A couple days ago, I posted a story on the RealCrozetVA facebook page linking to a story written by Neil Williamson with the Free Enterprise Forum titled, ‘Snob Zoning’ Crozet Master Plan in the Works?
Read. What are your thoughts on a volunteer group re-writing the Crozet Master Plan?
“Perhaps the question should be “After millions of dollars of planning and infrastructure spending, should Crozet residents be allowed to stifle population and economic growth by hijacking the master planning process?”
We’ve recently learned such a plan is in the works. And it is a bad idea. Please let me explain.”
An interesting discussion ensued, and I offered (as I have for 10 years) this page to anyone who wanted to write a rebuttal. So far, only Tom Loach has taken the time to do so. Thanks, Tom.
One thing that I’ll set forth (again, and I shouldn’t have to as most of you are reasonable adults). If you want to discuss this, do so thoughtfully. Agree/disagree – fine. Emotionally – fine. Nasty – not fine. From here on out, I’ll be more liberal with my block/delete powers both here and on the Facebook page. 🙂 We’re neighbors. Most of us are nice.**
The floor is Tom’s* –
Since Mr. Duncan has welcomed responses to Neil Williamson’s article and since I’m the person Mr. Williamson seems to have the most problem with I thought I should respond, first to Mr. Williamson and then to some of the responses on the Facebook page.
To start with Mr. Williamson is incorrect when he states the community is re-writing the Master Plan. What we’re going to do is to update the Master Plan. The reason for the update is
- The Master Plan was scheduled to be updated in 2015, but the county told us they don’t have the money to do it. We’re now told it may be 2018 before the county gets around to it.
- Obviously with some of the more recent development issues there is clear evidence that the plan needs to be updated as soon as possible to insure a number of clarifications are made so there is no ambiguity in the language.
As for Mr. Williamson’s quote from me “he could not ever see a circumstance where he would vote in favor of a project that the CCAC did not support”, italics and bolding courtesy of Mr. Williamson, I can only respond by saying “YES”, I said it and the reason I said it is because I have explicit trust in my neighbors who have volunteered their time and talents to Crozet to make the right decisions.
Mr. Williamson then goes on to state “I cannot recall a single Crozet development project that he supported during his years on the Planning Commission.” (No italics and bolding this time). I have to admit Mr. Williamson is correct that to the best of my knowledge I didn’t vote for a single development in Crozet.
Of course the reason for that is they didn’t need to be voted on since they were compliant with the Crozet Master Plan and were not called up before the planning commission. This includes Clover Lawn, Liberty Hall, Wickham Pond I and II, Wayland’s Grant, Bargamin Park, Waylands Grant, Foot Hill Crossing just to name a few.
I won’t go into the Adelaide application except to say that I if I was still on the planning commission I would have voted against it and at the board had it gone to a vote it would have been defeated and I’m sure most of you in Crozet know why.
Mr. Williamson states “The reality is the CCAC is opposed to density in the development area that is critical to achieve the philosophical goals of the Comprehensive Plan.” The fact is the community of Crozet accepted a change in population from 2,500 to slightly over 12,000 and has done so by approving some of highest density developments in the County. I’m willing to bet good money that mile for mile Crozet has more developments that meet the criteria for the Neighborhood Model than any other development area in the county.
Finally, Mr. Williamson wrote “The question then becomes if Crozet wants to preserve its small town charm and restrict population growth – when (and how) will they pay Albemarle County back for the $29 million taxpayer dollars expended over the last six years to make it a desirable development area?”. Only problem here is the fact that Crozet is not trying to restrict growth, rather actually find out what the build out population of Crozet is. In the original work done by consultants hired by the county, they came out with the “Ideal Maximum Population” for Crozet to be 12,198.
Several years later, without explanation, the county told us the build out population was 24,000 only to be told later the population number is somewhere between 15,000 and 18,000. It seems reasonable that if we’re going to update the Master Plan we need to know just what the number is and how that number was arrived at.
What Mr. Williamson really fears is not just the community of Crozet’s Community Advisory Council (CCAC), but the potential of the all of the county’s other Community Advisory Councils to work in concert.
As for responses from the public to the Facebook posting by Mr. Duncan with regard to infrastructure spending, I think someone will have to do some digging to get the real figures.
Then you have to find out how much of the spending came from federal and state grants vs. that from county taxpayers. This is not to mention that when it comes to sewer and water spending, all of us in Crozet pay for both each month.
Either way, since it was the county’s consultants who gave Crozet the build out population of 12,198 I would assume that the money spent was that which was needed to support that population. As for schools, another good reason to update the master plan to determine the status of our school population and make predictions for the future based on growth factors. Speaking of long term planning, some have suggested that we need a 50 year or longer plan. I’m not sure if that’s true due to the fact that Crozet sits in the County’s watershed protection area and there has been a principle of the board not to allow additional development or consider growth area expansion.
(bolding by Jim) Again, the real question is, what is the appropriate build out population for Crozet is and when is it predicted, based on growth data that we will arrive at that number. Only when we have that number can we make the appropriate changes to the Master Plan to accommodate the expected growth.
Finally, to Randy Robert and Jayson Johnson I would just say you haven’t been around this community long enough to really know its people. I sincerely believe that families self select to live in Crozet, not just because they like the look of a home, but because they want to be part of small town in the country.
This is a community that has now fought for over 20 years to maintain that feeling and I don’t see us throwing in the towel any time soon.
*I edited the above to correct a couple misspellings, and to add line breaks where I thought appropriate. I shared with Tom for his approval before publishing.
**(even those of you in 22901 and not 22932) 🙂 I kid. Lighten up.
Update 3 October 2016: Rebuttal/response #2 to the Snob Zoning story, this one from the small business perspective.