Master Gardener Events on Zoom

Bev emailed me asking if I’d do a story about this Master Gardener event series, “In this time of COVID, many have turned to gardening as one of the ways to enjoy the outdoors, reduce stress and reap concrete rewards for the work.”

She obliged my request for her to write one I could publish. 🙂

by Bev Thierwechter

Every year, the Piedmont Master Gardeners Association, in partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension, train a new group of people interested in learning how to become an Extension Master Gardener volunteer educator.

Avid gardeners who wish to enhance their skills and share their knowledge as community educators are invited to attend one of three online orientation sessions on how to become an Extension Master Gardener volunteer. The virtual sessions will be on Thursday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. on October 8, October 15 and October 22. To register and receive a Zoom link to one of the sessions, contact [email protected] or call 540-727-3435. More information is available here.

The three sessions will be hosted by Rapidan River Extension for residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Greene, Madison, Orange, Culpeper and Fluvanna Counties. They will provide an orientation for next year’s Extension Master Gardener Training Class for these localities, to be held online on Thursday evenings from January 21 to April 29, 2021, as well as outdoors on four Saturday mornings, February 20, March 6, April 17 and May 8.

Applications for the 2021 Training Class are being accepted through November 1. More information and application forms are available here.

Part of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), the Extension Master Gardener program comprises volunteer educators who help their communities adopt science-based and environmentally sound horticultural practices. In the Charlottesville-Albemarle area, the Piedmont Master Gardeners provide some 12,000 hours of volunteer service each year and are engaged in more than 20 ongoing outreach projects.

Crozet Land Use Meeting Recap

There was a big land use meeting the other day. Here’s the blog post with the agenda, and below are the attachments sent out after the meeting. These land use decisions affect everything. Housing, schools, roads, trails, jobs, parks, and virtually everything else.

Note that the County are having Office Hours on 2 October. Read on for details.

These quick thoughts are part of an email that I sent to someone asking for my thoughts after the meeting. I wasn’t going to write a story until I was asked, so here it is.

(here’s the accompanying FB post)

Quick thoughts

  • We need creative density, commensurate with infrastructure improvements
  • There are a lot of people who say they want affordable housing, but want it somewhere else
  • Seems like a lot of Crozetians don’t like the current growth patterns, and want to shut down development. At least the ones speaking out.
  • Some of the stuff that is being built around Crozet is certainly contributing to the changes in Crozet
  • We need affordable housing here. Not “over there.”
  • I agree with the commenters that this feels somewhat rushed, but we still need to do something soon
  • We need a developer to come and propose/put up something like this that is functional and creative.
  • Ceasing development is not a good or viable solution (I’m working on a follow up post on this, and would welcome citations in favor or against this argument)
  • Zoom meetings are fantastic in that they open the meetings in a way that make them much easier to access, jump in and out, and learn.
    • No driving or parking
    • Meetings are recorded and put on YouTube
    • Transcripts of the meetings!


From a Nextdoor Thread

(bolding is mine; this is part of the email from the County Staff as a followup

Thank you for attending yesterday afternoon’s Crozet Community Advisory Committee meeting. This was by far the highest-Zoom meeting we have had since we were forced to move engagement to a virtual format, with the turnout surpassing some of our public input opportunities that were open for over three weeks at a time. If you were unable to attend, please take some time to provide input through our questionnaire at

I’ve had a number of requests for the video from the meeting as well as the Q&A list, chat, and presentation and wanted to provide those here. The meeting video can be viewed here:

The Q&A list, chat log, and presentation slides are attached. We also wanted to create some additional opportunities for community members to chat directly with staff to provide feedback and ask questions about the Master Plan. Next Friday, October 2 from 11AM-1PM we will be hosting (virtual) office hours. Please consider joining us to learn more about the draft future land use plan, ask questions, and share your feedback! You do not have to attend for the entire time and can join whenever is convenient for you. You can pre-register/access the meeting here:

Continue reading “Crozet Land Use Meeting Recap”

Crozet Land Use Meeting – 23 September at Noon

This looks like an important meeting. Land use affects everything.

Note: this is a great podcast episode that gets into land use in the last half; it’s worth listening.

via email:

Please find attached materials for our special meeting scheduled for () Wednesday, September 23 from 12:00 – 1:30. Zoom information for the general public is included in the agenda and below as well.

