Crozet Master Plan (Finally) Approved – 2020 edition

How often do we do these? Every five years?

Onward.

Alison Wrabel at the Daily Progress reports: (make sure to read the whole thing)

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors late Wednesday night approved an updated Crozet Master Plan without a change recommended by the Planning Commission.

The Crozet community and county staff and officials began updating the Crozet Master Plan in 2019, which helps to guide decisions about land use, transportation and parks in the area.

The updated Master Plan is now part of Albemarle’s Comprehensive Plan, which guides the county’s long-term vision for land use and resource protection. County staff and supervisors look to the Comprehensive Plan as part of the rezoning process, but it is not law.

The process has been contentious, especially when it came to the potential for population growth and infrastructure issues around roads, schools and sidewalks in Crozet, which has seen its population increase from about 5,565 in 2010 to approximately 9,224 in 2020, according to census data.

During the Master Plan update process, some community members have taken issue in particular with a future land use designation called Middle Density Residential, which would allow for six to 12 housing units per acre on a site, or up to 18 units per acre to accommodate additional affordable housing.

According to the plan, the designation is to bridge the gap between single-family housing and multi-level apartment buildings, and would allow for small and medium multiplexes, small single-family cottages, bungalow or cottage courts, live/work units, accessory dwelling units and tiny houses.

From 2016

Echols said the current population of Crozet is around 6,000 and it is expected that will double by 2030. The master plan has a maximum population cap.

“The number that’s in the master plan is 18,000,” Echols said. “You have about 6,000 people right now and if you add another 6,000 to that, that’s 12,000. That’s our math.”

151/250 Roundabout Construction Begins

This will be fun.

Starting in October 2021, finishing in July 2022. I bet they finish early. (see the bottom of this post for graphic of the schedule)

via email

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON U.S. 250/RT. 151 ROUNDABOUT

Speed limit lowered to 25 mph through work zone at Afton, watch for workers and equipment

CULPEPER — Construction activity will begin next week on a roundabout at the intersection of Route 250 (Rockfish Gap Turnpike) and Route 151 (Critzer Shop Road). The project will improve safety and traffic flow at the busy intersection while managing vehicle speeds and correcting geometric deficiencies that have been identified as contributing factors in crashes at the intersection. 

Traffic flow through the current “T” intersection is controlled by a traffic signal that was installed in 2017 as a temporary measure along with flashers to warn traffic to slow in advance of the intersection. The roundabout will improve safety since all traffic must slow to enter the roundabout. In a roundabout traffic on the approaches must yield to vehicles in the roundabout.

During construction traffic will be maintained through the project although drivers may encounter some lane closures with traffic controlled by flaggers. Work will be limited to Monday through Friday, so weekend traffic will not be affected by construction activities. 

Information about the project is available on the Virginia Department of Transportation’s web site at: Albemarle Co. Design-Build Projects. That page also has a link to a graphic of the construction phases and lane alignments during each phase.

The speed limit on both U.S. 250 and Route 151 has been lowered to 25 miles per hour on the intersection approaches and through the work zone. Motorists should drive with extreme caution as they approach the construction project since workers may be near the travel lanes and slow-moving equipment and vehicles may enter or exit the travel lanes in the work zone.

The U.S. 250 / Route 151 roundabout project is one of six improvement projects in a $28.5 million design-build bundled contract with Curtis Contracting Inc., of West Point, Va. The U.S. 250 / Route 151 roundabout project will cost $4.8 million. The other projects include the interchange improvements at U.S. 29 and Interstate 64, Exit 118, improvements to the Fontaine Avenue exit from U.S. 29 north, and the Rio Mills connector road, all of which are substantially complete. 

The diverging diamond interchange on U.S. 250 at I-64 Exit 124 is under construction, as is a roundabout at Route 20 (Stony Point Road) and Route 649 (Proffit Road) in northern Albemarle County. The contract completion date for all six projects is February 2023.

Current traffic conditions and other real-time travel information can be found on the 511 Virginia website, the free VDOT 511 mobile app or by calling 511 from any phone in Virginia. VDOT updates are also on Facebook and the district’s Twitter account, @VaDOTCulp.


Continue reading “151/250 Roundabout Construction Begins”

October CCAC Recap – Transportation, Growth, etc

Lots of discussions at last week’s CCAC meeting; it was the first I’d been able to make in some time, and many of the conversation topics were familiar, if not the same as they have been discussing for some time.

