000 square foot adjacent to a ski run can go that, again, if they want and can afford it.

    It is their money, not mine, or yours or some greedy or envious politician's.

    A large part of the price of any "McMansion" ends up in the pockets of the people who built the place, and the taxes on it will pay for education of many children. A cynic could say that people who choose to live in small homes don't want to provide jobs for workers or fund education.

    What a person does with their money is no one else's business. However, what politicians want to do with money confiscated from taxpayers is everyon's business!

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    July 7, 2019 10:35 p.m.

    I had a conversation with a man obtaining a building permit once and he was complaining about the cost of permits, saying "Where are our children going to live? This is getting out of hand." I asked him to describe his "starter home" when he first got married--- a 1,200 SF rambler, 3 bedrooms, one or one-and 3/4 bathrooms, carport, unfinished basement, compared to what he was building now as a starter home--- 2,100 SF, multi-story, hardwood floors, double ovens, 3 car garage, big deck, 1/3 - 1/2 acre lot, upgraded carpeting and appliances, finished basement, landscaping, fencing, etc. I asked why he didn't build the old true "starter home" and he said: 1) No one would buy it (which I think just isn't true, especially these last few years); 2) Cities insisted houses have big garages, a lot of brick, stone or stucco on the front, energy use had to be low so windows, insulation, furnaces, etc had to be the best, even though the houses had cathedral ceilings that required conditioned air that no one ever lived in, and built on larger lots; and 3) Land was very costly. So then I said "It isn't just the permit cost, is it?"