Transcript: There Goes the Neighborhood?

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 27, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Are "McMansions" ruining or improving America's neighborhoods?

I want you to take a look at this. This new home under construction is indeed a "McMansion," its size putting the home next to it to shame. But, in the end, that "McMansion" will probably be boosting the value of every home on the block.

So, what's the problem?

New York City Democratic Councilman Tony Avella says it is the latest trend, and it worries him. But Tom Adkins of RE/MAX Fairlawn says: It's my land, my property. I can do what I want with it.

What do you think?


Look, there's a thing called the Constitution. It may surprise a number of people, not necessarily you, Councilman.


ADKINS: But, I mean, I tell you, it surprises the Supreme Court. You're allowed to own your property and do what you want with it. Now, are there limits? Yes, because you have your property.

CAVUTO: Are you allowed to make it the freak show of the neighborhood, though?

ADKINS: Well, what is so freakish about putting up a house that is even better and more beautiful than any house on the block?

CAVUTO: All right. Councilman?

TONY AVELLA, D-NEW YORK CITY COUNCILMAN: You're allowed to do whatever you want. That's your right as an American, as long as it doesn't interfere with somebody else's right.

ADKINS: Right.

AVELLA: And that's what these "McMansions" are doing, especially on small lots.

They are overburdening the infrastructure. They block the air and light of your neighbor. And that's an issue. In New York City, what I'm doing as chair of the Zoning Committee for the City Council, we are going neighborhood by neighborhood, based upon the concerns of residents.


CAVUTO: And those residents are ticked off about this?

AVELLA: Right.

CAVUTO: You say they have no reason to be ticked off?

ADKINS: No, not all. They will be all upset about it until they want to sell their house, and then they realize, if somebody is allowed to buy the house and put a bigger house on it, their house is worth 100,000 more dollars.

CAVUTO: But if you have got this neighborhood with these small, but beautiful homes, and then this one gargantuan thing up there, don't you just sort of say, hey, put the gargantuan home with gargantuan homes?

ADKINS: First of all, when you a big house like that up, it absolutely increases the value of your property.

If you have got one big house like that, and then you have another one, and then you have another one, all of a sudden, one day...

CAVUTO: That's different.

ADKINS: All of a sudden, you have...


CAVUTO: That's different. That's different.

ADKINS: What happens?

AVELLA: First of all, yes, it does increase the value for that particular lot.

ADKINS: And raises the tax base.

AVELLA: But it increases the taxes for those neighbors who don't want to do a "McMansion." And a lot of them are senior citizens.

CAVUTO: But does it increase their value? It does, right?

AVELLA: It does a little bit.

ADKINS: There we go.

AVELLA: It does a little bit.

CAVUTO: So, they have less to whine about, right?


ADKINS: Oh, no. It's not a little bit. It's a lot.

AVELLA: No, but, even if you don't do that, the down-zonings we are doing, in conjunction with the Department of City Planning in the city of New York, property values are still going up. Why? Because the house is still your most important investment.

CAVUTO: Do you think there should be a certain uniform look to a neighborhood, though?

ADKINS: Yes and no. If you have every house looking exactly the same, it becomes cookie-cutter. People don't like it. If you have a little bit of disparity, people like that.

CAVUTO: You're saying the disparity can be an eyesore?

AVELLA: Depending upon how you do it. If you're making such a big building that it dwarfs your neighbor, that's an issue. You can still allow for overdevelopment, but let it fit in with the context of the neighborhood.


AVELLA: Let it be proper.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, he has got these big statues. You know, they're spraying the water and all the...


CAVUTO: Guys, thank you very, very much. Appreciate it.

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