The Square Improvements are Moving Forward

From the CCAC meeting last week (thanks to Crozet Gazette for the video below!)

If you have an hour, please watch the video. If you don’t, please read or skim the information below.

My notes from watching the video

The PDF of the presentation is here.

From Charlottesville Community Engagement on 20 February 2024

Albemarle report provides details into Crozet’s Square project

In June 2012, Albemarle County acquired a 0.36 acre parcel in downtown Crozet from CSX Transportation in a transaction in which no money changed hands. The strip of land is known as The Square and spans between Crozet Avenue and Oak Street on the western edge of the Barnes Lumberyard. 

Continue reading “The Square Improvements are Moving Forward”

Crozet Trails Crew – Building a Bridge

Ever think about how much less great Crozet would be without the Crozet Trails Crew? I was talking to a client last week about how amazing the Crozet Trails and Crozet Trails Crew are, and they, not being from Crozet, had not heard of either.

So I went for a walk, and shared a few photos with them. We are a better community because of the Crozet Trails. Simple.

From the CTC email

Big project: Sign up to build a bog bridge in Old Trail
Serve Beer and Wine at the Arts & Crafts Festival in May
February CTC Meeting
We need a secretary Build a Bog Bridge at Western Park in Old Trail
We have been working closely with the county Parks & Recreation department to plan some trail additions in Western Park. Our most recent project was to re-open a trail that goes through an often-swampy area. We will improve the trail by adding a narrow bog bridge. 

The first phase requires one or two people on Wednesday, February 21, to cut lumber. Sign up here to meet at the Miyamoto’s home at 9:00 a.m., address will be supplied. We need people who are comfortable using a power saw.

The big day of construction will be the morning of Saturday, February 24. Many people are needed to install a long stretch of bridge. You will be working on wet, boggy ground, so dress accordingly — you will need boots and work gloves. If you have a cordless impact driver or drill, please bring it, as well as star (torx) bits if you have them.
Activities include:
Site preparation using string trimmers, loppers, etc.
Removing the old walkway
Construction of lumber walk sections
Moving sections and materials to site
?Linking sections together

If you sign up here we can notify you of any changes, but feel free to come even if you weren’t able to plan ahead. Please review our safety guidelines before joining a work day. Bartenders For the Arts & Crafts Festival
bottles of wine and an Ipad at a table with vendors tents in the backgroundThe Trails Crew has a reputation for our work on trails. But you know what else we’re known for? The best volunteer beer & wine servers in Crozet! We have a big schedule to fill up, so why not come out to the Crozet Park Arts & Crafts Festival and be part of the story? You get in free, and another free tee shirt because I know you need one! (And of course you’ll need to sample the product to make good suggestions!)
We always have a great time at the Festival, and we will train newcomers. So sign up for a shift Saturday, May 11 or Sunday, May 12 and be part of the fun.  February Trails Crew Meeting at Crozet Park Our next meeting will be this Thursday, February 22, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Location: Community Building at Crozet Park.

We will be discussing plans for our next project, progress towards constructing the Lickinghole Creek bridge, and preparations for maintaining trails during the upcoming growing season. We welcome anyone who is interested in getting involved, or just learning about, the work (and fun) of the Trails Crew! If you’re new to Crozet, and haven’t yet found the trails, here’s your chance to meet some great people. It’s also a great chance to bring forward suggestions, so if you have a great idea, please join us.

Directions: Enter at the main Park Road entrance to Claudius Crozet Park (1075 Claudius Crozet Park, Crozet). Take the first left to go around the pool then drive through the parking lot behind the pool. The Community Building is the small white building at the far side of the parking lot. Enter through the door on the parking lot side. If you drive, please park inside the park — not along Hilltop or Indigo — leaving the places closest to the building open so the basketball hoops can be used, and enter through the door next to the equipment shed. Can you Help? We Need a Secretary Here’s an opportunity to help out with Trails Crew. We are looking for a person to take the position of Secretary, effective April 1. Responsibilities are simple: take minutes at our monthly meeting, type them up, and nag Terri to post them. At the end of the month, collect hours worked from the various work days, and email them to the county. This is a great way to help out, even if you aren’t the type to hit the trails with a trimmer on work days. If you are willing, please email [email protected]
More About the Crozet Trails Crew More about Crozet Trails, including details about the pedestrian bridge we are going to build,  plus maps, current projects, and info about our annual 5K race, is available on our web site at Donate to the bridge fund at

Also: Follow us on Facebook

Three Notch’d Center – Coming to 240

“To construct a 23,120sf two-story multi-tenant building on a 2.32ac site that will be shared with an existing car wash building. The footprint of the multi-tenant building is 16,300sf with 6,820sf available in upper floors.”

