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Fredericksburg City Council

IT'S AN all-too-familiar trope in American history and literature: an extremely bright, ambitious young man leaves his small hometown for the Ivy League and then goes on to a big-city job, never to be seen again in the place he left behind. But although the story started out that way for Xavier Richardson, it had a very different ending, and the City of Fredericksburg is very glad it did.

The Fredericksburg City Council’s recent decision to allow more density in its unique historic district may in hindsight turn out to be, as council member Tim Duffy put it, a “pivotal point” in the city’s long and storied history. But it remains to be seen whether the changes the council is advocating will enhance or destroy the city’s historic downtown.

As several Fredericksburg City Council members have admitted, the decrease in the residential real estate tax rate will mean a higher property tax bill for most city homeowners. That’s because home values have gone up by double digits

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