Transportation updates, Crozet Master Plan is nearing approval from the Board of Supervisors, brief conversation on proffers for new developments in Albemarle County, touching on tax service districts, climate change and density and looking long-term.

Lots of important discussions that will eventually lead to substantive and tangible changes to the community. These meetings matter, but the ones that really matter are the Albemarle County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings.

(nextdoor is not a representation of community members 🙂 and I’d argue that the CCAC tries to be.)

Roster of CCAC members, meeting minutes, and more can be found at the County’s site

Note that the Albemarle Board of Supervisors Meeting with the Crozet Master Plan on the agenda is 20 October 2021 at 6pm. Find the agenda and meeting materials here.

Read all the tweets here

(I missed the last 15 minutes)

Watch the video


What’s a Master Plan, Zoning, Comp Plan?


And a City of Charlottesville -focused explainer thanks to Charlottesville Tomorrow.


PDFs

CCAC Meeting – 13 October 2021

via email (bolding mine) … I’m wondering if this will actually be a shorter-than-normal meeting. #CCAC1021

The October meeting of the Crozet CAC will be … Wednesday, October 13 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. We will take this opportunity to share and discuss ideas and suggestions for the next several months of CCAC meeting topics. I’m calling it “agenda planning and reflection,” as I received emails back with many good agenda ideas from committee members, and would like to open this to the group to discuss, as well as give staff and other experts more notice to prepare for future meeting invitations. It should be a shorter meeting than usual. Agenda and meeting details are posted here


Please also mark your calendar for the Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, October 20, which will include the public hearing for the final draft of the Crozet Master Plan. Instructions for participating and other details for that are here.


How to Participate in the Virtual Meeting

To participate online: 

To participate by telephone: 

  • Dial: 301-715-8592 or 833-548-0276
  • Webinar ID: 945 7178 2297 

Official minutes will be posted at Albemarle County’s page.

Continue reading “CCAC Meeting – 13 October 2021”

Crozet Master Plan Inches Along – Public Hearing 20 October 2021

via email (click through to read the whole thing)

Upcoming Board of Supervisors Public Hearing — Read the Plan, Attend the Public Hearing, and Share Your Feedback Since September 2019, Albemarle County has been exploring, alongside the Crozet community, how to best reflect the community’s vision for the future of Crozet in the latest update to the Crozet Master Plan.

The Crozet Master Plan includes five chapters: Introduction, Transportation, Land Use, Conservation, and Implementation.

Over the summer, community members shared feedback on earlier drafts of the Master Plan through an online questionnaire, at virtual Crozet Community Advisory Committee meetings, and in-person at community pop-ups. A public hearing with the Albemarle County Planning Commission was held last month.

The latest draft Master Plan incorporates comments and feedback shared over the summer. The current draft will be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors at a public hearing on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 6 pm. 

Review the draft online
Calendar Event _1_.pngUpcoming Board of Supervisors Public Hearing 

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 at 6 pm   You may sign up to comment at the public hearing and/or share your comments directly to Rachel Falkenstein, Planning Manager [email protected]  

Crozet Transportation Update – October 2021

Reading Sean Tubbs’ Week Ahead, and there is quite a bit that affects not just Albemarle, but Crozet specifically. You really should read the whole thing.

But knowing that most people care about what affects them directly, I looked at the Transportation Update and looked for “Crozet.”

Under the following headings in this report.

“The following projects have been discussed as possible 2022 Smart Scale applications by either Albemarle County or the TJPDC:”

#21. Crozet Ave/US 250 West Intersection Improvements – This intersection was identified in the Crozet Area Transportation Study and ongoing Master Plan update as currently experiencing failing movements and significant failure in the future. However, it should be noted that this priority ranking was set prior to that Study which showed that the more serious issue in this segment of 250 is the Old Trail/WAHS/US 250 intersection. It is staff’s recommendation that it would be more effective to address that intersection prior to the Crozet Ave intersection. A two-lane roundabout at both the WAHS/Old Trail/250 intersection and the Brownsville-Henley entrance are recommended to address the issues in this segment.

The results of the Smart Scale Projects submitted in 2020 which were approved with the Six-Year Improvement Program at the Commonwealth Transportation Board July include the following projects:

#82. I-64/Exit 107 Crozet Park and Ride Lot: This project will construct a park and ride lot at the corner of Patterson Mill Lane and US 250 just south of the I-64 interchange. This lot could potentially be served by both the Crozet Connect and the proposed Afton Express transit lines.

