The DP has an interesting article this morning about the local growing blogging community, which has been brought into focus, in my opinion, by Waldo.Â Cvilleblogs is a simple idea, and brilliant in its simplicity and function.Â I was quoted and hope that I sounded less the fool than I think I sound.Â For the record, here is the post to which I was referring here:”Finding a real estate agent is kind of like dating.
This is potentially big news …Â and exciting.Â Courtesy of WINA.Citizen advocacy groups and some Albemarle Supervisors believe the new year will bring a renewed focus on the county’s Neighborhood Model.Â There are vocal critics of Albemarle’s approach to suburban sprawl who says it’s time the model got tweaked.Â …Â Loach is citing the county’s own surveys, which show dwindling support for the current approach.I am curious to know which citizen advocacy groups they are referring to.Â In light of the BoS meeting earlier this month where two of the Supervisors expressed real reservations about the Neighborhood Model’s direction, I look forward to seeing how this shakes out.Â 2006 should be a big year.
In a recent post regarding the dearth of senior housing in our region, I noted a new development coming to Greene County.Â One might think (as I did) that it would be a beneficial idea for this developer to provide some form of transportation for the future residents into Charlottesville.Â This development is being marketed as “Four Seasons Charlottesville” despite its location in Ruckersville.
Read the first response to this post at The Road To Ruin.Â If you can, read the whole thing….Â new heavy rail systems appear much less energy-efficient than new bus services, when the energy needed to build roadways and track, the energy needed to manufacture and maintain vehicles, the energy used to heat and light stations, the energy required to drive to stations, and the directness of alternative modes of travel are taken into consideration.Â …Â The situation is even worse if high speed rail is considered because of the high quality dedicated track and grade separation that is required.Â Yet in spite of these obvious facts we still see pressure to increase rail service even when it would result in an overall system degradation of service.Huh.Â Maybe my desire for light rail really is pie-in-the-sky thinking after all.Â My question/desire remains however: How can we effectively/efficiently plan for inter-county/city/region transportation without using rail?
I came across this blog this morning that (I think accidentally) linked to one of my stories.Â I appears that he is copying and pasting my stories without attribution….Â Three of his eight stories are mine.Â It took me a little while to get used to writing in the “blogosphere” but I try to follow MLA standards, or at least cite the source.Â Hopefully soon I will implement this sourcing plug-in; I just haven’t yet figured out how.Â This too is an interesting post on blogging ethics.Blogging ethics are pretty simple.Â If you use someone else’s material and research, by all means, cite it!Â Just because “everybody does it” doesn’t make it right.
Via Inman News:A relatively unknown financing option called the “energy efficient mortgage” might help consumers keep their homes cozy as well as keep the bills down.Â And after the first of the year, Uncle Sam will even kick in incentives, in the form of tax credits, for home energy improvements, Bankrate.com tells us. Created by Fannie Mae, the EEM dates back to the Carter administration, though the program was updated in 2002.Â The tax credits are included in the 2005 energy bill.Â (Inman News first reported about the energy-efficient mortgage online in 2001; we announced that Countrywide offered such a mortgage.)With an energy efficient mortgage, Bankrate tells us, a home is inspected and scored by a certified energy rater for about $300.Â Then, the cost of improvements, such as a new furnace, more insulation or newer windows that would improve the score, is rolled into the loan.Â Even though mortgage payments are higher, lower utility bills result in a home that is cheaper to operate.Â Lower monthly bills also enable the homeowner to qualify for a larger mortgage.”…Â This is the type of thing that will, hopefully, set me apart.
Thanks to the Washington Times:Economists increasingly are concluding that the shortage of affordable housing in Washington and other major U.S. cities on the East and West coasts is a result more of man-made restrictions on development than high construction costs or other market forces.Â “It simply takes too long and is too expensive to move through the development process,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wachovia Securities, pointing at “smart growth, slow growth and no growth” movements in many of the same areas where the population and demand for housing are growing the fastest.Â The referenced study by the National Bureau of Economic Research remarks:The key underlying reason for rising house prices, though, is supply, according to economists Edward Glaeser, Joseph Gyourko, and Raven Saks….Â Local residents — more educated, more affluent — have had a greater ability to block new projects should they be deemed harmful to their own interests, for example to the value of their homes….Â 11129).And then, from this week’s C-Ville:In 2001 the County adopted a set of rules for growth-area housing developments called â€œThe Neighborhood Model.â€Â The Neighborhood Model includes a list of 12 so-called New Urbanist principlesâ€”rules for building setbacks, sidewalks and parkingâ€”that are supposed to make neighborhoods more pedestrian friendly.Â But the County tends to apply the rules inconsistently, and the resulting Neighborhood Model developments are hardly paragons of progressive design….Â The Neighborhood Model clearly needs some tweaking both to protect Albemarle from sprawl and to satisfy developers.