The owner of the property on which the soon-to-be Adelaide development sits wrote the following to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. I asked her this morning after I read it if I could publish it here.
I’ve seen a lot of the opponents’ voices, and I’ve listened to the pro-development voices, but I’d not seen the owner/seller’s voice until now.
Please, take the time to read and hear another neighbor’s thoughts and concerns.
Letter to the Board of Supervisors
First, I now understand why our country is in such turmoil and dissatisfaction. It’s true, government is out of control, even at our local level. I have found this every step of the way while trying to get my property sold. I question what is the purpose of having a Planning Commission if you don’t abide by their decisions. Why have a planning committee?
After the death of my husband, you were advised our taxes were astronomical. On my single income his death has made it impossible for me to continue paying close to $14,000.00 a year for real estate taxes. Because of all the rules and regulations and the apparent lack of understanding regarding the “Master Plan”, some members of the various Boards have decided to put up a fight regarding the rezoning request. You have indicated the plans for rezoning Adelaide do not comply with the “Master Plan”. As Mr. Sheffield stated at one of the hearings, this seems to be a bone of contention on each project presented to the Board. Personally I feel there has been a drop of the ball in its interpretation. I also feel I have been individually targeted for some reason since in recent years everything along 250 has been allowed to develop either by businesses, homes, apartments, etc. It is such a mismatch of development that has been allowed and when I have no choice other than to sell my property, all the objections seem to surface. Do you realize how much the lower density reduces my sale price even though the County has a much higher assessed value when it comes to calculating the amount of my taxes. If this is the case, have I not been overtaxed? Does this mean I am due a refund?
What is the deal with the CCAC and the Board of Supervisors? The Planning Commission got it, but apparently you and some of the Board’s members don’t have a clue. It has also come to my attention that there may be some conflicts of interest with some of the past and current CCAC Board members regarding their own future developmental interests in Crozet. How can decisions previously made by them or future decisions not be considered a conflict? Fair? I think not. Some members of the CCAC have been very vocal in their input for denial regarding the Adelaide project. I can only hope when they decide to go forward with their projects they will not be put through the ropes that Mr. Redinger and myself have encountered.
Do you ever stop and think of the human aspect of these decisions? The decisions you make affect people’s lives. I am not a big time developer, a business owner or anyone trying to make a living from developing property. I am just a widow who is trying to live the years I have left without having to resort to any type of assistance from anyone. My husband and I were always self-sufficient and never once were we late in making sure the county received what we considered to be an outrageous amount of real estate tax. We both worked all of our lives and when he was alive this burden was met. However, that all changed on March 29, 2013 when he died and I acquired the brunt of our obligations. He was almost 72 when he died and was still employed full-time by the county. He never realized the joy of not having to get up and go to work and having leisure time in his life. So far, I have been able to keep the tax payments current. No matter how much we saved, the rate imposed upon us for taxes along with other everyday living expenses has wiped out most of that savings. We were never big spenders or extravagant with our finances because we knew retirement would be difficult with the tax burden Albemarle County had placed on us. So my only option is to sell my property and hopefully find a more reasonable area to live. I never dreamed when I tragically lost my husband that I would be in this situation. I did not know the process I was facing and believe me, it is something I hope never to have to endure again.
My main purpose in getting this email to you and the other board members prior to the meeting this evening is because having reviewed the email you circulated on Monday, January 30, 2017, I feel it is imperative that someone question the panic mode you seem to exhibit in that text. Why are you so adamant about this one project? I beg to differ with you that the passing of the rezoning request would be disastrous. From the beginning, it has been apparent that for some unknown reason you have been against the rezoning of this project. As you will recall, 3 ½ years ago I contacted you about the tax burden I was incurring and never heard back from you. Anyone reading between the lines of the email would have to agree that you have come at this rezoning with a vengeance. I am at a loss as to why you feel it should not go forward. Haven’t you seen the news in the last few days where affordable housing is almost non-existent in this area and housing inventory in general is low. (I don’t know where the idea came from that a $400,000.00 home is considered affordable by most people). Downtown Crozet has quite a few projects in the works and if traffic is a concern of Adelaide, what do you think it will be if all those developments go through? 250 is the main thoroughfare road and nothing is going to change that. You stated in your email that the traffic impact would be devastating if the rezoning is granted. Won’t these other developments that are being approved put a burden on the traffic situation? Why do we not hear about the amount of traffic coming from downtown Crozet to 250? Is Adelaide going to be the only new development that will allow its residents to have cars? Can’t you see how ridiculous this argument is in the scheme of things. If you are referring to the traffic fatalities, none of them occurred due to an overabundance of traffic. My husband’s accident was at 7:45 p.m. and was not due to the volume of traffic but the criminal act of speeding and cell phone use by the defendant. The young teenager’s death was not due to traffic but the riding of a skateboard which should have been prohibited. I go out twice each morning taking my grandchildren to school. Although the traffic is slow moving, is it not also that way in most school settings?