So close to the coming 110+ houses at the Old Dominion site.

Fun what you learn when you read the Albemarle County Architectural Review Board site (thanks, Neil for the tweet!)

Things take time in Albemarle County.

“The planning and zoning history on this site is extensive. In 2009, the ARB approved a design for a commercial building in the location of the current proposal. See Figure 2 below for the approved design. Architectural designs for the carwash building were reviewed and approved by the ARB in 2013. That building was constructed in 2018.

Overall, the building configuration of the current proposal does not match previously approved site plans (Figure 3), therefore, a site plan amendment will be needed to approve the new building layout and other site changes . A more detailed evaluation of landscaping, parking areas, and other site features will be part of the review of the minor site plan.”

And yes, looks like Green Olive Tree and Laundromat will go away.

Would be great if part of this plan is to have protected bike lanes and sidewalks on 240.

Dig into the materials yourselves.

What do you think? What questions do you have?

Transportation and Crozet’s Infrastructure – BoS 2-7-2024

These are the meetings where you (and we) learn what’s happening in our community, and where consistent attendance matters.*

Who’s going to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors meeting on 7 February at 1pm at Lane Auditorium? And who’s going only to the meeting that directly affects you and your backyard?

There are a lot of things on the agenda (you can find the agenda here).

A few of the many items on the agenda that have some specific-to-Crozet relevance:

There’s a lot happening in this sign

  • Eastern Avenue and Park Ridge, which really should be a roundabout, in my opinion. (further down, Hill Top will soon be renamed Park Ridge),
  • Mountains with morning light in the distance
  • Wide road with sidewalks and unprotected bike lanes
  • Curb cut (this 99% Invisible podcast is fascinating) — “If you live in an American city and you don’t personally use a wheelchair, it’s easy to overlook the small ramp at most intersections, between the sidewalk and the street. Today, these curb cuts are everywhere, but fifty years ago — when an activist named Ed Roberts was young — most urban corners featured a sharp drop-off, making it difficult for him and other wheelchair users to get between blocks without assistance.”
  • The developer’s sign
  • Car that actually has its headlights on
  • Call to attend a meeting

While not Crozet-specific, the North Fork rezoning will absolutely affect Crozet in many ways.

Part of the applicant’s narrative:

Therefore, the Foundation proposes to rezone a portion of North Fork from PDIP to
Neighborhood Model District (NMD) to allow residential uses (the “Project,
” or this “Amendment”) and additional commercial and retail uses (See detailed chart below). The existing PDIP uses will remain on the entirety of North Fork, including those approved by Special Use Permit with conditions, however a Code of Development and Application Plan will establish regulations regarding the residential uses including density, form, residential uses, and greenspace. The types of potential residential uses would include single-family detached, single-family attached, townhomes, and multi-family dwelling units.

The project proposes a maximum of 1,400 residential units consisting of single family detached, single family attached, townhomes, and multi-family apartments at a density of approximately 17 DUA. (bolding mine)

*I rarely go to the meetings, but I do make an effort to read as much about them as I can, on their agendas, and via Charlottesville Community Engagement.

Crozet’s Getting a Seafood Restaurant – Crozet Seafood Supply

This is going to be good. Coming to the Clover Lawn Shopping Center soon. We need a great seafood place.

