Questions are good.
My offer stands to Crozetians: want to research and write about developments affecting you, your neighborhood, Crozet? Let me know.
New letter from one of Crozet Park’s neighbors to Albemarle County staff.
After the Crozet Park Special Use Permit zooming meeting on the 14th I’ve taken some time to digest my impressions and wanted to share my thoughts about the process and the content.
First, I think it is a good thing to solicit neighborhood input although attending the meeting via zoom rather than in person was a bit confining. I am not clear on the Virtual Meeting process for responding to public questions or comments submitted prior to the Meeting. I do not know how others felt but it was odd to submit questions/comments prior to the meeting that may or may not be addressed by the people actually active in the Video/Zoom meeting.
Second, I had a chance to look at the additional Crozet Park Expansion project information that was attached to the previous Meeting Minutes which included staff and agency comments from the Applicant’s August Submittal. I see that some of the questions raised in my previous letter were also commented by staff and other agencies, however, I did not see where the impact of construction on the adjacent neighborhoods is addressed in the attachments to the previous meeting minutes.
Based on comments at the meeting it was clear to me the Applicant has no intention of disturbing its own Park operations during construction nor did they seem concerned about how construction work will impact adjacent neighborhoods. Incorporating neighborhood concerns should be equally aggressive and intentional. This is a serious issue for those of us experiencing the Foothill construction operation.
From my own observations, and mentioned by a resident at the meeting, based on the progress of the Foothill Crossing construction project next door to Crozet Park, it seems that it is considered acceptable by County Staff, the Applicant and its Designer to stage dump trucks and turn them around on neighborhood roads. It appears it is also acceptable to put Porto-johns in front of neighbor homes and Site Debris Management areas close to neighboring homes. The Foothill Crossing construction project plans include no requirement to stage construction vehicles within the Construction Site verses outside of the Construction site which makes the work more disruptive than it should be and is, frankly, inconsiderate.
Staff and agency comments did not address this at all – maybe it is beyond their purviews. The construction impact of these Projects/Developments can be mitigated, but planning for it has be intentional and should be seriously considered during early reviews. The manner in which the current Foothills Crossing construction work has been handled did not consider how it is disturbing neighbors in Parkside Village and along Hilltop Road. Construction impacts for this Project can be mitigated very cost effectively but they have to be planned just as intentionally as the applicant has – and some agency has to advocate for that.
Lastly, it was unclear at the community meeting what information Staff reviewed relative to the use of the Emergency Access Road entrance to Hilltop Road in the future. The Designer said it would only be used for large events while the Applicant indicated they would not accept any limitations on how they might use it. The VDOT Comments are also unclear on whether they reviewed the improvements as an Emergency Access road or a two way Entrance to the Park. This is a very serious issue for a lot of reasons – the Hilltop Road entrance sight distances, bus stops, traffic build up, sequence with the development of neighborhood infrastructure (future roads) to Downtown Crozet – and how all of this impacts the adjacent neighborhoods. I am looking forward to additional project information and a chance to review the Applicants response and comments.