Notes from the 1 February Downtown Crozet Initiative Meeting

I’m sharing these here for archives/posterity/searchability sake. The next meeting is Thursday, March 3, at Crozet Library. Thanks to the DCI folks for sending me these notes!

Via email:

DCI (Downtown Crozet Initiative) Meeting Notes
Monday, Feb. 1, 2016
Crozet Library

Mary Beth Bowen
Michael Johnson
Terry Hogan
Beth Basset
Tim Tolson
Dave Stoner
Frank Stoner
Lisa Goehler
June Andrews
Rebecca Deaton

Frank Stoner Re-zoning and Special Use Permit Update and Plaza Sizing Discussion

Frank gave some background on the prior zoning application, two public meetings and public engagement process, current plans for upcoming revised re-zoning application for Phase 1.  Shared maps and plans attached.

Presented two alternate road plans for the Phase 1.  “Square” one is if adjacent landowner consents to road alignment, “round” one is if not.  They have been in touch but no agreement yet.  Plans to show both in zoning re-application since unsure at this stage.

Frank indicated the County didn’t want him to show Phase II details in the application at this time since it wasn’t the subject of this zoning.  He also indicated he is working on a separate SUP or rezoning for the balance of the property which would allow for other uses he, the County and the community may want to see on the Barnes property, to shorten future permitting timelines if an acceptable business wishes to locate there.

Milestone will proffer to donate to the County or a community group (Crozet Park? or other to be named) an area for the new square.  Concerned about County’s ability or willingness to take on maintenance so prefers a community group.  Area could range from 28,000 to 45,000 sf (~1/2 to 1 acre) including green areas and road/hardscape as shown with a minimum of “contiguous” park/plaza area in that block of ~16,000 sf.  Wants to present range as final uses and design will really determine what the correct size is to suit the use and design.

As an example showed 2 areas of Court Square 21,000 sf and 12,000 as shown just to give folks ideas about size vs areas we know.  Also showed the prior several examples of different size squares in other localities to get a feel for that range.

The group generally thought that seemed acceptable.  Dave commented he thought a “minimum of 16,000 sf” might be not received well as it could be viewed as too small although Frank indicated that was the minimum “contiguous area excluding roads etc”, so folks thought that in combination with the overall range that might be good.

Dave commented other issues that would be important in any proffer was not only the size of the space, but the condition/quality of improvement it was to be handed over in, and also if there was any other financial contribution the developer might be willing to make to the budget for square improvements.

Frank indicated he was hoping to get the re-zoning process started with an application along these lines this week.

Frank also mentioned his inspiration regarding public space while visiting NYC last weekend with the family and getting snowed in and seeing the “community” that came together in Central Park.  Look for that on the DCI website.

Dialogue + Design Proposal

Not many folks had reviewed the proposal for Dialogue and Design to do some ongoing work in support of the DCI.  Some agreed with the potential need for some ongoing support work, but questioned how to proceed since we have no $.  Tim thought it might be premature given where we were plus budget concerns.  Terry said she had some expertise and may be willing to do a similar scope.

Grants and Application Assistance

Dave presented a summary of potential grant opportunities that might be use to fund design or implementation work on the plaza, plus a cover sheet with some issues to discuss.  (attached)  This tracking system was something discussed previously by CCAC (Susan Munson and Dave Stoner volunteered to do that) as maybe being useful to target funds for Master Plan related projects.

Dave suggested we needed to put together an informational package describing the Plaza Project, benefits of a public/private partnership, benefits of the Project to the Community, timing, etc as a means of ensuring the CCA and others are comfortable with the DCI starting to chase funding for the design of the Plaza.  Some discussion was had about that but the group generally agreed we should do that.  Dave said he’d take a stab at it and several folks volunteered to assist/review.

We then discussed one grant – Green Streets – from Chesapeake Bay Trust (see attached for further info), which could provide funds to use toward design work on the Plaza.  Frank indicated Milestone would fund design work initially but thought it would be better if it was cooperatively funded between Milestone and the community (e.g. via such grants).  Folks generally thought it was a reasonable effort to undertake and several folks agreed to assist in writing, editing etc.  Issue is a March 3 filing date, ahead of the next CCA meeting which could be problematic if we were seeking CCA agreement to chase such grants.  Tim suggested CCA could hold a special meeting in late Feb to specifically discuss the grant chasing effort generally and this Grant application specifically.  Dave agreed to investigate grant further, organize folks willing to help, and revert to Tim in the next week or so if it still looked reasonable to chase.  Also discussed the topic that we may need a 501c3 org to be the grant applicant and CCA isn’t that – so may need another organization to be that (e.g. maybe Crozet Board of Trade or other?)

We also discussed the VDHCD Industrial Revitalization Fund which the County thought might be worthwhile chasing, but were seeking help in preparing an application.  Again folks seemed interested in pursuing but agreed we’d see where we got to with the green Streets application and CCA concurrence first.

Also discussed the Main Street program a bit as something we should look into further but nothing was decided.

Next Meeting: Thursday, March 3, at Crozet Library


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