Mr. Redinger started out with a beautiful plan that provided afforded housing, a much needed 55+ community for our area (contrary to one of the CCAC Board members stating this was not the case), units for low income needs, and all the amenities that go along with this type of community. Mr. Redinger has also bent over backwards to comply with the all the changes and additions that have been required of him. Personally I think his first rendition was the most beautiful, affordable and well planned out development. Due to all the changes and the required reduction in units, the word affordable went out the window. The more he has had to adjust the plans and meet the necessary requirements, the less attractive the development has become. Also, it seems that by-right projects are encouraged and from a financial aspect, this seems absolutely absurd that the county would forego much needed intake of monies from higher density projects, proffers, etc.
This community was built on people like my father-in-law, who worked hard for what they had but were able to accumulate and support their families on very little income. How do you feel when you hear reports that state local police officers, rescue workers, firefighters and other hard working citizens cannot even afford to live in this county? Yet when a young developer comes along and tries to meet that need, he is put through objection after objection, especially from you. Your email seems so desperate and I can’t understand your wording that if this land is allowed to be rezoned, it will be disastrous. Why? Mr. Redinger’s plans certainly provide much more amenities than the Cory Farm Development ever could. Insofar as the Cory Farm objections have influenced any decisions, do you actually think my husband and I wanted to see that development? Of course not. We accepted the change and tried to be very good neighbors. I wish I could continue to live in the home where I have resided since just turning 19 years of age, but what choice do I have? Everyone states that they do not want the character of Crozet to change but that train left the station long ago. I worry about the next generation simply because of the out of reach cost of owning property in Albemarle County today as opposed to when my husband and I built our home here.
If I seem a little angry at this point, you’re right. The desperation in your email was the last straw and I feel I cannot be silent any longer. My last comment to you Ms. Mallek, due to your condescending attitude, will ensure you will never get another vote from me, my family or friends. They too feel this has been an unjust and biased situation especially by you and the CCAC.
cc: Diantha H.McKeel, Chair
Norman G. Dill, Vice-Chair
Liz A. Palmer, Member
Rick Randolph, Member
Brad L. Sheffield, Member
Part of Judy Herring’s email to me (published with permission)
As Mr. Sheffield stated at the Wednesday meeting, and also at a prior meeting, the board needs to get together on a consensus as to what it actually means. …
I don’t think most people, especially the Cory Farm objectors, realize that by fighting so hard against 80 units being developed how much it devalues what I can sell my property for. Never mind I have paid through the nose for taxes that the county has assessed against my husband and myself for many years. They set the value of property and due to their decision, there is no way I can come close to getting that amount in a sale. No developer, Mr. Redinger or anyone else, can pay that price and be told how many units they can build. They are in the business to make money and this scenario makes it impossible. …
I guess my main objection regarding all of this is why are there not issues being raised against the Foothill Crossing (180 to 200 proposed units) project and the Barnes Lumber project insofar as traffic and overcrowding in schools is concerned. The county advised connecter roads are in the works but won’t they too end up on 250 for shopping, banking, etc. Won’t there be children going to the schools? Ann Mallek can only say that this is where they want the growth to be – downtown Crozet. Well if the main objections to my rezoning is too much traffic and overcrowding, why should it be allowed there? Are these folks not going to have cars and children?
*Jim’s note: I posted this in the categories of Crozet, Growth, and Community … we are one community and need to work through these things as such.