We are a group of residents from St. George Avenue and the surrounding area, writing to express our fierce opposition to the proposed construction of a Catholic church that would change the character of Crozet’s most historic neighborhood.
Following meetings and discussions with Crozet Mission officials, it has become apparent that the planned scope and size of the proposed church is tremendously out of scale with the neighborhood. It has also come to our attention that many members of the Crozet Mission as community members at-large are unaware of the massive impact that the proposed church would create on the St. George neighborhood.
At the initial community meeting for the Crozet Master Plan earlier this month, residents shared that the historic nature of Crozet was one of the things people valued most about our community. Residents also shared their appreciation for the small town, neighborly feel of the community. In the spirit of these two community values, we would like to be very direct with the Catholic Mission and other community member to be transparent and voice our total opposition to this proposal.
We oppose the plan to build a church of this size on St. George Avenue for several important reasons. Based upon discussion with church officials, the plan would:
· Require demolition of several historic residential homes on St. George Ave in order to accommodate current needs and future growth.
· Initially add 284 parking spaces, which is more than twice the existing space in both parking lots at Crozet Baptist Church.
· Increase vehicle traffic on St. George Avenue and Railroad Avenue multiple times per week, creating risk to pedestrians and cyclists on streets with limited sidewalks and a road width of only 18 feet.
· Increase storm water runoff from the proposed paved lot and cut-through from higher elevation to a section of homes that already deals with localized flooding.
· Require room for growth. Church officials stated to us that they plan to eventually have a footprint of up to 10 acres and accommodating up to 1500 people for weekly Mass within 20 years.
· Lastly, violate two longstanding tenets of the Crozet Master Plan:
1. That “Existing Neighborhoods and the Downtown Area will be preserved, new and infill development will be appropriate in and scale and type; and
2. That “Crozet will continue to encourage a sense of community through its history.”
This proposal would forever change the character of our historic street. Residents of this street have purchased and painstakingly worked to preserve the historic homes that so many expressed appreciation of at the recent Master Plan Kick Off.
In fact, two of our neighbors on St. George Avenue who are adjacent to the proposed site have already received letters from the Crozet Mission stating their interest in buying their property to develop “a new church and required parking.” The owners, our neighbors, are not interested. Both of these properties are outlined in yellow on the handout PDF map we have provided. The church, by their own admission, must aggressively expand into one of Crozet’s last historical neighborhoods and demolish additional historical homes if they are to meet their hopeful future growth.
This is not simply a matter of only Anderson Funeral Home being “replaced” with a small church. This is the purchase of multiple properties and eventual demolition of four historical homes, while creating a massive influx of traffic and non-residential activity into this quiet neighborhood.
Let us be clear: we sympathize with our Catholic friends and neighbors over their search and understand the process has been frustrating. However, we are unwilling to sacrifice the character and safety of our street and this historic neighborhood for this development.
We have collected over 200 signatures of neighbors and community members who are opposed to this proposal, and we will be prepared to challenge this plan in strength, numbers, and perseverance. We cannot imagine how this plan, which would so dramatically impact this neighborhood, would be a fruitful foundation for the Catholic Mission. This is not the way to begin a thriving relationship between a church and its town; on the contrary, it would do a disservice to both Crozet and to this congregation .
We hope that the members of the Catholic Mission will hear our concerns and decide to seek another, more appropriate site for their church. We invite the community, at large, to help the Mission look for alternative sites that better suit the needs of this church, and to reach out to their search committee should anyone know of any potential candidates.
Concerned Neighbors of St. George Avenue and the Surrounding Area
Update 23 September 2019
“We wanted to reach out with an update. Another neighbor has received an offer letter from the Crozet Mission to purchase their land-we have amended the map on our handout to show the size of the potential proposal. Properties that have received offer letters are now outlined in yellow.As you can see, the combined original proposed properties in red (with whom the Mission states in these letters they have ‘an agreement in principle’ to purchase) and the properties who have received purchase offer letters comprise a sizable portion of St. George Avenue, totaling 8.4 acres of land.Please see attached one of the offer letters that one of us received from the Crozet Mission.As we stated previously, while we absolutely sympathize with the Crozet Mission needing room enough to grow, a site that from the very get-go requires offering to purchase three neighbors’ properties is not practical, both for the church and for our neighborhood.“*
*Jim’s note about the letter: The person who sent me the email said this,” Letter is below, along with updated handout and a copy of one of the offer letters. I talked to Sebring, the recipient, and he is ok with his information being shown in it. I redacted the church contact information for reasons of privacy.”
The Coworking office is finally complete this month! I’m going to invite people to start co-working in October, and I already have a nice list of people waiting to sign up when it’s officially open, but I’d welcome a few more before capping the membership for a while.
I’m having an open house next Tuesday, September 24th, from 4:00-6:00pm for anyone to stop by who’s interested in co-working. The address is 5405 Ashlar Avenue, Suite #201. That’s in the new Old Trail Heights building, across the green space from Grit cafe.
Anyone who has questions is welcome to email me at [email protected] or call 434 226 0878.
This is an exciting post, because I didn’t write most of it. Thanks to Neve Gallagherfor going to the 12 September 2019 CCAC meeting, tweeting it, and writing the following. My .02 on the Crozet Park proposal, and the bike path: Need more bike paths. If they are going to expand Crozet Park, doing so without commensurate infrastructure (bike paths, sidewalks, roads) and without actually talking to neighbors, is negligent.
The community involvement in the Crozet Master Plan has exceeded the CCAC’s expectations. They had ordered pizza for 75 people and over 120 came, on Monday September 9th, to give their input. The CCAC is looking community involvement and presenting varying opportunities for it, since the Master Plan is, ultimately, for the people.
