So … is the Restore N Station Getting Built?

Last I heard the Restore N Station’s special use permit was denied.

Now it seems that that denial has been rescinded and the Head of Albemarle County Zoning

… is facing allegations that he trumped the power of the Board of Supervisors … Higgins determined in writing on August 19th that water usage on the land where the large gas station would be built wouldn’t need a special use permit, effectively determining that Re-Store ‘N’ Station could go ahead with construction, because the project would use less than 400 gallons of water per site acre per day.

* Can we at least get some consistency on the spelling of the proposed gas station?

Searching Albemarle.org for the gas station is tough. Which one is it?

– Restore ‘n Station

– Restore’n Station

– Restore N’ Station

– Restore N Station

Update: An email from Ron Higgins, which I am publishing as it’s addressed to the “citizens of Crozet.” I wasn’t on his email list, and I’m assuming most of y’all weren’t either.

Dear citizens of Crozet, CCAC members and interested parties:

First, as Elaine indicated, I am writing to apologize for any perception that we were trying to keep any actions regarding the Re-Store N’ Station project from anyone who has expressed interest. There was a misconception on our part that more people were aware of the recent new proposal and request for new determination from the applicants of the Re-Store N’ Station project. I feel very bad about folks who may have felt blind-sided by the Determination last Thursday.

Secondly, we have discussed that August 19, 2010 determination at length with the County Attorney who has raised a number of issues with it. Therefore we are working with them to re-examine the determination and any revision that might be warranted will be released in the next week, at the latest. We will keep everyone informed about this and will share it as soon as it is completed. Our desire is to make this as clear, defensible and enforceable as we can.

Thank you all for your understanding and patience on this complicated project and issue.

Yours,
Ron Higgins

To which Supervisor Rodney Thomas replied:

Ron,
I personally want to Thank You for your genuine honesty in finding the true meaning of your interpretation.
Rodney Thomas

I have no idea what that means.

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30 Replies to “So … is the Restore N Station Getting Built?”

  1. Hello Real Crozet – I spoke tonight to the Planning Commission about the Chief of Zoning’s decision last week to reverse the Planning Commission’s determination that the proposed ReStore-n-Station needed a Special Use Permit. Here’s what I said:

    I am speaking to you on a matter this evening that is not on the agenda. I have to come to express my frustration with a recent decision by the Chief of Zoning regarding the proposed ReStore-N-Station mega-gas station/convenience store on Route 250 West, just outside of the Crozet Growth Area boundaries. As you probably already know by now, last week Mr. Higgins, Chief of Zoning for Albemarle County, reversed your June 6 decision that the proposed project would require a Special Use Permit, and unilaterally issued a decision that the project did not require an SUP. Unbeknownst to Summer Frederick, (the project planner), apparently others in the Planning Department, the neighbors, the Crozet Community Advisory Council, and the lawyer representing the neighbors, Mr. Higgins has been in communication with the applicant, since July 23, regarding the project’s water consumption and well flow rates – all matters that have been hotly and very publicly debated for almost two years. Based on their communications, he issued a determination regarding the Special Use Permit.

    As you recall, this room had over 50 citizens on June 6 who attended the public hearing on the project’s need for an SUP. They spoke up and then listened to your deliberations regarding that permit. The citizen presentations were well-thought-out and many hours of work, thought and discussion on both your behalf and the public’s went into your decision to require the project to have a Special Use Permit. Ordinances and laws were analyzed and data was gathered. Information was presented by the applicant. Additionally, experts, lawyers and community members spoke up who felt that an SUP was needed to protect the health and welfare of the community – particularly the neighbors on well water – and to protect the most precious of our natural resources in the rural area, our water. You agreed.

    So, it seems outrageous that a poorly-worded 2 ½ page letter (plus attachments) could convince the Chief of Zoning to single-handedly reverse the decision of the Planning Commission. The letter and decision are fraught with misrepresentations and omit some critical aspects of the original analyses, such as the capturing of stormwater. However, I am not going to go into those technical issues this evening.

    The citizens, of course, have been expecting that this project would continue in the public, democratic process that we expect for projects such as these. We were assured by staff that we would be informed of all developments or new submissions. I, personally, remember Mr. Higgins assuring members of the CCAC and the neighbors that we would be kept in the loop on information. Since his recent decision, Mr. Higgins has said that he thought the community knew of this submission. How could he possibly have thought that we knew of this and not said a word about it?

