This thing is going to come to fruition sooner rather than later.
From Sean Tubbs’ outstanding week ahead email (read the whole thing, and subscribe if you can). Heck, ask me, and I’ll buy you one. It’s $50/year and if you’re interested in learning more and supporting local news, I’d welcome that opportunity.
Crozet Master Plan public hearing
The Albemarle County Planning Commission meets virtually at 6 p.m. There are two public hearings. (meeting info)
In the first, the Field School is requesting an amendment to a special use permit that requires them to begin construction of their new facility on Barracks Road. The Board of Supervisors approved a permit in March 2017 for a new school to be constructed on land in the rural area. The terms of the approval state the new building has to be under construction by the end of February 2022.
“Construction plans to establish the new Field School Campus on the property were put on hold as the global pandemic created a great deal of uncertainty for future funding opportunities and general construction feasibility,” reads the narrative by Shimp Engineering. “Field School of Charlottesville looks forward to continue working towards creating its new campus on the property and in light of some funding setbacks and the global COVID-19 pandemic; respectfully requests more time to bring this long-anticipated and worked-for vision to fruition.”
The Field School currently operates out of the old Crozet High School, which is addressed in the draft version of the Crozet Master Plan.
“The County should solicit community input to help determine an appropriate use of the school building and adjacent grounds,” reads page LU-25 of the plan. “Consideration should be given to uses that support the County’s goals for Affordable Housing, school needs, and uses that provide historic and cultural programming.”
However, I suspect that is not the kind of input the Planning Commission will hear at the public hearing on the plan. Comprehensive Planning can tend to bring forward strong opinions about the future of communities as we’ve seen with the Cville Plans Together initiative and during the Crozet plan’s review.
Crozet is one of several designated growth areas in Albemarle and the first master plan was adopted in December 2004 as a subsection of the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Board of Supervisors approved an update in October 2010. The idea is to review these plans every five years, but an update was delayed as work continued on other master plans such as one for Pantops and the Rio-29 Small Area Plan. In recent years, Albemarle has conducted this planning work in-house.
This update finally got underway with a community visioning process followed by many input sessions with the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. The Board of Supervisors reviewed a nearly complete draft in early August.
“The Board of Supervisors reviewed the draft Master Plan and agreed with the majority of the Planning Commission’s implementation recommendations,” reads the staff report.
To achieve the land use goal of creating more units that qualify under county guidelines as affordable housing, staff has created the land use category of “middle density residential” to have a range of between six to 12 units per acre, with up to 18 if below-market affordable housing is guaranteed. Some stories about what’s been going on:
- September 2020 article about Crozet being a test for “missing middle” housing
- March 14, 2021: Crozet’s growing pains emerge during master plan discussion; Ground broken for new public housing in Charlottesville
- April 14, 2021: Albemarle Supervisors weigh in on Crozet Plan; Albemarle PC briefed on comp plan update
“The Board discussed the application of the Middle Density Residential land use category both throughout Crozet and specifically to the block bounded by Tabor Street, Crozet Avenue, Dunvegan Lane, and High Street,” the staff report continues. “They directed staff to leave the future land use plan as is for the public hearing process to allow for additional community and Planning Commission feedback on the proposed change to the Tabor Street block.”
This will be an interesting story to write.