Claudius Place Elevations – Public Comment Wanted

I’m posting these without much comment as I wanted to get them up today. The developer, Katurah Roell, has asked for Crozetians’ comments, thoughts, insights on these designs.

As I am fond of saying, speak now or forever hold your peace*

Claudius Place color southern elevation

I suggest downloading the PDFs directly:

Claudius Place Northeast Elevation
Claudius Place West & South Elevations
Crozet Place South & West Elevations
Claudius Place Site Plan
Color Crozet Square “Bubble Plan

Or see them on Scribd:

Claudius Place Site Plan

East Elevation
East Elevations

* In other words, if you don’t take the time to involve yourself now, your credibility is limited when you complain after the fact.


Update from Drew Lawrence – Business Development and Marketing Coordinator – Piedmont Virginia Companies :

1) The site plan itself (the PDF file) only shows the site plan for Claudius Place – it’s the only parcel that shows details, etc… the other parcels are shown on the site plan as references, not as part of the specific site. The 3D model, however, shows a VERY conceptual look at the plan for the entire lumber yard, as was submitted to the county in order to go through the re-zoning process. Obviously the submission wasn’t a 3D model, but the 3D model helps to give some perspective.

2) Re: communication between the developer of Claudius Place and the developer of the lumber yard. Piedmont Development Group is the developer of Claudius Place. We hope to close on the lot next week or early the following week and are the contract owner. The entire lumber yard is still owned by Barnes Lumber and they have contracted w/ Piedmont Development Group to get them through the re-zoning process, etc… to make the parcel more attractive to a prospective purchaser. The hope is that Piedmont Development Group becomes that purchaser and develops the entire project from start to finish, however the property is still for sale and anyone could come in and write a contract. To that end, yes, currently, since it’s the same people, we are talking to each other and have a common strategy. However, the possibility does exist that someone else could come in and buy the lumber yard and go in a different direction. This is something that is completely out of our control.

3) The continuity/connectivity piece of it is addressed in the rezoning application so that it does all flow together. We are very aware of those needs and the plan calls for the road to have bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the street. As I believe you mentioned while live tweeting the CCAC meeting, we can’t confirm that until after VDOT goes through the traffic study and tells us what is required, etc..

4) It is a huge goal of ours to enhance the sense of community for Crozet- the public has voiced the need and we want to fill that need. No one wants to build something no one likes because, as 1 of the other commenters mentioned, then no one would lease/buy the space.

5) We haven’t gotten to the point where a landscaping plan has been created, however, as 1 of our goals is to be environmentally conscious, I anticipate that we will be right on target with what the poster requests. This is why it’s also important for us to get feedback as we move forward. We will also be doing things like using pervious pavers, looking at the opportunities to use green roofs, utilizing the natural topo of the site to put parking under buildings so as to not have massive parking lots, bike racks, etc..

6) I’ll have to get back to you on the HVAC and roofing. I’m sure I’ll be able to get the answer for Claudius Place, but as far as for the entire project that hasn’t been decided, as there are many different types and sizes of buildings.

7) To address 1 of the points made by another commenter, it’s disappointing to me that some would think that any comment on design and use at this point would be useless. If that was the case I wouldn’t spend my time looking for feedback. We don’t do it just to placate people. We took the feedback from the CCAC meeting and incorporated it directly into the plan for Claudius Place. We actually used more feedback that we got from the CCAC than we did from the ARB. We sometimes can lose sight of the fact that we do this day in, day out, every day. Getting feedback from the community helps us make the design better. It’s like going to the doctor. He might be able to tell you something is wrong, but can’t tell you what is wrong unless you give him information to help make a diagnosis. We want and need feedback to help build a project that Crozet will appreciate, not resent. While we won’t be able to make everyone happy no matter what we do, we do aim to be able to explain our decisions, etc… We realize that Claudius Place doesn’t exist in a vacuum and the decision we make regarding it don’t either.

8) If the community doesn’t want the structure then I encourage them to give that feedback. So far we have received much more positive feedback than negative, but it’s important to hear both sides. Not only as it pertains to this specific piece or project, but in terms of the entire county wide comp. plan. I know that Supervisor Mallek is very receptive to that kind of feedback, esp. since the county is revisiting all of the master plans over the coming months. If it’s re: Claudius Place or the re-zoning application I’m more than happy to meet with and talk to anyone that has concerns and would like to meet. If it’s about growth in general, I encourage those folks to reach out to Ann.

9) It’s currently an empty road b/c it’s the 1st piece of improving connectivity and the BOS adopted Master Plan calls for more connecting streets, etc… which can be seen application plan for re-zoning. Will it take time to all happen? Yes, no question. It won’t happen overnight.

10) In regards to the resembling architecture of the 50s – I appreciate the feedback, but am clearly looking at it through a certain set of eyes that came up with that design. I would love to hear if people had some other suggestions as to what they would like to see. Feedback that criticizes but doesn’t propose different/better ideas makes it hard for us to make changes that the community wants b/c we don’t have anything to work with other than ‘we don’t like that, do something different’.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or comments and thanks serving as a conduit between us and the citizens of Crozet!

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16 Replies to “Claudius Place Elevations – Public Comment Wanted”

  1. What exactly is the overall vision here?  Any plan should think of the future of Crozet as a whole, as this will be a central piece?  A commenter said it best in describing the architecture as a 1950’s elementary school.  Do we not want architecture that amplifies the country, and natural, qualities of Crozet?

    1. 1950’s elementary school is about right.  If it were my money I would build it to suit me.