    We, as involved citizens, have kept our end of the bargain. We have kept and stayed educated about commercial water usage, the local water table, traffic analysis, runoff, definitions in ordinances, etc. And, as taxpayers, we have funded all of the staff and commission time that has gone into this project’s review. As a Crozet-area citizen, I am outraged that this unilateral decision was made by a staff member and as Planning Commissioners who put time and thought into a decision, I would expect you would be, too.

  2. Using the above logic Old Trail should never have been built. Water usage
    can and should be strictly monitored. Since it is possible to do this it is
    wrong to deny a property owner the right to develop his property based
    on what people might fear instead of what is actually done. Allowing the
    sprawl of tract housing while refusing to allow a gas station built on the same scale is plain stupid and defies logic. Ranks right up there with sidwalks that are barely used but everyone cries out for…

  3. No one is trying to deny the property owner the right to build a gas station there even though it would more than likely put the Brownsville Market out of business which he sold in recent years and entered into a non compete clause but the issue is the size of the project.

    1. Nothing is certain or even likely in business. Whether Brownsville
      Market stays or folds is not the issue here. If you want to deny because
      of shrewd business tactics fine. Then deny the developers, multiple
      coffee whatevers and other useless things that get attracted to bedroom communities. I suspect that if he offered to cut the size of
      his station in half people would still howl. Why? Because they can…

      1. So what isn’t useless in your Crozet world, Ed? I have been lurking here for a year and you are pretty much against everything. The only reason you are for the Restore-n-whatever is because the people you so despise are against it (apparently anyone that lives in Old Trail — curiously your ire never seems to find it’s way to Western Ridge or Greyrock or Wayland’s Grant or etc). Or at least that’s what it seems? I felt compelled to finally speak up because you honestly add no value to this website. Staying up late to dish out undeserved condescension is hardly a noble or mature cause. Crozet is changing — honestly, is this how you take part? It’s changing whether you or I or anyone else want it to. The fact that it can is what makes America … America. Like it or not.

        Nice post on the CVFD thread … classy.

        1. Was I incorrect on the CFVD thread?? I cannot be against everything if I am for the Gas Station. What is your point? Do you
          think discussion means everything your way?? Undeserved? If
          you feel that the county should remake Crozet at Taxpayers expense fine. I don’t. Are you that desperate that you can only stand to hear your opinion??? Crozet attracts because of what it is now. The Restore N Station is the other part of change. You seem
          to not like that part…

          1. Yep, you were right on the CVFD thread, Ed. Your “webside manner” remains a shining beacon for us all.

            I have ONE post on this site. So a quote like “What is your point? Do you think discussion means everything your way??” is nonsensical. You on the other hand have an impressive body of work (I’ve paid attention over the last year or so).

            Reread my post. I’m not for stifling your opinion, that would be un-American. But seriously, Ed … if you really wanted your opinion to be respected, wouldn’t you tone it down just a ‘lil bit? BTW, when did I give you my opinion on the Restore N Station? Do you know that I am for or against it? Do you in fact … know me at all after ONE post?

            I’m sorry to drag this thread off-topic, but I felt like saying something. If you offered some real suggestions, or were willing to debate without condescension and disdain, maybe I would see this differently. But you aren’t. Your agenda is clear.

            I ask you again Ed … “What isn’t useless in your Crozet world?” I really want to know.

            My apologies to the readers for hijacking this thread, I’ll be soon fading back into the ether. Jim thanks for the forum.

          2. Website manner is opinion. You do not know me, yet, you want
            to preach. If I wrote something that you agreed with, fine. If you enjoyed the manner in which I wrote it, even better. I’m
            not like that. Never will be. In the overall scheme of things
            whether the gas station is built or not means nothing. Just a
            few fractured egos. What you think about the way that I communicate means even less to me. How you actually feel about the Restore N Station being built might provide some interest…

  4. Below is an email from Ron Higgins, a member of the County staff, explaining the current situation.
    The situation as it unfolded clearly indicates a problem with communication between the County and the community still exists and needs to be addressed and improved. While it is indeed frustrating, I want to thank County staff for their quick action once they became aware of the reaction from the community.

    Dear citizens of Crozet, CCAC members and interested parties:

    First, as Elaine indicated, I am writing to apologize for any perception that we were trying to keep any actions regarding the Re-Store N’ Station project from anyone who has expressed interest. There was a misconception on our part that more people were aware of the recent new proposal and request for new determination from the applicants of the Re-Store N’ Station project. I feel very bad about folks who may have felt blind-sided by the Determination last Thursday.