2017 Applications

  • Crozet Square – This project will reconstruct Crozet Square and Oak St to improve traffic flow and parking. Engineering and design phase are underway, heading into right-of-way phase; and construction is planned to begin mid-2022.
  • Library Avenue Extension – Staff has been working closely with the private developer designing this project and VDOT through the engineering and design phase. This has involved numerous public and project team meetings to determine design requirements that meet VDOT standards. The project team is in the process of finalizing design, and the Right of Way phase will begin soon. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022.

Crozet Master Plan

Staff has been working on the update to the Crozet Master Plan. This quarter, the transportation study performed in association with the Master Plan was completed, and the recommendations were incorporated into the draft Master Plan. Staff also assisted in the public meetings to discuss these recommendations with the community and the Planning Commission. The draft Crozet Master Plan document was finalized, and a public hearing was held with the Planning Commission on September 14. The Board of Supervisors public hearing will be held October 20.


  • Barnes Lumber development and Library Ave design – Staff continues to attend meetings with County officials, VDOT, and developers of the Barnes Lumber related to the Library Avenue Extension Project, the proposed development of the property, and necessary traffic improvements.
  • ZMA202000005 Old Dominion Village – Review of the proposal and transportation aspects/impacts of this Neighborhood Model rezoning in Crozet.
  • ….
  • SP202000016 Claudius Crozet Park – Staff is reviewing the proposed redevelopment of the Crozet Park Recreational facilities to add an expanded exercise facility and improved pool and associated resources.

Continue reading “Crozet Transportation Update – October 2021”

Brownsville & Crozet Redistricting Process Begins (2021)

I’ve started adding the year to some of these stories because we’ve had these discussions before.

I said in 2019

If you don’t have kids, please get involved, as school quality and perceived school quality affects property values. If you do have kids, get aware and involved. Even if your kids are little now, they’re going to grow up. I’m happy to talk our schools’ perceived quality about property values offline.


via the excellent Katherine Knott at the Daily Progress

(read the whole thing, and the bolding below is mine)

The Albemarle County school division will start figuring out this week how to move hundreds of students from Brownsville to Crozet Elementary.

A 10-person community advisory committee will lead the first phase of that redistricting effort, which will include two public meetings in November. The school division is aiming for the School Board to make a final decision about the two schools’ boundaries in January, so it can start working with the affected families.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearby Brownsville Elementary had nearly 900 students while the building’s capacity was 764. At Crozet, enrollment was up to 360 students, 30 more than the building’s capacity.

The committee will hold its first virtual work session Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Additional work sessions are scheduled for Oct. 12, Oct. 26 and Nov. 16, all starting at 6 p.m. Meetings can be viewed at streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/publicmeeting.html.

Virtual public meetings to hear community input will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 and Nov. 9.

Crozet Park’s Expanded Facility Doesn’t Threaten Crozet’s “Greenspace”

via email from Joe Fore

The Crozet Park’s proposal for an expanded recreational facility goes back before the Planning Commission this Tuesday, September 28, at 6 pm. (Meeting information here.) I support this amended plan, and I hope others do, too. (For the record, I’m not affiliated with the Park in any way—just a Crozetian who spends a lot of time there with my preschooler.)

The Park’s initial proposal did, indeed, raise many issues—from parking to construction traffic to loss of tree cover to noise levels—and the revised proposal has made numerous changes that mitigate or eliminate the vast majority of the community’s concerns. So I think this is actually a terrific example of the Park and the community working together: neighbors raised legitimate issues, and the developer took them seriously and used that feedback to improve the project. Aside from the Downtown Crozet Plaza, that kind of collaboration is rare in Crozet. It should be a model for other projects.

I’d encourage everyone to see for themselves the Park’s presentation, which details the current plan and the revisions they’ve made in response to community members’ concerns. (As just one example, I was originally upset that the plan would eliminate the small playground just to the south of the pool. The revised plan addresses that by adding a brand-new playground just to the west of the facility building.)

Online, some Crozetians have opposed the project because, in their view, it would result in a loss of “greenspace.” After looking at the revised plan, I wanted to briefly respond to their specific points.

