Growing Crozet Thoughtfully & Sustainably

Yes, traffic sucks sometimes (school time, anyone?), and it’s going to get worse. What if … we grew Crozet, locally and more sustainably?

We’re definitely going to get more houses … houses that don’t pay for themselves, or the infrastructure (schools, roads, etc) that we use.

Think about this story in the context of the possible redevelopment of downtown Crozet.

“They’ll see they’re working against the tide very soon when millennials eventually head to the suburbs,” he says. “We see a lot of what we call ‘millennials in mourning.’ They’re married with their first child, and the last place they think about is the urban environment. A lot of people are soon going to be at the point where finding a good place for their kid to go to school is going to be a lot more important than the coolest restaurant to hang out. Unfortunately for some companies, they may be moving into the cities just before the tide goes the other way.”

Sadly, we are in an environment that is remarkably conducive to walking or riding bikes to school, but 1.5 -2 miles is apparently an unconquerable distance for many.

What if … we had jobs to walk or ride to as well? 

Think sustainably and longer-term

If we figure that the average driver in the US does 20,000 miles a year, I’m going to use about 400 gallons of gas. A car getting 20 mpg is going to use closer to a thousand gallons. Figure that there are about 100 million actively driven cars in the US, which means that the net difference if “everybody did it” has the potential to save 60 billion gallons (600 times 100 million) of gas. A year. (* Jim’s note – this is from 2007)

We have an opportunity as a community to encourage great businesses and jobs to locate here; The more we can grow our local, read: Crozet, economy, the better for all.

Interesting corresponding facebook conversation as well.

My brief opinion: Wishing that Crozet would stay small is not realistic, and continuing to grow as primarily a bedroom community for Charlottesville is not sustainable.

Related story – Charlottesville (City) Grow or Preserve it?:

As a result, average city home values doubled between 2000 and 2010 to $321,000. And Albemarle homes—which are in the growth area and spread across the large lots countywide—have median prices of $309,000. Those aren’t New York or San Francisco figures, but they are well above the state and national medians, and show what happens when a city and county conspire to cordon off most of its land.

What happens for those who want to live here, but can’t meet this financial barrier? Many of them move further out, said Ridge Schuyler, who runs a self-sufficiency program for low-income people at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Schuyler said his program generally has two types of people: the first are extremely low-wage workers who qualify for Charlottesville’s public housing. The second are slightly higher-paid service workers who don’t qualify for public housing, yet can’t take that next step of competing for Charlottesville’s market-rate units. They’re the ones settling for outlying counties.

“If you try to move up the income ladder,” Schuyler said of this second group, “once you get into that first rung job of making $28,000 to $32,000, you are almost forced to move away.”

This explains why neighboring counties like Fluvanna, Louisa, Orange and Greene have roughly doubled their populations since 1990. Charlottesville-area workers who live out in them must also foot the higher transportation costs of driving 30-plus miles twice daily.

Quick Crozet real estate context

  • From 1 January to 12 September 2017, 243 homes (attached and single family) have sold in Brownsville + Crozet.
    • Average price is $458K.
  • 82 new homes (single family + attached) have sold in that timeframe.
    • Average price is $603K (source of this, and above: CAARMLS)
  • Crozet Real Estate Market – July 2017 Hotsheet (PDF)

Take the Crozet Community Survey – by 20 August 2017

Only a couple days left to take the Crozet Community Survey. Link to the survey can be found here.

After a delay in the mailing of a survey to gauge the Crozet community’s thoughts on growth and development, both the public and a scientific sample of households are being invited to submit their responses by Aug. 20.

Tolson said he hopes the Crozet survey results can be used to frame town hall meetings in the fall.

The 39-question survey covers a range of topics, from development near the U.S. 250-Interstate 64 interchange at exit 107 to whether the boundaries of the Crozet growth area should be expanded.

Tolson said two important areas covered in the survey are growth along the U.S. 250 corridor and in the downtown area of Crozet.

Density along U.S. 250 previously has proven to be a contentious issue. Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors denied a proposed rezoning near the Cory Farm neighborhood that would have allowed for a new development with 80 residential units. Some community members opposed the development, known as Adelaide, on the grounds that density should be limited on 250. A 35-unit development known as Sparrow Hill is now being planned for the property by-right.

As for the survey, Tolson said, “We’ve had a really good response so far. We’ve had about 780 [responses] … on the scientific sample, and about 500 or so on the public sample.”

They were aiming to get at least 600 responses for the scientific sample. Tolson said they want to collect more responses to lower the margin of error of the results.

Some background on previous master plan surveys. And a letter from a reader in March regarding wariness about the Crozet Master Plan.

