CCAC Meeting – Through the Eyes of a WAHS Student

Last month’s Crozet Community Advisory Council meeting was well-attended, and well-tweeted! One of the attendees was Tim Dodson, a junior at Western Albemarle High School and the news editor of the Western Hemisphere. His tweets were insightful and added a perspective that is lacking at most CCAC meetings (no disrespect intended) – that of youth. So I asked him to write a guest post and he graciously accepted. The next scheduled CCAC meeting is 16 December . A sincere thanks to Tim for attending, tweeting and writing this story.

I’ve sat through a lot of tedious Board of Supervisors and School Board meetings before, so I figured my experience with the Crozet Community Advisory Council (CCAC) wouldn’t be much different when I attended the November 21 CCAC meeting last Thursday. I was totally wrong.

The meeting was at the Meadows Community Center and started at 7pm. I drove up, and at first I thought I was at the wrong place. There weren’t too many people inside, perhaps five or six. More people started to show up and within 10 minutes the CCAC members were seated and a small audience had arrived as well. I was seated next to Kim Connolly, and as it turned out, both of us were there to live-tweet the meeting. CCAC members appeared to be surprised by the seven person public turnout, so I guess these meeting aren’t well attended.

The CCAC is actually a pretty diverse group, with Board of Supervisors member Ann Mallek, PTO reps, longtime Crozet residents, and several individuals with ties to local organizations. Perhaps the only group not represented is high school students.

As the meeting progressed, the council addressed a variety of topics, including Crozet Library fundraising, Streetscape, sidewalks near Crozet Elementary, Barnes Lumber Company, and contamination at the Wilson Jones site.
I appreciated the informal debate flow of the council and the frequent opportunities for public input into the discussions.

I was mostly interested in the Crozet Library and Streetscape agenda items, and as a teen driver, found the conversations about possible stop lights and three-way intersections quite relevant. My favorite update that evening was the fact that the stop bar at the intersection of Crozet Ave. and Jarman’s Gap Rd. will be moved up once Streetscape is complete. It’s about time that happened!

Although I didn’t have the background knowledge for the conversations about Wilson Jones and Barnes Lumber, the discussions that they prompted led me to do some googling afterwards and become more informed.

The meeting finished on time at 9pm, and as I got in my car and drove away, I realized that time had flown by and reflected on the meaningful discussions that I observed.

In general, CCAC is an engaging way for the Crozet community to have a voice in county affairs and influence local policymaking. I’ve never seen people so passionate about zoning, libraries, and sidewalks until I came to the CCAC meeting; it’s reassuring to know that the people on CCAC actually care about what goes on in Crozet and that active citizens are leading the way.

Anyone with a connection to Crozet – whether you live in Crozet, attend school in Crozet, or frequently use the library – should try to attend a CCAC meeting and chime in on the conversations. These meetings are lively, open, and in some ways, enlightening.

editor’s note: I’d love to see more attendance and public input at CCAC meetings, and hope that Tim’s attendance inspires more youth insight and input – from WAHS students and the Crozet community.

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