(1) The proposal doesn’t meaningfully “reduce existing greenspace”

Yes, it’s true that this proposal would increase the amount of concrete in the Park, but it’s not a huge increase—compared to the overall Park land. The Park’s presentation (p. 8) notes that buildings would go from taking up 1.6% of the Park’s total land to 4.6%. Sidewalks and parking lots would go from about 10% to 12.5% of the park’s total area. So, overall, the project would increase the Park’s hardscape from about 12.5% of the Park’s total land to about 17%. But more than 80% of the Park would remain “open space” and athletic fields.

More importantly, though, it’s not as if they are clear-cutting forest or building on undeveloped land to do this. Consider what’s currently on the land where they propose to build the facility: A recreation center, pool, parking lots, roads, playground, and trees. And what does the Park propose for that site? A larger recreation center, pool, parking lots, roads, playground, and trees. To be sure, not all of those replacement trees will be mature; they’ll take time to grow. And, yes, we’ll lose a bit of grassy field—though in a part of the park that folks hardly use. But it’s not fair to equate this with other kinds of new development that we’ve seen in Crozet—like the clearing of virgin forest to build neighborhoods.

Lastly, a quick point about the trees: while the project will require removing some trees, the project will actually result in a net gain of 150 trees. Page 10 of the report notes that they will have to remove 44 trees; but they are planting 194 new ones to replace the ones lost and to create a visual buffer.

(2) “Greenspace” doesn’t just mean “open land”

As some have correctly noted, Crozet Park is currently designated as “Greenspace.” But “Greenspace” is a bit of a misnomer; that designation isn’t reserved for vacant, untouched forest or natural areas. Even under the 2010 Master Plan, the “Greenspace” category included both “environmental features, “open space,” and “privately owned park and recreational areas which may be active or passive.

Moreover, the updated Crozet Master Plan (page 13) clarifies this somewhat confusing category and replaces “Greenspace” with two separate designations: “Green Systems” and “Public Land.” “Green systems” are what we typically think of as “greenspace,” and it includes “sensitive environmental features,” “privately-owned open space,” and “natural areas.” But Crozet Park is designated as “Public Land,” which is intended for “active, passive, or social recreational use.” Indeed, the Plan specifically says that while such land should contain few buildings, “community serving uses such as public recreational amenities can be considered.” That’s exactly what this project is.

(3) The proposal doesn’t reduce recreational opportunities; it increases them

Some commenters have noted, correctly, that the Crozet Master Plan’s Conservation section emphasizes enhancing “outdoor recreation.” But (a) the proposed facility doesn’t decrease outdoor recreation opportunities, and (b) outdoor recreation is not the only type of recreation we need in the area.

First, the proposed facility doesn’t diminish Crozetian’s opportunity for outdoor recreation. The proposed facility is being built on the sparsely used western side of the park. I’m at the park several times per week with my preschooler. We specifically play and practice our bicycle riding on that side of the park because there’s rarely anyone there. The proposed facility won’t disturb the walking trail, the soccer fields, the baseball fields, the basketball courts, the pickle ball courts, the dog park, or the large playground, and it will retain a smaller playground in the area. So where are we losing opportunities for outdoor recreation?

Second, while the Master Plan’s Conservation chapter emphasizes outdoor recreation, that’s not the only type of recreation we need. Sure, outdoor recreation is great when the weather is warm and sunny. But what about rainy days—or the entire months of December, January, and February, when the weather is often too cold to play outside for long periods? (Of course, kids can bundle up and do some things, but it’s pretty tough to play basketball in gloves and a ski coat.)

Moreover, the facility will be more than a pool and a gym: it will be an important community gathering place. For example, the Park Board has noted that the facility will allow for greatly expanded after-school programs for kids–something that’s sorely lacking in our area.

These kinds of amenities are desperately needed in Crozet. And where would be a better place to build them? On some undeveloped open space elsewhere in town? On some currently wooded area that we’d have to clear-cut? Clearly, the least-disruptive place to put a new recreation center is right where there is already a recreation center.


While there may be minor things we can quibble with at this point, the overall plan is sound, and I hope that others will attend the planning commission meeting and support this important project.


Continue reading “Crozet Park’s Expanded Facility Doesn’t Threaten Crozet’s “Greenspace””

Crozet Park Proposed Huge Addition

via email

The Crozet Park Developer continues to pursue changes in the zoning rules that will allow them to build a for profit athletic center in a public park. What the developer proposes is not a building compatible with the location or surrounding neighborhoods – rather the complex is a way out of scale for the field in which it is proposed. In fact, the athletic center is more comparable to the Harris Teeter on Rte. 250 with all of its parking then any building in a 22 acre park should be.