A Sunday in Crozet

Bike ride past Beaver Creek followed by polo at King Family Vineyards (and then I showed a lot in Crozet)

 

Some days, things work out, thoughts about traffic, crowded schools and roads, and other worries temporarily fade away.

All told, Crozet is a great place to live.

Traffic in Crozet (letter from a reader)

via email:

I’ve lived in Crozet, down the street from Crozet Park most of my life. I understand my small town is going to grow. But I don’t get how we can continue on the path without fixing some problems?

Westlake is continuing to build and now more land across from the park is being developed. After being promised for the last eight years we’re getting another way out of our neighborhood I’m beginning to think it will never happen.

Between construction vehicles, school buses and your everyday commuter we are at our max. When a bad storm hits and we are stuck waiting for debris to be cleaned up before we can leave our home. Also all traffic is going out of Tabor Rd on to Park Ave, at this point we need a light at that intersection because no one wants to let each other out of Tabor Rd.

The lumber yard is going to be developed and with places such as Piedmont Place and others coming to Crozet Ave is continuing to see more congestion that it can’t handle. At what point will something finally be done? Are we going to wait like the county did with 29 North?

We should plan to fix problems like water use, schools and roads before it gets out of hand. Crozet is growing at a rate to fast for anyone to keep up. People in Brookwood, Westhall, and Westlake deserve another way out! The road from Parkside Village to 240 will not solve our problems either.

I’m hoping you will take my email serious, cause this effects many families.

*edited to add line breaks

The corresponding Facebook post (with lots of traffic & comments).

Creekside Neighbors Unite for Neighborhood Traffic and Child Safety

Last week, I noted the 12 new homes coming near the Creekside section of Old Trail. It seems many of the folks who currently live in Creekside are working to change the plans.

Chris and Meghan Little, who bought their lot for its privacy for their young children 4 years ago, sent this

 

Overwhelming popular opinion and fear is that: Traffic from Greyrock will be redirected to the town-center and to the public schools via this new street, which is VERY dangerous.  We have a very tight community of neighbors and CHILDREN in the Private Road area, and they all run, ride, and play in this Private Road Area every day.  We aim to improve property and community value, enhance bike and sidewalk activity, and we wonder who will maintain the ‘Green Spaces’ and what will reside there?

Also why does the developer not adhere to the 15’ home setback lines?  These homes will be out of place in the current configuration.

If anyone wants to be added to the Birchwood Hill Rd./Welbourne Ln. Opposition Email Thread, please email us.

 

 

$9 Million for a Road to Downtown Crozet & Square Improvements?

Charlottesville Tomorrow reports (read the whole thing)

A new report, which was prepared by Municap, Inc., proposes the developer and county split the costs of public improvements for the property, with the developer paying approximately $4.45 million and the county paying $4.72 million. The county’s costs would specifically go towards constructing a civic plaza space and a road that connects downtown to nearby Parkside Village.

The Parkside Village connector is estimated to cost $1.57 million and the Crozet Plaza $3.15 million. The report projects that the various forms of tax revenue resulting from redevelopment of the property — including real property, sales, meals, transient and personal property taxes — would leave the county with a net surplus of $18.15 million in tax revenue after the bondholders are repaid.

Here’s the corresponding RealCrozetVA FB post.

Crozet Board of Trade asking for Donations

via email:*

Dear Crozetians,

I’m writing to ask your help in an important community driven effort that will help shape the future of Crozet.   As you may have read, there is a volunteer committee that consists of Crozet Community Association president Tim Tolson; retired planning commissioner Tom Loach (and new/current CCAC member);  current planning commissioner Jennie More; White Hall Supervisor Ann Mallek; Tom Guterbock, the director of U.Va’s Center for Survey Research; Shawn Bird, a political polling expert; Crozet Board of Trade president Mike Marshall; and county senior planner Elaine Echols. Other interested Crozet citizens have also attended meetings.  This committee has been developing a survey on Crozet growth issues for presentation to the public in May.

The committee has prepared a scientifically valid survey with neutral questions. Some 2,000 households inside the Crozet Growth Area and another 1,000 in nearby areas will be sent letters asking them to participate in the online survey. The goal is to get at least 500 households from this random representative sample to respond, with the heavy majority being from inside the growth area.

The same survey will also be available to anyone in the public online or in a paper form published in the Crozet Gazette and also available at Crozet Library. But these responses, while valid and sought after, will be analyzed and reported separately.

The committee has made diligent efforts to be thrifty about the cost of the effort. The expense, including sample purchase, comes down to less than $2 per invitation for the 3,000 letters and follow-up postcards should the letter not get the needed 500 participants.

 

The Crozet Board of Trade is undertaking to raise $6,000 to cover the cost of the survey. We believe this information is worth getting. The results will be publicly available.