From the County ARB email this morning:

Project #: Name ARB-2024-06: Crozet Seafood Supply – Sign
Review Type Certificate of Appropriateness for a Sign
Parcel Identification 056F1-00-00-00100
Location 375 Four Leaf Lane
Zoned Planned Development Mixed Commercial (PDMC) / Entrance Corridor (EC)
Owner and Contact Shoppes of Clover Lawn LLC c/o Downer & Associates / Converge Inc. (Sara Ross)
Magisterial District White Hall
Proposal To install a non-illuminated wall sign.

Crozet Proposed Park & Ride Public Hearing – 24 January 2024


The Afton Express – Afton – Charlottesville bus service

Crozet Connect – routes around Crozet to and from Charlottesville

Three Notch’d Trail – proposed trail from Afton to Charlottesville

Bike racks – sigh. Racks: great. Access to said racks: terrible.

Piece meal approaches to not having to get in a car to get places are better than no pieces at all. Teeny tiny baby steps forward is progress.

Press release from VDOT follows

Location is convenient to regional transit services, lot will feature bus stop and bicycle racks

CULPEPER — Residents in Crozet and surrounding areas will have an opportunity to get information and make comments on the proposed Park and Ride commuter parking lot at U.S. 250 (Rockfish Gap Turnpike) and Interstate 64 exit 107 west of Crozet.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a design public hearing from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Crozet Library, 2020 Library Avenue, Crozet, VA 22932. The meeting will be held in an open forum format where project team members will present information about the proposed project and answer questions. Attendees may also provide written or verbal comments about the project.

The project will construct a lot with 25 parking spaces, a bus pull-through, bus shelter and bike racks. It will also extend the westbound left-turn lane on U.S. 250 and requires a change in the limited access control on I-64 and U.S. 250.

Project information and the National Environmental Policy Act documentation in the form of a Programmatic Categorical Exclusion may be reviewed at VDOT’s Culpeper District Office located at 1601 Orange Road in Culpeper, VA, 540-829-7500; or at VDOT’s Charlottesville Residency, located at 701 VDOT Way, Charlottesville, VA 22911, 434-293-0011, or 1-800-367-7623, TTY/TDD 711. Please call ahead to ensure the availability of appropriate personnel to answer your questions.

In compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 and 36 CFR Part 800, information concerning the potential effects of the proposed project on properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places is provided in the environmental documentation.

Property impact information and tentative construction schedules are available for review at the above addresses and will be available at the public hearing.

The $5 million project was funded in the fourth round of SMART SCALE project development in fiscal year 2022. Advertisement for construction is scheduled in October 2024. More information about the project, including a location map, may be found on the project web page: on the VDOT web site.

Questions about the project should be directed to Mr. David Cubbage, VDOT Location and Design, Culpeper District, (540) 727-7129, [email protected]. Comments may be made during the meeting or by mail to Mr. David Cubbage, VDOT Location and Design, 1601 Orange Road, Culpeper, VA 22701. Comments can also be emailed to [email protected]. All comments must be postmarked or emailed by February 5, 2024.

Downtown Crozet & the Albemarle ARB

Lots of information in this week’s Week Ahead from Charlottesville Community Engagement. Bolding below is mine.?Also, real estate assessments are coming in a few days. How much will your home’s value change?

Downtown Crozet redevelopment is going to happen. It’s been slow to this point; I suspect the fast part is around the corner.

The Albemarle Architectural Review Board will meet at 1 p.m. in Lane Auditorium. (meeting overview) (agenda)

On the consent agenda is approval of the design of an initial site development for Old Dominion Village in Crozet. That’s a 110-unit development with 94 townhouses and 16 single-family detached residences. (staff report) (Jim’s note — In the vicinity of the veterinary practice near Starr Hill)

The first regular item of business is an advisory review associated with a special use permit request. The developer of Stonefield is seeking a permit to allow outdoor sales associated with a proposed Tesla dealership. I wrote about that in late November. (staff report)

There will be two work sessions. The first is to discuss design criteria for any applications within the Barnes Lumber property in Crozet that are subject to the public private partnership between Albemarle County and Crozet New Town Associates. The materials have been prepared by BRW Architects. The site is within the Route 240 entrance corridor. 