The developer is requesting that it be granted the right to add more traffic on the local roads that are already over taxed and acknowledge what changes to the roads will have to done will be determined after it has this right.


The developer is asking for a zoning exemption to build its building closer to neighboring properties than is allowed. The developer justifies its position not by accommodating the required setback but, instead by changing the measuring points without regard to how it impacts the rights of the adjacent neighbors.


The developer’s proposal includes the intention to buy Nutrient credits rather than deal with Storm Water run-off created by its elimination of green space even though this was a specific criticism of its earlier submission.


The developer’s presentation includes new charts and renderings that rely on exceptional artistic license and appears to circumvent the criticisms raised by the Planning Commission who disapproved the proposal in March 2021.


The Planning Staff issued a point by point criticism of the project in March based on the comments from the Planning Commissioners which the developer has avoided addressing directing. On the following pages is an annotated version of the complete text of the Commission’s March comments.

Read the PDF Here.

THIS LETTER FROM THE COUNTY OMITS STRONG COMMISSIONER COMMENTS REGARDING THE LACK OF OUTREACH BY THE PARK TO COMMUNICATE WITH ITS NEIGHBORS.


THE PARK HAS NOT ASKED TO MEET WITH THE PARKSIDE VILLAGE BOARD OR RESIDENTS OF HILLTOP STREET.


Important Disclosure: I live in the neighborhood adjacent to Crozet Park. I have my opinions about the project, but I’ll not share them here.

Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival – Fall 2021 – 9 & 10 October

via email:

CROZET, VA Over 120 Artists and Exhibitors are coming back to Crozet Park for the 41st Annual Crozet Fall Arts and Crafts Festival! Recognized as one of the region’s leading fine arts and craft shows, the Crozet Arts & Craft Festival will be held rain or shine Saturday and Sunday, October 9th and 10th from 10 am to 5:30 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday.
 
Safety is a priority for this socially-distanced, outdoor event. The Festival will implement COVID safety protocols, such as social distancing markers and additional hand sanitizing stations. The outdoor festival grounds and parking areas at Crozet Park allow for artists and patrons plenty of room for social distancing.
 
Artists: Top artists from across the country vied to be a part of the 41st bi-annual Crozet Art & Craft Festival on Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day weekend. From a large pool of creative candidates, a panel of talented and professional artist jurors chose the best in each arts category. Many new artists will join the seasoned and returning favorites of the past.

This year’s exhibitors will bring to Crozet an array of stunning jewelry, trendsetting apparel and leather, magnificent artwork, photography and exceptionally crafted glass, ceramics, sculpture, and more. Festival guests will find something for almost every taste and pocketbook, ranging from affordable gift giving to heirloom investments.

Music: The festival’s fine arts and crafts will be complemented by a variety of types and styles of popular local musicians playing throughout the days. On Saturday we welcome Driftwood Radio, The Skyline Country Cloggers, Wicked Olde, and The Sweet Potatoes. Performing on Sunday are Victoria Lee, Orta Vez, and Jackson Cunningham.
 
Food & Beer: An appetizing selection of Food Trucks will be complemented by beer from Starr-Hill Brewery and Three Roads Brewing Company and wine from Stinson Vineyards and Kings Family Vineyards. 
 
Kids’ Area: The children’s area includes beloved musical guests Kim and Jimbo Cary, crafts with The Hive, balloon animals, and more! 

Crozet Park treats exhibitors and guests to a most relaxing, accessible setting. Located just off the Route 64 bypass, take exit #107 west of Charlottesville by 20 minutes, Crozet Park is a beautiful, community-owned non-profit park that is the beneficiary of these Art Festival Events.

Volunteering for Crozet Park Art & Craft Festival is easy and fun with sign ups at: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0e48a4af2ea75-crozet12

Tickets are $7 and children under 12 are free. Our event is pet-friendly! Everyone is encouraged to purchase their ticket online this year ahead of time to help with Covid safety. Tickets are available at: https://buytickets.at/crozetartsandcraftsfestival
Parking is free. 

For more information please visit https://www.crozetfestival.com/
Ewa Harr is the current director of the event. 

It’s going to be interesting to see how the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival evolves and grows when the Crozet Park growth plans are underway.