Building Infrastructure in Crozet?

Jim’s comment: please comment with questions/thoughts/corrections/clarifications. We’re in this together.

Crozet and VDOT infrastructure thoughts, from NextDoor*

Post after post after post: Everyone blames the county for the lack of infrastructure. That is patently false. I’ve lived in Crozet for almost 20yrs, I have heard the same complaints. 20yrs later…the same complaints and misdirected ire continues.

Take a peek at the Culpeper district planning.

Do you see Crozet anywhere in that list? Just the 240/250 intersection. Other than that…nothing. Why?

1) Because the 500 people complaining on ND day in and day out are not making their voices heard by state officials.

2) Most people do not understand just how difficult it is to build out infrastructure. You want sidewalks on Park Rd? Tabor St? The state, not the county, will have to negotiate with every single landowner along those roads to obtain rights of way easements, or they will have to use eminent domain. THAT is not going to be popular among of the owners along those roads.

1) The infrastructure never comes before building. So that means the county will need to deny all building permits. That will be quickly litigated and overturned as plaintiffs will point to prior approved permits and rezoning as permissible for their particular application.

2) “We have and will continue to reach out to state officials.” I disagree that actually happens. What I see are 500 posts about county meetings, CCAC meetings etc.

Can you point me to single post along the lines of “Hey Good/Deeds is hosting a townhall, lets get 500 Crozet residents down there to discuss why VDOT won’t build proper infrastructure?”

Can you point me to a single post along the lines of “Hey VDOT is hosting a meeting lets get 500 crozet residents down there to discuss why VDOT won’t build proper infrastructure?”

I’m fairly certain you can’t. I on the other hand can point to no less than 100+ posts (on Nextdoor) about county meetings, despite the fact the county has little to no authority. This is by design, it is baked into the Virginia state constitution. Just google Dillon Rule.

As my grandfather loved to say: that dog is barking up the wrong tree.

FYI: If Crozet were to incorporate, the newly formed “City of Crozet” Would obtain that legal authority to truly regulate growth and build out infrastructure. But that would require new taxes and the City of Crozet would need to levy a hefty real estate tax and provide tax relief based on income thresholds, so the tax targets those mostly responsible for the uncontrolled growth: Those living in developments. (me: what if Crozet became a town?)

However that tax proposal would be vehemently opposed by the very same people that created the situation in first place. 😉

*Note from Jim – copy/pasted from Mark McCardell’s comments with permission, and only changes made by me were to add links, and to add a ‘ here and there.

More from me: If Crozetians really want to have an effect on growth, etc in Crozet, organize and go to Board of Supervisors meetings. CCAC is about as effective as NextDoor. Go to the BoS meetings, and go again, and again, and again, and again. And again.

Transportation funding in Virginia is complicated (to me at least) and I genuinely do not quite grasp how or why needed building infrastructure is so complex or controversial (I get the controversy; it’s operated by humans).

Today’s Charlottesville Community Engagement has this segment today

(you really should pay to subscribe; it’s one of the most-needed things in the Charlottesville – Albemarle area)

TJPDC kicks off public process for long-range transportation plan 

One of the key documents required for a community to build transportation projects is the federally-mandated Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The Federal Highway Administration requires urban localities to have a public process for decisions related to projects that receive funding from the U.S. Government. 

Twelve years ago, this document became a key battle point in fate of the Western Bypass. For many years, Albemarle officials used the LRTP and the companion Transportation Improvement Program to block construction dollars from being allocated to the planet. On June 8, 2011, a majority of the Board of Supervisors voted to drop that barrier allowing the project to move forward. The project ended up not getting built, but none of this would have been possible without the document being amended.

The last plan was adopted in 2019 and now transportation at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission are preparing the next update in a process they’ve called Moving Toward 250. Visit the web page to learn more.

The first official meeting is a webinar at 6:30 p.m. tonight. Register here

The official open house is Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the TJPDC’s headquarters on Water Street. 