You all provided us with some feedback at last week’s meeting that you didn’t feel there was enough detail to provide informed feedback, yet too much information or detail was provided. In response, we’ve provided a summary list of land use changes as well as a simplified version of the land use table to help with your preparation. Please take some time to begin by reviewing the agenda and the discussion questions before jumping into the attachments:

(Jim’s note: attachments are at the bottom of this post)

  • Attachment 1 provides a comparison of the 2010 and draft 2020 land use plans
  • Attachment 2 provides the list of changes to accompany the map
  • Attachment 3 provides simplified descriptions of land uses
  • Attachment 4 is a list of draft recommendations that builds upon the guiding principle and goals you discussed in May.

Responding to concerns about community engagement and awareness of the draft land use map, we have also provided an opportunity for community input and review here: Please share this information with your neighbors, HOAs, or other interested groups so we can hear their input. We will plan to leave this input opportunity open indefinitely.

Looking forward to a productive conversation! Have a great weekend.


Download Zoom. Use this link to join the webinar.

Dial (301) 715-8592. Type in the Webinar ID 971 1803 8548 followed by the pound (#) sign.

Andrew Knuppel

Senior Neighborhood Planner
Albemarle County

434-296-5832 ext. 3313

401 McIntire Road, North Wing, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Trees Go Fast; New Development next to Crozet Park

Walking by Crozet Park last week, we saw heavy equipment. I noted that the surrounding trees would likely be gone within a week, and was right.

Looks like this is a separate part of Glenbrook at Foothills. Phase V, to be specific, so not necessarily a “new neighborhood” as it’s an extension of Glenbrook, but it’s “new” in that it looks like a standalone neighborhood that is replacing trees.

Lots of comments on the Facebook thread.

Layout of the new neighborhood. Site plan is here.

Learn more at Albemarle’s site; it looks like they won’t have sidewalks, but are using Crozet Park’s paths instead.

(a lot of links are broken at the new Albemarle County site).

As I tell my clients

If you don’t own it, it’s going to change.

Location of Glenbrook at Foothills V,-78.6888014,17z
Continue reading “Trees Go Fast; New Development next to Crozet Park”

Vote Early In-Person Starting this Friday, September 18 (2020)

via Albemarle County’s email

(if you’re curious, you can learn more background about voting in Albemarle by reading the CCAC recap)

Vote Early In-Person Starting this Friday, September 18

Beginning this Friday, September 18th through Saturday, October 31st, registered voters can vote early in-person in Conference Room A at the 5th Street County Office Building on 1600 5th Street.

Voting early in-person is a nearly identical experience to voting at your polling place on Election Day – you’re just opting to cast your vote early!
Dates and times for early in-person voting are as follows: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30 am to 5 pm Tuesdays from 7 am to 5 pm Thursdays from 8:30 am to 7 pm Saturday, October 24 from 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, October 31 from 9 am to 5 pm

Think ahead and #makeaplan to vote in the upcoming 2020 November General Election.
Register to Vote Check your voter registration or register to vote at

The deadline to register to vote/update your voter registration information is Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

To register online, you must: Have a valid Virginia DMV driver’s license or state ID card Be a citizen of the United States Be a resident of Virginia Be 18 years old on or before the next general election (if you are 17, you can still register and vote in elections if you will be 18 on or before the next general election) Not be convicted of a felony or judged mentally incapacitated, unless right to vote has been restored
Ways to Vote There are three options to cast your vote in the upcoming November 2020 General Election.

By Mail Any registered voter can apply to vote by mail for the upcoming election, no excuse necessary.

Applications must be submitted by October 23, 2020. Mail-in ballots must be mailed in to the Voter Registration Office or personally delivered to the Voter Registration Office by November 3. However, we recommend sending them in as soon as possible.

Early In-Person Starting Friday, September 18 through Saturday, October 31, registered voters can vote early in-person in Conference Room A at the 5th Street County Office Building at 1600 5th St. Voters will present acceptable ID, get checked in on the electronic pollbooks, be handed a ballot, and directed to a ballot marking booth; the voter will mark the ballot, and then insert it into a DS200 ballot scanning machine. Curbside voting will also be available. Hours for early in-person voting are: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30 am to 5 pm Tuesdays from 7 am to 5 pm Thursdays from 8:30 am to 7 pm Saturday, October 24 from 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, October 31 from 9 am to 5 pm