“Future development of the property will include buildings supporting neighborhood and business uses,” reads the narrative. “These new uses and buildings, more typical of the new downtown setting, will provide an opportunity to enhance the corridor experience and reinforce the views along the corridor edge and its interior of the site as a background to more active spaces beyond.” 

The redevelopment will include a new public road. It’s been a while since I’ve written an update on what’s happening with this overall project. 

The second work session is on the final site plan for Old Ivy Residences, a 525-unit rental complex approved by the Board of Supervisors in early March 2023. The ARB’s review is germane due to the U.S. 29 / 250 bypass being an entrance corridor. 

Two images showing the visibility requirements of both the Old Ivy Residents project and the Square project 

Wouldn’t it be great if all new developments didn‘t have the “feature” that all lights come on at night? Remember when we could see stars?

Montclair to the Board of Supervisors – 10 January 2024

My mindset remains — Crozet needs more houses, more diverse housing options, and more non-car-centric infrastructure.

—- update 9pm 8 January:

  • At the request of the applicant, the following public hearings are deferred:
  • ZMA202000012 Montclair (formerly known as White Gate Village)
  • ACSA202100002 Montclair ACSA Jurisdictional Area Amendment

Montclair goes to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors on 10 January 2024.

From the Montclair developer’s narrative: (PDF)

This proposed rezoning seeks ot establish a Neighborhood Model District (NMD) to allow for a maximum of 12 attached dwelling units of varying sizes and multi-family units as well as a limited neighborhood-scale commercial service area. The development plan will establish considerable amenity and greenspace areas to serve future residents. The proposed block network will achieve inter-parcel connectivity and will establish well connected pedestrian routes.

The site establishes a transect within itself, proposing more dense development on the portion of the property closest to Route 240 and Park Ridge Drive and becoming increasingly less dense nearing the exposed portion of stream on the property, which is proposed to be a conservation area within the development.

Read more about it (ideally before concluding that you are for/against it, if you haven’t already made such a conclusion).

From today’s Charlottesville Community Engagement

The second and third (hearings) are associated with a request to rezone 14.9 acres of land in Crozet to the Neighborhood Model District to allow for a mixed-use development for up to 122 residential units and 16,500 square feet of non-residential use. This is the Montclair development that at one point had been named White Gate Village. There’s an associated request to change the jurisdictional areas for the Albemarle County Service Authority to allow water and sewer extension to new buildings. (staff report #1) (staff report #2)

Granted, I’ve not paid attention to 100% of the news about this development; this surprised me — “jurisdictional areas for the Albemarle County Service Authority to allow water and sewer extension.”

I do remain confused/concerned about the sidewalk waivers.

This is what I sent last year to the Board of Supervisors regarding Montclair.

Sidewalk waivers are a terrible idea, and counter to 1) human mobility 2) connecting neighbors and neighborhoods and 3) counter to the County’s stated climate goals. 

I live in Parkside Village, which is a 20 year old (ancient by today’s Crozet standards, and new by “old Crozet” standards.) One of the benefits of my neighborhood is that we have maturing trees along our street, and also sufficient space between houses to allow for trees and other plantings to grow. Today’s neighborhoods have insufficient space between houses to allow for such planting — further exacerbating heat islands, also counter to the County’s stated climate goals.

Traffic – the County have the opportunity and I’d argue responsibility to provide more mobility options for people to get around Crozet without being forced into cars. Please do whatever it takes to achieve this goal.

Crozet’s Real Estate Market – Quick Look at 2023 v 2024

Sunrise over Chiles

2023 was a year of low inventory, lots of new construction, and mostly increasing home values in Crozet. Have questions? Ask me. This is a reasonably high-level overview of the Crozet real estate market, and your specific micro-market will vary.

A quick look at some data to level set for 2024.

In 2023:

  • 336 homes (attached + detached) sold in Crozet + Brownsville Elementary School districts. (318 in 2022)
  • 152 of those were new construction. (129 in 2022)
  • Average sale price of single family home in Crozet in 2023 – $708K; $727 in 2022.
  • Average sale price of an attached home in Crozet in 2023 – $479K; $470K in 2022.

That’s just data. But what does it mean?

