Bacon Bits: Madison… Saslaw… Embrey Mill

monticelloAbout darn time.

Writing in City Journal, Myron Magnet writes about the restoration of James Madison’s home, Montpelier. It may be the most unsung historical restoration of the 21st century. A team led by Kat Imhoff has peeled back the 19th-century shell added by DuPont family members to reveal Madison’s original building. Many of Madison’s original pieces, sold off by his drunken, ne’er-do-well step son, have been returned to the mansion. Montpelier may not be Monticello, but it arguably outshines Mount Vernon as example of 18th-century plantation architecture. It’s about time that the writer of the U.S. Constitution had a place where people can commemorate his accomplishments.

Who let the dogs out? State Sen. “Richard L. Saslaw,” D-Fairfax, takes no prisoners in his dealings with Republicans in the General Assembly. But he doesn’t exactly coddle his fellow Democrats either — at least not those in Washington, D.C. In an Alexandria meeting last night, the Senate Majority Leader referred to the lax ethical standards of D.C. politicians. “There’s got to be a shuttle bus between the penitentiary and that city council chambers. Three since last election have gone to jail or resigned, and the mayor’s up to his ass in alligators.” So reports the Washington Post.

Building walkable burbs. Dan Reed at Greater Greater Washington contends that there is a large, unmet backlog in demand for walkable urbanism. What happens if the urban-core jurisdictions are unable to add new housing units fast enough to meet the demand? You see a proliferation of planned, mixed-use communities like Embrey Mill in Stafford County . Writes Reed:

Like many older neighborhoods, Embrey Mill’s master plan envisions a mixed-use retail district, a county recreation center, and public schools within walking distance. The homes take off of traditional styles like you’d see in older neighborhoods; the garages are all in back on alleys, leaving room in front for sidewalks, porches, and a few pocket parks and greens. The streets are arranged in a grid, making it easy to walk around.

Studies show that homebuyers increasingly prefer walkable, urban places. So developers are trying to deliver some form of it wherever they can, whether at Embrey Mill or Brambleton in Loudoun County, the Villages of Urbana in Frederick County, and even Ladysmith Village in Caroline County, 75 miles from DC and 35 miles from Richmond.

I couldn’t agree with Reed’s conclusion more if I had written it myself:

If we push the demand for housing all the way to Stafford County and Fredericksburg, places like Embrey Mill are certainly an improvement over the status quo, since they at least try to offer some basic needs within an easy walk. But if there were more and more diverse housing options closer in, we wouldn’t necessarily need Embrey Mill, because people could find the kind of housing and neighborhoods they want closer in.

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2 responses to “Bacon Bits: Madison… Saslaw… Embrey Mill”

  1. Breckinridge Avatar

    Thumbs up on Montpelier. If you haven’t been since the restoration, a return trip is in order. The dominant view from Mt. Vernon is the Potomac, the path back to the Old World, but stand on the portico at Montpelier and you see — as Madison saw — the Blue Ridge and the path to the New World.

  2. or Monticello… and you see.. the thing that bankrupted Jefferson!

    re: Embrey Mill in exurban Stafford County.

    yes.. in the Fredericksburg Area – developers are promoting the idea of Smart Growth – compact development where people can live, work, shop and play!

    only problem is – we’re largely a commuter-centric bedroom community to Northern Va.

    but don’t let that stop the developers!!!! and we have tremendous support for it from two big groups. 1. the existing residents who live in subdivisions and want new growth to allocate itself in ways other than subdivisions!

    and the MPO of all things.. the MPO says that there is not enough money to build the transportation infrastructure that dispersed growth needs so they want more compact development so we can not have to build more transportation infrastructure.

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