There’s also a survey. Will you take it? Share it with others? (link to survey)

This is not the only way transportation decisions are made, but it’s worth knowing about in an era of continued population growth. 

Logo for the Moving Toward 2050 process 

In the spirit of 2023, I asked ChatGPT, “How are transportation projects funded in Virginia?”

Rather than just a link to VDOT’s project page or a link to VDOT’s six year improvement program database, the answer is pretty good, I think.

In Virginia, transportation projects are primarily funded through a combination of federal, state, and local sources. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is responsible for managing and overseeing the transportation system in the state, including funding for various projects.

Here are some of the key sources of funding for transportation projects in Virginia:

  1. Federal Funding: Virginia receives significant funding from the federal government through various programs, such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). These funds are allocated based on specific criteria and guidelines established at the federal level.
  2. State Funding: The Commonwealth of Virginia provides funding for transportation projects through several sources. One of the primary revenue streams is the state gas tax, which is levied on gasoline and diesel fuel sales. Other state funding sources include vehicle registration fees, motor vehicle sales taxes, and certain dedicated transportation funds.
  3. Regional and Local Funding: Local governments and regional transportation authorities in Virginia may also contribute to transportation project funding. They can generate revenue through sources like local taxes, tolls, grants, and bonds. For example, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region has its own funding mechanism to support transportation projects in that area.
  4. Public-Private Partnerships (P3): Virginia has been a pioneer in utilizing public-private partnerships for transportation projects. Through P3s, private entities can invest in, build, operate, and maintain transportation infrastructure in exchange for long-term revenue streams. These partnerships have been used for major projects like toll roads and express lanes.
  5. Grants and Other Funding Programs: VDOT and other transportation agencies in Virginia actively seek grants and funding opportunities from various sources, including federal grants, state programs, and private foundations. These grants can provide additional funding for specific projects or initiatives.

It’s important to note that the specific funding mix for transportation projects can vary depending on the project type, location, and available resources. The allocation and distribution of funds are typically determined through comprehensive planning processes, in coordination with federal, state, and local transportation agencies.

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10 Replies to “Building Infrastructure in Crozet?”

  1. Thank you for this information! We went to many CCAC meetings on the Master Plan only to have the. Say one thing to our face and vote the other way so it discouraged us from even bothering:( So now I will look for Board of Supervisor meetings.

  2. Quite welcome. The CCAC can voice its opinion, but does not have any legislative voting authority – that’s the Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, etc.

    If you email the Board, I’d suggest emailing our Supervisor, and CCing the entire Board

  3. While you may have been here for 20 years, I’ve been here for over 30 years and I can tell you that there was an agreement between the county and the community with the first Crozet Master Plan(2004) where the the residents of Crozet agreed to grow from a population of about 2,500 to 3,000 to 12,000. As part of that agreement the County agreed to maintain a level of concurrent infrastructure to meet the needs of growth. The fact the County had no trouble allowing development on the eastern side of Crozet without the completion of the Eastern Connector shows they had no intention of meeting those infrastructure needs. This is also not to mention the County had no trouble breaking the agreement to keeping the “Maximum Ideal Population” in Crozet to 12,000. I don’t know if you attended the meeting with VDOT and the CCAC during the recent Master Plan update, where they presented several plans for improving traffic in our downtown, only to tell us if be 20 to 25 years before those improvement would take place. I would suggest you remember that the history of Crozet didn’t start when you arrived.

    1. Congratulations on being here for 30 years?

      I’m glad you’ve been here for 30, he’s been here for 20, and I’ve been here for 22 (I think). I know I could find someone who’s been here for 50 who wants us all gone, but that’s all irrelevant to the point of the story.

      My question for you is – who is ultimately responsible for building infrastructure in Crozet – Albemarle County or VDOT?

