Random Thoughts to Start the Week

A few things I’ve been reading over the past few days:


The Brookhill neighborhood development was approved by Albemarle County last week.

Their request was to rezone 277 acres from single-family residential to the county’s Neighborhood Model zoning. That would allow for between 800 and 1,550 residential units and a maximum of 130,000 square feet for commercial use.

Adjoining neighbors fought – and won – to keep connecting trails limited.

And from August:


How will the Trump presidency affect the real estate market?

No idea, and we won’t know until we have the benefit of hindsight. Dr. Yun with the NAR offers some immediate thoughts and insights; his story is well worth a few minutes of your time. I’ll be prognosticating in this month’s note; sign up here if you’re interested.


Interesting discussion about urbanizing downtown (Charlottesville)

David Dixon, an architect with Boston-based Stantec, told ULI at a presentation at CitySpace that people with at least a four-year college education and an income in the top 40 percent nationally are increasingly heading to dense urban environments.

Meeting the housing demand for that shift means trillions of dollars will be invested in downtowns across the country by 2030, and the investment will not fully satisfy demand, he said.

“This country needs to add between 2011 and 2030 nearly 50 million urban housing units, and we cannot provide that many,” he said. “You can imagine what that does to the values.”

Denser urban landscapes, Dixon said, will lower carbon emissions by encouraging the use of public transit, walking and biking instead of individual cars. Two planned projects in Boston and Tampa, Florida, are being designed around autonomous electric public transit in lieu of personal vehicles.

But those benefits could come with soaring housing costs and land values as demand continues to increase and cities reach buildout, which will push poor and working-class families away from city centers, Dixon said.


We are at an interesting point in our area’s evolution; new projects that are proposed near existing homes/neighborhoods/developments inevitably are met by immediate and often vociferous opposition. People want growth to happen, just not near them; people want affordable housing, just not near them. At some point, the Charlottesville – Albemarle community is going to realize that the environment they have created/allowed to be created is one that is not conducive to a productive society.

When librarians, police, firefighters, teachers, cashiers, servers, etc, etc, are unable to live anywhere but “somewhere else” what will be left here?



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  1. Chris Bruce November 15, 2016 at 12:25

    “put the bicycle/ped connection in YOUR neighborhood” I would. Happily. We need more connectivity, not a bunch of trails that are cut off from everything else. It’s a bummer that people are scared of nefarious activity along trails when there’s very little evidence to support those fears.

    1. Jim Duncan November 16, 2016 at 16:17

      That sort of mentality baffles and infuriates me.


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