At your Polling Place on Election Day All 30 Albemarle County voting precinct polling places will be open on election day, November 3, 2020, from 6 am to 7 pm. Enhanced cleaning and distancing protocols will be in effect to keep voters safe. To find your polling place, visit
Important Deadlines Register to Vote: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 Request Mail-In Ballot: Tuesday, October 23, 2020 Return Mail-In Ballot: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 7 pm
Voter Registration Office Information
Early In-Person Voting Conference Room A County Office Building at 1600 5th Street Charlottesville, VA 22902 (1/2 mile south of I-64 on 5th Street Extended)
Dates and Times: September 18 – October 31 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30 am to 5 pm Tuesdays from 7 am to 5 pm Thursdays from 8:30 am to 7 pm Saturday, October 24 from 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, October 31 from 9 am to 5 pm

Send Ballot by Mail Use pre-addressed envelope sent with your mail-in ballot -OR- Elections 435 Merchant Walk Square, Suite 300 PMB 160 Charlottesville, VA 22902

Mail Ballot Drop-Off Drop Box at the parking circle of the 5th Street County Office Building, 1600 5th St., Charlottesville, VA 2290

CCAC Recap for September 2020

What I would have tweeted, but with more formatting, and way longer; I hope you find this useful.

Like them or not, these meetings influence many aspects of our lives in Crozet, and in Albemarle County. Land use affects almost everything.


Voting discussion, Animal Wellness Center expansion, adding a new, denser, middle housing category.

Each heading is a link to the video, cued to to the right time.

Voting Discussion

  • Jim Heilman talking about voting in November; this election is a “perfect storm” of an election. Has never seen an election like this one.
  • New election laws, some of which were passed on Friday. “Certain voices” saying mail in ballots are fraudulent, not to trust the mail, and then we have COVID-19
  • Goes over what’s on the ballot, from races to two constitutional amendments
  • Talking about voter registration. There is usually a spike in voter registration; not this year as voter drives aren’t happening
  • Learn more about voting in Albemarle here; last day to register is 13 October
  • Details how to register to vote. Or here at the Virginia elections site.
  • Three ways to vote
  • The Albemarle County Electoral Board encourages citizens to vote early in person or via mail so as to avoid long lines.
  • Highly encourage voters to wear mask; state says they can’t force people to, but will do everything they can to encourage people to wear them. Me: Wear a damn mask.
  • Jennie – if someone requested a mail in ballot, could someone still vote in person early, or once you make the request, is that the way you should vote?
    • A: Fill it out, bring it to the County Office Building
    • Or if you want to put it into the machine yourself, you can do that
    • Dropboxes: we have never before had a legal way to do this. Last week, State passed a law allowing drop off stations, but we decided that’s not a good idea. They will have dropbox outside County Office buidling on 5th Street. May have drop off centers in the two weeks prior to election
    • Q: when will the mail in ballots be mailed?
    • A: by September 18, and hopefully Kanye West doesn’t win his appeal so we have to re-print the ballots. Me: #headdesk
  • Heilman: we don’t think there will be a problem with the mail. But don’t wait until the last day to mail.
  • Any ballot postmarked November 3, and received by 6 November will be counted.
  • Two ways to track your ballot. Ballot Scout will track your ballot.
  • Reminder that they’ve added a precinct, the Mechums River District.
    • Five locations to vote: Crozet, Brownsville, Western Albemarle High School, Broadus Wood, Free Union Country Day School
  • Discussion about how to get out the word to vote

Animal Wellness Center Special Use Permit

Continue reading “CCAC Recap for September 2020”

Crozet Master Plan serves as test conversation for “missing middle” housing 

This material is made possible by supporters of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a service of Sean Tubbs and his new media venture. Thanks to subscribers, Sean was able to spend some time putting together this summary. It will also available on the CCE website along with a podcast version.

All across the country, advocates of affordable housing have been combing through zoning codes to find ways to increase the number of homes in urban areas. 

One idea is to increase the number of duplexes, town-homes, triplexes and other types of housing that allow for more people to live in an area. Many zoning codes across America prohibit these so-called “missing middle” homes. 

“They’re called missing because these aren’t being built very often right now,” said Rachel Falkenstein, a senior planner with the county. “Often times we see both ends of the spectrum but you don’t see the middle housing types being built, primarily because these are prohibited by a lot of local zoning ordinances.”

