The following is a letter from a reader to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors regarding the plans for the expansion of Crozet Park. Published with permission; only edits I’ve made have been for links or formatting for readability.
PROJECT: SDP202300010 Claudius Crozet Park – Initial Site Plan
MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: White Hall
TAX MAP/PARCEL(S): 056A2010007200; 056A20100072A0; 056A20400000A4
LOCATION: 1075 Claudius Crozet Park, Crozet, Virginia 22932
PROPOSAL: Request for approval of an initial site plan to construct a community center, with a fitness center, pool, and meeting space, along with additional parking spaces and pedestrian connections, on three parcels that total approximately 22.806 acres. No dwelling units proposed. In accordance with approved special use permit SP202000016.
Over many years, I have observed a pattern in Albemarle County of developers proposing features in new developments to appease the community in early drafts of their proposals when there is a lot of community attention, and then quietly removing them later.
That behavior seems to be involved in the proposed building expansion at Claudius Crozet Park. The SDP202300010 Claudius Crozet Park – Initial Site Plan appears to violate the terms of the SP202000016 Special Use Permit, and I would ask that you not permit the developer to eliminate the Playground / Tot Lot Area and that you deny approval of the SDP202300010 Claudius Crozet Park – Initial Site Plan (or any subsequent site plan for Crozet Park) unless the developer is required to build a Playground and Tot Lot for younger children as described below.
Claudius Crozet Park currently has two playgrounds—large playground on the east side of the park that is designed for older children, and a playground on the west side of the park that is designed for younger children and toddlers. The September 28, 2021 presentation by the Crozet Park development group to the Planning Commission showed the existing playground and tot lot on the west side of the park being relocated, including nice photorealistic renderings and a “Final Playground Location” and a couple different proposed locations for the Tot Lot (see here), as did the developer’s presentation to the Board of Supervisors on November 3, 2021 (see here).
The Board of Supervisors approved the Special Use Permit for SP 202000016 Claudius Crozet Park and included various conditions for the Special Use Permit, including in relevant part (emphasis added):
“Development of the use must be in general accord ( as determined by the Director of Planning and the Zoning Administrator) with the concept plan entitled, “Claudius Crozet Park, Special Use Permit (SP2020- 00016), Development Concept Plan, White Hall District, Albemarle County, Virginia,” prepared by Collins Engineering, dated August 17, 2020, last revised October 11, 2021. [See the referenced concept plan here .] To be in general accord with the exhibit, development must reflect the following essential major elements:
- Location of the existing buildings and proposed building additions* Location of the outdoor recreational fields and facilities”
Page 3 of the concept plan that is part of the Special Use Permit shows a “Relocated Playground / Tot Lot Area” to the west of the expanded building. That playground is clearly an “outdoor recreational … facilit[y]”.
However, it appears that the current draft of the Claudius Crozet Park Recreation Center Initial Site Plan SDP202300010 has eliminated the playground and tot lot for younger children. That’s a shame, and I know many families with young children who would have opposed the expansion if they had known the smaller playground and tot lot would be eliminated. But during the time period when there was a lot of press attention and community opposition to the expansion, the developer presented plans including the playground and tot lot for younger children—complete with photorealistic renderings. Now that attention has waned, the developer appears to be trying to quietly cut costs (and increase profits) by eliminating that playground and tot lot.
Because a “Playground / Tot Lot Area” is clearly an “outdoor recreational … facilit[y]”, and eliminating an entire outdoor recreational facility would not be “in general accord with” the concept plan approved as part of the Special Use Permit SP202000016, the Board of Supervisors should not approve the SDP202300010 Claudius Crozet Park – Initial Site Plan (or any subsequent site plan for Crozet Park) unless the developer builds a Playground / Tot Lot Area as included in the exhibit to the Special Use Permit and as illustrated in the November 3, 2021 presentation to the Board of Supervisors.
I would ask that you require the Playground / Tot Lot Area to be clearly depicted as part of any site plan approved for SDP202300010 / Claudius Crozet Park and that final approvals and permits to use the expanded facility not be granted until the Playground / Tot Lot Area is complete. (I have observed that it is not uncommon for developers to complete the parts of developments that they want to build and then fail to complete the remaining elements of the project, sometimes simply choosing to forfeit whatever bonds they may have paid—but the community’s needs would not be met unless the Playground / Tot Lot Area is actually built and completed.)
Thank you for your dedication and service to our community and for your attention to this matter!