Rising interest rates in 2023 did not affect prices as much as many expected. What we did see as a result of higher rates were more people choosing to stay in their homes because the next place was so much more expensive due to increasing values and increasing interest rates.

We had fewer resale listings in 2023 than we did in 2022 — 189 new listings in 2022 and 167 new listings in 2023.

New construction is filling some of the void, and we need even more new construction that is affordable to more — more grandparents want to move to Crozet to be close to the grandkids (and the kids want parents to come help! Childcare is *expensive.*). More kids want to move closer to parents in Crozet. By restricting growth and not bringing more businesses and building commensurate non-car-centric infrastructure, we are making poor community decisions.

Great. But what does it mean to you?

That depends. What are you looking to do? Sell your home in Crozet? Buy a home in Crozet??Understand your 2024 Albemarle County real estate assessment?

My answer is almost everything in real estate starts with “it depends;”

More specifically, if you’re considering any of the above, what does the data mean to you?

  • Not much, other than we tend to have more buyers than sellers in the Crozet real estate market, and with the right preparation, guidance, council, marketing, and representation, sellers should do well.
  • Hopefully, this relatively high overview of our market gives you some insight. Know this — price matters.

The best answer to “what does this data mean to me?” — ask questions.

What’s 2024 going to bring to Crozet’s real estate market?

Competition. Continued low inventory. Increased buyer competition as interest rates moderate. Hopefully dirt pushing on the Downtown Crozet project.

Sellers who need and want to sell.

Buyers who need and want to buy.

It’s going to be a good year in Crozet.

Source of all numbers: Charlottesville MLS. Images created with ChatGPT-4

Some interesting data about life in Crozet on the data commons page.

December 2023’s Note from Jim

I write these every month, and send to clients — past, present, and likely future — and thought there’s likely a fair bit of crossover between those who read Crozet news, and those who are curious/interested in broader Charlottesville – Albemarle information and real estate stories.

Interested in receiving it every month? Subscribe here.

Happy December, nearly January. Next month, I’ll be level-setting 2024’s Charlottesville area real estate market. This month — the value of knowing what’s around the corner, seeking community, the market and an offer to you to talk about your house’s value.

Questions? I’m always here. 434-242-7140 or reply to this note (after sharing with a friend, if you’re so inclined).

The Market.

The year is nearly over, final closings will be taking place this week. And 2024 will be a new start. 2023 saw ups (interest rates) and downs (inventory), and lots of changes on the horizon (lawsuits).

What’s 2024 going to bring? I’ll tell you in June of 2025. I know this — any analysis not done for you exclusively will be too broad for anything other than conversation

Interested in a check-in on your house’s value, if only to just see if Zillow is accurate?Ask me – just reply to this email. 

Best answer right now? I suspect we’re going to see a bit more of the same. 

  • The City of Charlottesville has revamped its zoning, and despite the angst, I suspect the effects will be slow and then fast. 
  • Albemarle County remains a great place to live, and new construction shows that people a) want to live here and b) haven’t been able to find existing houses to fill their housing needs. As of 27 December, 1,685 homes have sold in Albemarle; 503 (30%) of those were new construction. Last year 1,854 homes sold; 442 (24%) were new. We’ll see more new construction.
    • Average sold price of the 611 single-family homes that have sold in 2023 in Albemarle County with at least 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in 2023? $820K. Median? $662K.
    • Average price of the 200 single-family homes that sold in 2023 in the City of Charlottesville with at least 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in 2023? $706K. Median? $604K. 
  • Interest rates are falling. 6.5% is much better than 8.25%. We’re going to see more buyers coming to the market, and keep having low inventory — many buyers already have homes, and either don’t have mortgages or have rates under 4%, so they won’t be sellers.
  • When representing sellers, for pricing and marketing conversations, we talk about how many homes they will be competing with. For buyers, we talk about how many homes will come on the market that will fit in their specific market segments.
  • For January, I’m working on a level-setting post: number of homes on the market, prices, days on the market, what may be hot (or cold) market segments, and a bit more. I generally write these to satisfy my own curiosity and hope that you find it interesting, too. 

For those looking to buy or sell next year — what questions do you have?