      1. With regard to Crozet, the answer is the County is responsible to keep its commitment to maintaining a level of concurrent infrastructure to meet growth levels, which they made with the first Crozet Master Plan. What mechanism/s to meet the infrastructure needs was a matter for the county, not Crozet. The infrastructure agreement and the maximum population of 12,000, were made at the same time. Both agreements made between the county and Crozet have been broken by the county.

        From the first Master Plan – Basic Assumptions: “This analysis ties directly to population which is project to reach 11,100 -12,000 in a twenty year build out. This buildout number compares with the current population of 3,000 within the Crozet development area.”

        The population increase and concurrent infrastructure were a quid pro quo for the residents of Crozet agreeing to a quadrupling of the population of Crozet.
        Let me know if you have any other questions.

    2. Ok so you have been here for 10yrs more than me. You attended all the meetings and you failed. Growth hasnt stopped. Growth wont stop (no matter how many meetings you attend). The infrastructure will not come….VDOT literally told that to your face.

      I presented my solution (incorporate as a city). I know my solution isn’t popular because it would drastically increase property taxes for those that contributed to this problem. I am not even sure it is economically feasible. But what I do know: What you all have been doing isnt working and hasnt worked for 30yrs. Might be time to look at a different solution.

      Do you have a different solution?

      1. Mark; I agree with most of what you have said. One thing to remember is that with the onset of development in Crozet in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, starting with the Highlands, it was a time when Crozet wasn’t the community it is now. I think if you had told me there would be million dollar homes in Crozet, I would have thought you were crazy. In fact, my real estate agent tried to talk me out of moving to Crozet. The idea of incorporating has come up several times during the years, but never gained any traction, probably because of the reason you stated. That said, I believe at this time it may well be economically feasible, but I wonder if at this time the community has the stomach to go through with it. As far as growth goes, if you had been part of the community who worked on the first master plan, I believe you would have felt, as most of us did, that the plan was workable. Little did we know what was in store for us.

        1. So while the plan may have been workable, it wasn’t followed and it is obvious to everyone that it wont be followed.

          So again…what is your proposed solution?
          Vote out Mallak? That is useless, the other BoS will continue to vote for expansion because they like our property taxes generated by many $1mil homes. You have absolutely zero leverage over the other 5 members.

          Attend more meetings? Hasn’t worked. See above, zero leverage.

          If you got in your car, turned the ignition, car doesnt start. Would you continue to turn the ignition and cuss at the car for years? Because that is what you and others have been doing. Turning the ignition over and over and cussing. Car still doesnt start. At some point you have to get out of the car and try something different.

          In any negotiation you need leverage, which you currently dont have.

          There are two things the county wants/needs from Crozet: 1) land for development. 2) Revenue from property taxes.

          How do you create leverage?
          1) Can you take the land away from the county? There are two options for that: Incorporate or convince the large land owners to establish conservation easements. Lets be honest, the only way the county has been able to have runaway growth is old Crozet landowners selling to developers without easements. Given that its mostly old Crozet that has sold large parcels of land to developers, I don’t see how you are going to convince other owners to not cash in.
          2) Can you take away tax revenue? Only way to do that is to incorporate.

          Do we need to actually incorporate? To create leverage I believe we just need to start the process to incorporate (its surprisingly easy to get the ball rolling with just 100 signatures). By starting the process and showing intent/progress to BoS you now have some leverage.

          Just my 2 cent opinion on a very complex subject.

    1. Funny you should mention it, but the nice picture of the improvements to Jarman Gap Road were paid for with Federal “Ice Tea” funds. Where we do agree is the design used for Jarman Gap should be the standard for Crozet.
      With regard to “malleable”, first you have to have a master plan update, which for Crozet was supposed to happen in 2015, but was put off till 2020. It also means that any changes must be the result of an agreement between the county and the residents of Crozet. The last master plan update the county came into Crozet, shredded the current master plan, replaced with their own creation over the objection and votes of the CCAC. I don’t call that malleable.

Something to say?