  2. Any comment on design and use at this point would useless. The self appointed “Smart Growth” experts have hijacked the process and do not allow for opinons outside of the “Sustainable Village” model they promote. This project is ugly and does not reflect the small town feel of Crozet. How can someone get behind this mismatch of glass and brick and oppose the homey feel of Re-Store-n-Station. My take on all of this is that since the effort to tear down and replace the core of Crozet on rt240 failed, it is the determination that the Greenies just build around it and hope to dry up commerce there and than take it over by defalt. Surprize! Locals are waking up. Beware of the sleeping giant. Build your empty dream and see what comes of it. (more empty shops)

    1. What gets me is the Language that is used to do this whole trick. Scream
      “Community” as you tear down one. With some rents doubling in Crozet
      empty shops are a real possiblity. Why would a person move to an area like Crozet and expect bike lanes and pedestrian malls?  Sustainable
      Village? The number of  jobs lost in Crozet renders this model useless…
      This developer has more leverage than he imagines. With this empty street just sitting there I expect the county will not block any version of this or even a cosmic flea market.

      1. A person would move to Crozet and expect bike lanes and pedestrian malls because it is no longer 1950.  Con-Agra left a long time ago because they could not make a profit operating the plant. Times change. If you don’t like the design, go to the planning commission meetings

        1. 1950’s have nothing to do with it. If you require urban trappings to exist it would make sense to move to an urban area. Or, does it makes sense to you that the area
          should be rebuilt to what you like at taxpayer expense?
          If you actually like the 1950’s design you should express
          your feelings at the planning commission meetings.
          I still can not believe how ignorant this developer is.
          To get something built on this empty road they would
          allow almost anything…

    2. It would be useless if they were trying to build a Re’N’Store – thankfully they’re not.  They’re asking for the community’s input so that the design and construction go along with what the community feels it needs/wants.  This is exactly what the DQ did, and did a good job of.  Whatever the results, you’re the outlier, they’re not gonna make you happy.

      The failure of replacing the core on 240 is due to a poor economy,  lack of funds, and miss/poor management by the owners and developers.  They’re separate entities and have nothing to do with each other and even less to do with the Greenies.

      I do think you’re right about over development in the area.  There is a lot of commercial space and i don’t feel it will all be filled without more population growth. There are going to be empty store fronts – probably both in the older buildings and newer buildings – and probably a lot of fluctuating rents.  From what I’be been told, the reason a lot of the businesses along 240/IGA shopping center have moved is because the landlords are asking too much for rent, the paring is bad, and the buildings old.

      1. When you say the “community” was involved with the DQ
        construction do you mean actual people or the unelected, self-
        appointed few?  The cost of doing business in Crozet is being
        pushed to the point that it will no longer make sense. What planning is involved when you build tract housing without infrastructure? Empty streets without demand?  DQ is way over
        built for a convenience store.  It will take quite some time for
        the money and materials to be recouped. Maybe one of the reasons Va. Oil sold out.  On the subject of “Community” if the
        “Community” did not want this structure would the developer
        just leave??

  3. Jim, just want to make sure I’m clear on what I’m looking at here.  It appears that the site plan includes the surrounding area.  However, the project we’re talking about  is just the Claudius Place building going across the street from the hypothetical library building?

    What sort of communication has this developer had with the developers of the lumber yard?  Do they have a common strategy.  One of my big complains with the housing developments is their lack of continuity/connectivity.  There still aren’t roads, bridges, trails, and sidewalks connecting a lot of the neighborhoods.  I’d like to see the future developments in our area have flowing vehicular and foot traffic patterns.  It’s not just the infrastructure, it’s also the sense of community, it seems that we have a lot of exclusive neighborhoods, not inclusive neighborhoods (not money-sense of community); better infrastructure would build a bigger/better community.  This will be especially important with the tracks separating this development from 240.

    It also would be great to see a common (throughout the entire area) landscaping  theme that utilized low water and native species.  There’s nothing worse than driving into a big parking lot on a sunny day without trees or tiny trees that don’t provide shade.  I’d love to see some oaks, rebuds, dogwoods.  Please no more  Bradford Pears or Japanese Maples.

    And I’d like to know what HVAC and roofing systems they’re looking.

  4. You answered alot of questions with beautiful language but, to think that you went before an unelected board with limited numbers of people in attendance
    and know how a community feels is self serving at best. If you actually have the money, go for it. But, lets stop making believe that it is anything other than a business deal…  Marketing Coordinator and unelected boards. This area really knows how to draw them in.

    1. I’m pretty tired of your complaints about an “unelected board”. The CCA was properly appointed by the BOS. They are, consequently, authorized by the BOS and have the required validity to take the action entrusted to them. Quit ragging on the volunteers in this community who are trying to do good.

      1. They are appointed rather than elected, that makes them unelected.  The only reason the school board is elected now rather than appointed is because people stood up and did not
        want their views forced on them. You want to get a group together to promote your views, fine. Claiming to represent a community without the elected endorsement of that community is simply not right. One day we might get someone
        on the BOS that is actually interested in taking care of the needs of their district rather than passing her duties on to whoever
        wants them.  I’m not quite sure what you mean by “trying to do

  5. I have concerns about the scale
    of this development in relation to the other structures that are (or will be)
    near the site. The library will be a rather large building with a decent amount
    of brick. This proposal features the same with only limited facade definition.
    Beyond the infrastructure questions already mentioned, this does not include
    usable space for outdoor furniture to allow people to sit outside if needed and
    other considerations that would make this appealing to businesses. Now, this is
    what I can see only from looking at the site plans which were rather fuzzy when
    I opened them.

    That being said, I really do
    have concerns about a development like this that looks so generic. There are
    hundreds of places where you see buildings like this in the area. Crozet
    deserves something in keeping with the scale and massing already in place in
    buildings like the Blue Goose etc. For examples of what I’m talking about, look
    at old photos when the movie theater was still around.


Something to say?