Each day seemingly brings a new development, a new announcement of another couple-hundred acres’ demise. I received the following email from clients last week who wish to relocate to C’Ville to retire …
After our tour of C’Ville with you last Sunday, (we) drove around the town on our own for a few hours before heading north to Centreville. With much enthusiastic conversation, we were fairly sure that Dunlora could be the community for our future home. Everything about it seemed right for us! The information you forwarded today even reinforced that opinion.
However, I went to the Belvedere website after I received your email and, I’m sorry to say that our bubble seems to have burst. I don’t think we want to live immediately adjacent to a community with 900-1200 homes and also significant commercial space. That development will be north of Dunlora, and a large portion of undeveloped property still exists to the south (you don’t need too much of an imagination to figure out what the future holds for that area). I haven’t even explored the projected parkway website yet.
Are we over-reacting? Is this merely a bump in the road? We know that, with your assistance and guidance, we’ll be able to find a suitable residence in or near Charlottesville.
I had several reactions after receiving this email from my clients, the most striking was that of utter disappointment. Good growth is good. Too much growth, combined with growth of the wrong kind, will destroy what makes our region special. An awful lot of people choose to come to the Charlottesville area because they want to move here for the reasons that make Charlottesville special. In the words of an off-line commenter:
If C’ville continues to try to imitate No VA (i.e. concerns centering around Crozet development, developers squeezing in as great a density as permitted—well there goes the QOL and the neighborhood). Again, I reiterate, it’s the “country” of Charlottesville with the little flair of charm, artsy craftsy, good restaurants, etc. created by UVA in downtown and “clean,pure wine country, that is C’ville.
This perception is what sells Charlottesville. I have never had to “sell” anyone on C’Ville; most love it here – for the open spaces, the clean air, the culture, schools, etc.
The HooK ran a good story this week depicting the trials and tribulations of Loudoun County to our north. It used to be said, “Don’t Fairfax Loudoun,” now I see the occasional “Don’t Loudoun Albemarle.”
The transience of our community is one of the aspects that makes us great. The constant change and influx of new ideas and perspectives add tremendous value to our vibrance, our je ne sais quoi, or as Dr. Evil says, our “I don’t know what.”
The questions I face every day are: At what point is “too much?” When do we stop being “CharlAlbemarle” and become just another town? The more homogenous developments we allow, the less character and style we will have. These type of developments, (described to me as “underwhelming, denuding the landscape, generally “blah” developments) to me (and my clients) are not “Charlottesville.”
This is a difficult story for me to write, as I make my living selling real estate. The goals of ASAP seem irrational and illogical to me, but they have a few good points here and there. I think the intent is good; the methods leave a lot to be desired.
A balance exists; I (nor has anybody else, it would seem) just haven’t found it yet. A moratorium on growth as some have proposed is not a reasonable nor feasible solution. I still love it here. Our challenges pale in comparison to other regions and locales … Here is where my idealist side rears its head – I do not advocate stripping individuals of the right to develop their own property. I just wish they would do so in a better fashion.
Growth is inevitable; how we grow is vital. This is a great place to live and work … now everybody knows it. We are victims of our own successes.