There is a play-by-play on Twitter of the CCAC meeting if you’re looking for in-depth coverage of the meeting.
Crozet Master Plan Update
More community involvement than expected
Opened up the floor for input on the following questions:
“Did anything surprise you about the workshop, on Monday September 9th?”
“What worked well?”
“What should we continue doing or what should we start doing?”
Majority response was that there were ample opportunities for community input & involvement and this was greatly appreciated
Barnes Lumber Development Road/ Bike Path Discussion
Doug Bates presented the initial road plan and the revised road plan to the floor, asking for opinions on the revision.
The general consensus was that the bike path was a better option than the bike lanes on the roads. Why?
A bike path is more family friendly & appealing to the typical Crozet local
A concern that has gone into the planning of building these roads with VDOT is the potential for this to turn into a high speed road; Frank Stoner assures that they are looking at ways to prevent this
Talk of raised intersections to prevent high speed traffic
Claudius Crozet Park Facility Proposal
Drew Holzwarth reviewed the Crozet Park Facility plans, explained the reasons this facility was a necessity and how, as a town, plan to pay for it
Holzwarth referenced past Crozet Park projects that were great successes due to high community involvement in fundraising.
This month’s CCAC meeting had an overall theme of community involvement. Without the community input these plans will go through, building will commence and citizens of Crozet will be displeased with some aspect of the design. The CCAC is offering ways to get the community mobilized and easily put in their two cents. I suggest we all take these opportunities presented to raise our concerns and collaborate to allow the plans for Crozet to reflect our community.
Anyone going tonight, who can tweet the meeting? #CCAC0919 Lots of meaningful stuff on the agenda.
Any WAHS students (journalism students, maybe?) interested in tweeting/writing about this and other meetings? I’ll pay. Adults? This request/offer goes to you, too. Please? Bueller? Text me – 434-242-7140
via email. (bolding mine)
CROZET COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Crozet Library, 2020 Library Ave, Crozet, VA 22932 Wednesday, September 11, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Introductions and Agenda Review (Allie Pesch – CCAC chair)
Approval of Minutes
Claudius Crozet Park Facility Proposal (Drew Holzwarth, Claudius Crozet Park Board – 30 min)
Crozet Master Plan Update Check-In #1( Andrew Knuppel, Albemarle County Community Development – 15 min)
Items Not Listed on the Agenda
Announcements a. Crozet Master Plan Community Workshop #2: Tuesday ,October 1, 6:30–8 p.m., Western Albemarle High School Cafeteria b. CCAC October Meeting: Wednesday, October 9, 7-9p.m., Crozet Library (Crozet Master Plan Check-In #2; Crozet, Brownsville and Henley PTO Representatives)
The next regular meeting of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors is Wednesday, September 4, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., in Lane Auditorium of the County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902.
Dig into the timeline for the Crozet Master Plan. Maybe consider going to a meeting, as this is where the Plan is shaped (better now, than after everything has been decided).
“Crozet Square – engineering and design phase are well underway and construction is planned to begin late 2020/early 2021″
“Crozet Express Transit Service – Staff continues to work with JAUNT on the development of the proposed express commuter transit service between Crozet and Charlottesville. The Board has identified funding for the service and draft routing and schedule has been developed. Staff is currently identifying stops and securing agreements to allow the service to make those stops.”
“Tabor Street, High Street, and Hilltop Street Sidewalks – The consultant’s evaluation on these improvements have provided information that is being evaluated for a potential Transportation Alternatives application in 2019.”
“Barnes Lumber – Staff continues to attend meetings with County officials, VDOT, and developers of the Barnes Lumber related to the Library Avenue Extension Project, the proposed rezoning of the property, and necessary traffic analysis and improvements. Preliminary designs for the Library Ave connection and general road system are currently in review. Staff expects a ZMA application for the development project in the coming year. Weekly team member meetings are held and (sic)”
Lots of speeding concerns across the county, including 250 and Park Ridge Road. And people are confused at the Airport Road roundabout. How?! It’s been there for years.
Crozet resident and park board member Drew Holzwarth unveiled big plans for Claudius Crozet Park at the August 21 Board of Supervisors meeting, launching a push for a major expansion to existing facilities in the park. “There is a critical need for additional indoor recreation space in the county, and this is an opportunity for us to build a truly transformative facility for county residents,” said Holzwarth.
The proposed expansion envisions a new 47,000-square-foot facility, to include a multi-purpose gym, fitness and wellness areas, an indoor track, a community room, a stay and play area and more. The Claudius Crozet Park (CCP) board hopes to fund the $6.5 million project via a public/private partnership with Albemarle County, in which the county would contribute $2.4 million over the next two years.
The CCP board’s plan would build an indoor recreation space with a footprint slightly larger than the Brooks YMCA in Charlottesville that will serve all ages.
The first phase of the redevelopment of the former Barnes Lumber site in Crozet was approved Wednesday.
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a rezoning of about 6.24 acres of the site from heavy industry and commercial to Downtown Crozet District to allow for mixed-use development.
Developer Frank Stoner, with Milestone Partners, did not have a formal presentation but thanked the board, county staff, the Crozet Community Advisory Committee and the Downtown Crozet Initiative for their input and work over the years.
“We’re in our fifth year of this project, and I can honestly tell you we wouldn’t be here today without all the people I just mentioned,” he said.
The redevelopment of the Barnes Lumber site has been included in the Crozet Master Plan. A proposal was submitted in 2010 but did not move forward. Crozet New Town Associates purchased the property from the bank and reactivated the rezoning application in 2014 for the whole property.
In 2017, the rezoning request was modified to focus on the first phase of the site — the 6.24-acre portion — including a proposed civic plaza.