The conversation about middle-missing housing has come to Albemarle as review of the Crozet Master Plan continues. On September 1, 2020, the Albemarle Planning Commission held a work session on the Future Land Use Map for Crozet, one of the county’s seven designated growth areas. (staff report for the meeting)

County staff are recommending new land use categories to the future land use map for Crozet, including the downtown area. 

“We first want to check in about two new land use tools we’re exploring with this master plan that we have not used before so we wanted to get the Commission’s buy-in first,” said principal planner Andrew Knuppel.

Continue reading “Crozet Master Plan serves as test conversation for “missing middle” housing “

CCAC – 9 September | Master Plan, 2020 Voting Procedures

Local politics is like a slow drip … best to pay attention so you’re not surprised when things happen in your back yard.


Crozet Community Advisory Committee
Wednesday, September 9, 2020 7:00 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.
Virtual Meeting

This meeting is being held pursuant to and in compliance with Ordinance No. 20-A (6); An Ordinance to Ensure the Continuity of Government During the Covid-19 Disaster.


Download Zoom. Use this link to join the webinar.

Dial (301) 715-8592. Type in the Webinar ID 968 1548 6613 followed by the pound (#) sign.

If you have any questions, please email csha…


1. Call to Order & Agenda Review (3 minutes)

2. Approve Meeting Minutes (2 minutes)

3. Presentation: 2020 Voting Procedures (Jim Heilman, Albemarle County Electoral Board) (15 minutes)

4. Community Meeting: SP2020-00015 Animal Wellness Center (40 minutes)
Link to application materials:

5. Discussion: Crozet Master Plan: Planning Commission Work Session Recap and Next Steps (remaining time)

Discussion Question: Are CCAC members available in late September/early October for a special meeting? This meeting will focus on finalizing site-specific land use recommendations and reviewing draft recommendations in the Master Plan’s Conservation chapter.

Next Meeting:
Special Meeting (date/time TBD)
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 7:00 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.

Whither Crozet? Master Plan. Thanks, Sean.

Sean Tubbs is writing again, now at Charlottesville Community Engagement, and we all benefit from his work. If you can, please read and subscribe to his work; he is covering growth and development in Charlottesville and Albemarle better than almost anyone else in our community.

Subscribe here, and subscribe to his Patreon here. Subscribe to his podcast, too; it’s great.

Sean has given permission for me to publish his work, and I’m hoping to publish this every week. He publishes these on Sunday nights on Monday morning.

This week’s update

Whither Crozet? Albemarle County is in the midst of an update of the master plan that guides development decisions in Albemarle’s western growth area. Tonight the Albemarle Planning Commission will hold a work session on potential changes to land use rules for Crozet, which consists of over 2,900 acres. The last master plan was adopted in October 2010, and the recent review got under way in 2019 and has been through two rounds of public participation. (full 2010 plan) (staff report)

This master plan revision has come at a time when there have been many conversations nationwide about increasing residential density within urban areas to increase the housing supply. The theory is that more supply will fulfill a need for “middle missing” housing units, or units that will provide affordable living choices. In return, county planners are recommending creation of a “Middle Density Residential” category on something called the Future Land Use Map. That map is what decision-makers will refer to in the future when making decisions about specific applications. 

“The ‘Middle Density Residential’ land use category is intended to support several goals staff has heard prioritized by community members, including to provide increased housing choice and affordability and to encourage smaller-scaled development patterns that are more consistent with existing neighborhoods and supportive of Crozet’s small-town identity,” reads the staff report. “While most are supportive of more affordable housing, some community members and CCAC members also expressed a desire to not see housing forms such as large apartment buildings within Crozet.”

That last point is one heard often in Charlottesville, with frequent complaints about the size of new apartment buildings on West Main Street. Staff have suggested that this middle density residential allow for between six and 24 units per acre. They have also said this conversation will also be held throughout the county’s development areas as time nears to update the county’s Comprehensive Plan.  

The Planning Commission will also consider a new “Downtown Neighborhoods Overlay” district which would provide guidance for the size and bulk of future buildings. 

“We heard from residents, including residents living in these neighborhoods, that there is concern about the possibility of developers tearing down existing homes to construct larger and more expensive homes,” county planners wrote. “The stated intent of the Overlay is to incentivize the maintenance and preservation of naturally occurring affordable housing, to protect historic neighborhoods, and to support the production of new housing units that have similar scales and forms as existing homes to help increase housing choice and affordability.” (Future Land Use Map)