    Secondly, we have discussed that August 19, 2010 determination at length with the County Attorney who has raised a number of issues with it. Therefore we are working with them to re-examine the determination and any revision that might be warranted will be released in the next week, at the latest. We will keep everyone informed about this and will share it as soon as it is completed. Our desire is to make this as clear, defensible and enforceable as we can.

    Thank you all for your understanding and patience on this complicated project and issue.

    Yours,
    Ron Higgins

  5. We have wasted a lot of time here at the Gazette trying to figure out what spelling is correct. I think we ended up with ReStoreN Station, which wasn’t even on your list. 🙂

  6. Mary,
    Thank you for posting and for going to the meeting. I wasn’t following this since June, because I naively believed the development had failed. So Mr. Higgins “feels bad” that we were blind-sided. That could have easily been avoided if the entire process was kept in the open.
    Amy

  7. I am going to second Amy’s thank you to Mary for her attendance and advocacy. Such advocacy takes a great deal of time. Additionally, her letter/speech is well-written, thoughtful and extremely well-organized.

    Does anyone know if Jo Higgins is related to Ronald Higgins or the local circuit court judge in Albemarle, Cheryl Higgins?

    If I recall recent history correctly, Higgins was our planning commissioner, passionately supporting the Master Plan and Old Trail rezoning. If so, how do residents know that someone with such ties as a ‘private consultant’ sees their role as enhancing the value/price of current or future consulting work for rezoning applicants, rather representing the interests of residents and their quality of life?

    Is it legal? Is it ethical? If not, perhaps residents should demand a change to the policy/requisites of commissioners. The county should support such changes, as the current set of guidelines contributes to problems/temptations for their own employees, IMO. It’s certainly not good for public perception.

    As I recall, dozens of people came out to express very valid concerns about the density and scope of Old Trail, that 12 homes per acre and 2300 homes on a land tract of that size was too intense. Higgins seemed to be a stern stone, unmoved by public input.

    On a lighter note, I couldn’t help but notice the behind-the-scenes letter was denoted in capital letters. It’s “the Determination”. Perhaps the Higgins/Higgins letter is going to be framed — along with some of Jefferson’s writing– and go into a lighted exhibit in a local museum as evidence of Albemarle’s most cherished principles and foundations.

  8. Yep, Ed. Website manner is opinion. You’re nailing it.

    I’m against the Restore N whatever. The name needs more work.

    What isn’t useless in your Crozet world?

  9. If we were to build the station would we have enough water to water the crap out of the new golf course nearby? I am just so worried that the elite would have to putt on dry brown greens and use porta pottys. And what about all that light pollution? God forbid that there be more light looking out of Old Trail than looking in. If this is built some folks might get mad and move back to New Jersey or Pennsylvania or what, eh? than what will we do? Turn the town back over to them Redneck Hicks?

    1. Ah, now I get it Eddie. It’s not that you’re a hypocrite or anything. Build whatever whenever — it’s the American way. But certainly don’t move anywhere you want. We Americans should not be afforded that freedom.

      Not that it matters to you, but OT is a public golf course with some of the most reasonable fees out there. And from what I’ve seen the clientele is pretty normal, not necessarily elite.

      The OT neighborhood is indeed on county water, not well — someone asked.

      The only reason you are for the truck stop is because you are against OT. Fine. Throw in some class warfare and we can all see where you’re coming from. But your misplaced phobia doesn’t count for the fact that plenty of OT residents did move from somewhere else … Virginia. Yep, you heard it right here folks, Virginians live in OT.

      As a member of the military, I’ve always come to laugh at the particular brand of shtick you sell. I’ve lived all over and contributed to the community each time I’ve moved. Jim keeps trying to get you to engage in a positive debate on your vision of Crozet, others have asked you to attend a meeting. But why would you, when this forum is so easily configured for you to lash out behind the curtain at OT and all of those horrible people? Lest we forget the other tract housing residents in this area, they too deserve your ire.

  10. I am Edward. There is no Strauss attached. So yell at me, not E.S., although I do often agree with his comments. I am sorry that I did not include northern virginia in my comments. Did y0u really feel that slighted? I moved away from up north the same year that Joe Biden was sworn in. Raised in Claymont just like him. We came down here to get away from the “whats in it for me” attitude which had ruined the freedom to choose how one lived. I now see the cookie cutter existence has landed on Crozet and rather than learn the country way you would rather dictate your ruinous mandates to us who have kept the landscape that brought you here and unless it suits you its N.I.M.B.Y. As soon as my son cashes in his 25 yr chip with uncle sam he wishes to return to Crozet, from japan, and raise my grandchildren with cow poop tween the toes same as him. He learned the value of work and preserving the rights to own what youve sweated over AND not have to answer to some community organizer. I and my wife attend your meetings and wish one of you would understand that Crozet was once a self sustaining community that lost its soul to developers. Where is your call for a balance of manufacturing jobs to services and retail? No call for that in YOUR vision of Crozet eh? No, you rather the overtaxed farmers and small buisinessmen provide for your wants. You say buy local but just do not build it in my back yard. Typical.

