The controversy regarding home renovations in Eichler neighborhoods that keeps resurfacing in Palo Alto looks like it might have wandered south to a Mackay neighborhood in Santa Clara. More specifically, the ongoing debate revolving around whether a second story addition to an Eichler is appropriate has recently become an issue in a Mackay community in Santa Clara.
With low pitched rooflines, post-and-beam construction and large expanses of windows, Mackay homes are very similar to Eichler homes; and, in fact, during the 1950s John Mackay was one of Joseph Eichlers biggest competitors, building homes in Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Santa Clara. Like many Eichler neighborhoods, residents in Mackay enclaves want to insure that the MCM aesthetic is maintained and that two-story additions don’t overwhelm the neighborhood or intrude on the privacy of adjoining properties.
Last month Mackay homeowners in Maywood got the go-ahead from the City of Santa Clara to add a 69 sq. ft. ground floor addition to their home as well as a new 863 sq. ft. second story. The proposal wasn’t without opposition, as neighbors and MCM advocates expressed concern about preserving the character of the neighborhood and maintaining privacy for the surrounding single story Mackay “Patio Homes”. In approving the plan, the City required a few changes that included lowering ceiling heights to keep the home in scale with the other homes in the neighborhood and eliminating balconies to help preserve the privacy of neighboring homes.
Kudos to the City of Santa Clara for being proactive and creating guidelines that help define neighborhood compatibility. It has issued Residential Design Guidelines that is easy to read and understand and specifically addresses the considerations involved for Mackay and Eichler homes. Actually, regardless of what city you live in, Santa Clara’s guidelines are good food for thought for any Mackay or Eichler homeowner considering a remodel!