 

The Board of Trade is a civic nonprofit that traditionally has raised funds for Crozet’s Independence Day fireworks show. We also raised the funds to create the Crozet Historic District. Your contribution is tax deductible and will be acknowledged.

 

This is a worthy cause. I hope you will send a contribution made out to the Crozet Board of Trade to P.O. Box 261, Crozet, Va. 22932. You can also donate online at this address: http://crozetcommunity.org/2017/04/donate-survey (Please note that 3% of your donation is kept by Network for Good as its fee.)

 

Thank you for supporting your hometown and believing that our caring can make its future prosperous and bright.

 

Sincerely,

Michael Marshall, President, Crozet Board of Trade

The Crozet Board of Trade is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.


One more thought: this survey has been put forth as being “unchallengeable” by the organizers. “With a scientific survey we have unchallengeable results that will be valuable for many purposes.” – Mike Marshall, via email 11/19/2016. 

If they are “unchallengeable” results, are they saying that they are infallible as well?

 

*edited to add links to CCAC story about Tom Loach and link to CCA.

Roundabout Coming to 250 & 240 — Sooner than Expected

Sean Tubbs at Charlottesville Tomorrow reports: (bolding mine, read the whole story).

Albemarle supervisors were briefed on several transportation projects Wednesday, including the news that a roundabout will be coming to the intersection of U.S. 250 and Route 240, east of Crozet and near the Mechums River bridge and railroad trestle.

“It did not get funded through the SmartScale process,” said Joel DeNunzio, administrator of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Charlottesville residency. “But we got an opportunity to re-do the [Highway Safety Improvement Funding application], and it looks like, as of today, we have been notified we have the funding.”

DeNunzio said the planning work can get underway in the next fiscal year.

I wonder … will they every widen 250?

 

Notes from the Crozet Master Plan Committee Meeting

Thanks to Tim Tolson at the CCA for this … read the whole thing.

Present: Tom Loach, Tom Guterboch, Jennie More, Bryan Kelly, Shawn Bird, Jim Crosby, Pat Crosby, Tim Tolson, Mike Marshall

Notes by Tim Tolson

Elaine Echols from Albemarle County staff sends her regrets, she cannot make this meeting.

Ann Mallek emailed to say she had another commitment and couldn’t make this meeting.

Tom L. re-capped why we’re doing this survey, to gather opinions about Crozet and growth topics related to master plan in preparation for 2018 when County said it can revise master plan. Starting with 2009 survey that CCAC and CCA and County did, Tim chaired that effort. (Click here for the Crozet Gazette article with more background)

I have a conflict the the next meeting, Thursday, 3/30 at 7:00 PM at the Field School. If you can attend, and can tweet the meeting, please let me know. I’ll pay. This is important stuff, folks. These are not FOIA-able public meetings, even though they are open, and the public is encouraged to attend. While they do a great job with the minutes, having live-tweeting would be fantastic.

Crozet Needs Water?

via NBC29

The water treatment plant that provides clean water to people in Crozet could exceed its capacity within the next five years. That’s why the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) is beginning a master plan to make sure water keeps flowing from.

Dr. John Schoeb depends on fresh, clean water for both his businesses – his dental practice and his brewery, Pro Re Nata.

“Without it, neither one of them exists,” Schoeb explained. “It’s a limited resource. We’re paying for it, we’re trying to be good to the environment.”

Schoeb says simple conservation steps cut his brewery’s water use by 8,000 gallons per month. It’s an effort he encourages his neighbors in Crozet to try.

“Crozet is a growing, vibrant area. People want to move out here, so if we’re going to keep the infrastructure we have we’re all going to have to work together to conserve as much as we can,” said Schoeb.

Crozet’s infrastructure is the focus of a new water master plan. The RWSA is hiring a consultant to study the growing community’s water needs.

“It is an area where we’re seeing high demand that is starting to get close to our capacity,” said Bill Mawyer, RWSA executive director.

Crozet’s 52 year-old water treatment plant can handle one million gallons per day. Right now, the average daily demand is about half a million gallons.

 

via Crozet Today (pdf)

 

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) is launching a master plan to make sure water keeps flowing for Crozet. The Crozet water treatment plant could exceed its capacity within the next five years. Crozet’s infrastructure is the focus of a new water master plan. The RWSA is hiring a consultant to study the growing community’s water needs.

“It is an area where we’re seeing high demand that is starting to get close to our capacity,” said Bill Mawyer, RWSA executive director. Crozet’s 52 year-old water treatment plant can handle one million gallons per day. Right now, the average daily demand is about half a million gallons.

The RWSA estimates it could exceed capacity by the summer of 2022. “We need to start planning now how we will expand the facilities to make sure we can meet the demand in the next five, to 10, to 50 years,” said Mawyer.

 

Read the whole thing.