2024 coming at us like a freight train.

We knew it was coming. It still sucks. 

houses in a new neighborhood and a field before the new neighborhood was built
2023 vs 2019

And that’s okay. 

We bought our home in 2004. We’re still there. (“Move” is a four-letter word.) We knew the field where the road ends would one day be houses. We talked about it when we made the offer, knowing that the place where our dogs pooped would become a new neighborhood.

Welp, now that the road is open, and we are welcoming new pedestrians, bike riders, dogs, and fast cars, I’m glad that we knew it was coming. 

Despite my efforts to have the road opened to only people not in cars, and for Albemarle County to make a decision that worked to alter human movement patterns, the road is open. (They were walking/riding as soon as it was possible before the road was opened — why not try to encourage that?)

And I’m glad we knew. And it still sucks. And it’s great — more people walking, riding, and yes driving. And if the County ever actually builds the road they’ve been promising, it will be even more walkable and bikeable to downtown Crozet.

I’ve long written about how I represent my clients with professionalism, empathy, and shared experiences — marriage, job changes, kids, grandkids, aging parents, and now firsthand, having the adjacent property change use, altering our enjoyment of the home. Not worse, but different. Change is good.

Related stories: The Four Corners Principle and If You Don’t Own it, It’s Going to Change.

Loving what I do

I paid to renew my license the other day. $80 to the Commonwealth of Virginia. I guess I’m doing this for another couple of years.

6.5/7 days, I wake up, and I’m happy and grateful to do what I do — representing people buying or selling homes, guiding them as appropriate through significant, important, sometimes traumatic, life events. 

I’d like to think that loving what I do comes through in how I represent my clients; I’m always learning, always trying to do the right thing for my clients, and never ever feeling like I’m good enough at what I do to stop asking lots of questions — and I ask my clients to ask questions, too! 

The emotions of a home

Working on for next month: Every home buying or selling decision is filled with emotions. Knowing that, and knowing how and when to either work to pull them back, or allow them to build, is one of the unspoken, and untaught skills required (in my opinion) for effective representation.

Updating my thinking | Seeking Community

99% of my clients express some degree of, “we want to be part of something — a community, friends, etc.” 

A few examples: 

  • “We would like to be in a neighborhood with lots of kids, a good community vibe, sidewalks, ideally near walking trails, and with a sense of privacy would be great.
  • “So that we can feel settled and to establish ourselves within the community” 
  • “Walkability, community, access to trails, good schools, and “outdoorsy” culture” 
  • “Want to plant roots/sense of permanence/build community, ability to somewhat customize since we’ve been renting forever (for example: paint if we want), investment, and we’ve built up enough savings for a down payment.” 

I wrote the following in 2016, and I’ve evolved (I’d like to think that evolution is an improvement)

do care about my clients, but I care about their kids more. Here’s my explanation:

Years ago I had the humbling awareness of the gravity of the decisions my clients, with my guidance and advice, were making. One of my favorite parts of what I do (and one of the reasons that if I were to win the lottery big I’d still practice real estate) is helping clients buy a home and then representing them when they sell years later.

Often, in that time, kids happen and grow. The adults, as I say, tend to be reasonably intelligent and responsible people – tasked with making life decisions that will impact not only the rest of their lives but the lives of their kids as well. Their kids have no say in the matter and are entirely dependent on the adults making good decisions.

And that’s terrifying. For all of us. So I do care about you, I just recognize that the kids tend to matter more. Darn it.

After explaining my reasoning to a client recently, part of her response was

“Have a wonderful time coaching (soccer) today and thank you so much for taking the time to help me. Thank you for keeping my kids at the center of your attention!”

Yeah, that’s why I do what I do.

A few years after I wrote that I was talking to clients and they pushed back a bit on my thinking. “Yes, we love our kids and want them to be happy, but we want to be happy and have friends, too.”

Yep. I don’t think I was wrong, but my view was myopic. Maybe that was due to the particular life stage I was in.

Any guesses on what those icy patches represent? I have my guesses.

What I’m Reading

What I’m Listening To

All photos, as the substack ones above will die one day.