    1. Sorry I confused you for the other Eddie. For all I know you are the same person, with these lackadaisical forum rules here.

      1. I have no “ruinous mandates”. I am not an elected or appointed official in Albemarle or Crozet.
      2. NIMBY — which backyard are you maintaining? The one up north or down here? When you say “you”, you mean me? Because my post didn’t say much about what I think should be built in my backyard.
      3. My meetings? I don’t have or sponsor any meetings.
      4. The call for balance does not include a Ruckersville type of Crozet. That’s my unsolicited opinion, not a campaign talking point. And I am free to organize the community, if it’s wanting to be organized, in order to support that opinion. As you are to not support that opinion. Isn’t America grand?
      5. Don’t build it in my backyard? One truck stop, er gas station, may not be as calamitous as some portend. Could it be the foothold on 250? Probably. Will it permanently alter the Crozet landscape? Maybe. It all depends upon the quality of the development. Those same developers that have taken the soul from your adopted home.
      6. A question: if JBB is allowed to sell and develop his land in downtown Crozet, would you support it? Or would that chip away at Crozet’s soul once again?

      I should have know it wasn’t Ed Strauss, the dot dot dot was missing. Classic.

      1. Andrew, Thanks for the pleasure reading your post (before the thread will be closed by Jim if more trolling muddles the waters (dot dot dot…)

        1. I’ll add one more thing … apparently Edward’s “country way” includes a truck stop. Does it include a new downtown courtesy of JBB? A Wal Mart? A strip joint? If not, why not?

          Since when did manufacturing jobs become a part of the “country way”? That’s for the cities, right?

          1. Crozet did have manufacturing jobs that did not ruin the area
            and enhanced it to the point that people came here to live.
            What is not the country way is a canned, County built, community in a box surrounded by tract housing. Too bad you are scared of Truck Stops. Opinion that you do not agree with is not trolling. You seem to have enough words to be able to do better than that. Or are you used to having your way???

  11. You answer my questions and then I’ll answer yours. But then mine were directed to Edward, not “Edward …”

    No, I am not “scared of truck stops”, reread #5 again. Although I have been to the Sheets at Ruckersville on a Sat night. Crozet definitely needs to get in on that kind of action.

    As for my way — are ya serious? What’s my way? Expressing my opinion on an anonymous website? This isn’t personal, Edward … Don’t be afraid of words, tract housing is the enemy! I tell my children that every night. That we are indeed the ruin of Crozet.

  12. The funniest part of this whole truck stop / gas station thing … the owner doesn’t live in Crozet or Albemarle? Am I getting that right?

    Oh the irony of NIMBY …

    (this dot dot dot thing is addictive)

    1. I answered one of your questions, “Since when did manufacturing jobs become a part of the “country way”? That’s for the cities, right?”.

      Which other one do you want answered? The funniest comment of yours is about the gas station owner who lived in Greenwood when
      he bought the property. Greenwood = an area west of Crozet that the
      CCAC is trying to claim domain over. Nothing really funny about this.
      You must not be vested enough in the area to take it seriously, you’ll
      just move on when it suits. For some of us this is home. There is no leaving, we have to make the best of whatever damage is done by the
      people who do not know what they want. This is all childish drama to
      me, you don’t like the message you go after the messenger. That is what tract housing brings to an area…

  13. Wait — but does the property owner live in Crozet anymore? That’s all I was asking, I was under the impression they didn’t. If they don’t I think it’s funny concerning the whole NIMBY argument.

    I don’t need a geography lesson from you. I’m well aware of where I live, and I ain’t going anywhere. Lucky for you …

    The question I asked … and not to you … “Does it include a new downtown courtesy of JBB? A Wal Mart? A strip joint? If not, why not?”

    What are these manufacturing jobs? Which farms will they be built on? Wouldn’t that harm the “country way”? Serious answers only, right? Nothing flippant or sarcastic or nebulous like “manufacturing jobs”. Delete tract housing and insert ________ . Let us know …

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