Thanks for 12 Years, Greenhouse

Greenhouse Coffee has been a place to meet my wife, daughters, and grandson, where my younger daughter had her first job, and the place where the Crozet Cycling Club would meet for early morning post ride coffee.

Simply, Greenhouse was just an important part of life in Crozet.

Thanks Camille for all of your hard work and sacrifice.

Here’s to the next chapter.

Crozet Bridge + Truck = No Fun

Penske truck stuck under Crozet bridge

At least two trucks hit and got stuck in the past two weeks. One was white, and one was yellow (the yellow truck people left their debris under the bridge).

I figure once every 7 years, I might as well update the “how many times has the bridge in Crozet been hit by a truck?” post.

By 2015, we’d seen a few impacts. My then-11-year-old said:

“Crozet needs to figure this out because that intersection is, “the backbone of Crozet.”

If a fifth-grader can figure that out, why can’t the rest of us?”


A quick FOIA (one of three) this week, and Albemarle County Police were super-quick to respond.

“Research of our database yielded 2015: unknown, 2016: 6, 2017: 4, 2018: 4, 2019: 10, 2020: 4, 2021: 7 accident responsive to your request.

Our database could only go back to 2016.”

And four so far this year.

Might as well start a spreadsheet to track this; would love it if the folks at the Mudhouse would help and send me a text when a truck gets stuck. 🙂

Chart showing the number of times per year that the Crozet bridge has been hit. 4 times so far in 2022.

I do wish they’d clean up their debris; some do, some don’t. But, I do always think about the kind folks who did volunteer to clean up others’ trash in 2017.


Verizon Still Trying to Provide Better Service in Greenwood

Greenwood

Still trying after a couple of years …

Allison Wrabel wrote in January 2021 about Verizon’s efforts, and neighbors’ counter efforts.

I wrote in June about how Verizon was still trying to provide better cell service to people in and around Greenwood.

You can watch the Community Meeting below: (it had 8 views when I watched it; it’s 35 minutes long)

As of 25 July:

Next steps for the application are hearings with the Albemarle County Planning Commission on August 9, and the Board of Supervisors on 5 October.


Crozet Gazette wrote on 11 July of 2022 about the continued efforts.


If you’re supportive or opposed to this, you can reach out to our Supervisor Ann Mallek, the Board of Supervisors, and Bill Fritz:

copy and paste this into your email address line: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Continue reading “Verizon Still Trying to Provide Better Service in Greenwood”

Montclair at the Planning Commission – 26 July 2022

Montclair will be at the Albemarle County Planning Commission on 26 July at 6pm. Hopefully via Zoom, but likely in person.

Information on the meeting will be at the County’s website.

  • If you are in favor of housing that allows more people of more income and wealth levels to live in Crozet, I’d encourage you to attend this meeting, or voice your opinion in favor of more housing.
  • If you’re opposed to more housing for more people, I suspect this is already on your radar and neighborhood listservs and Nextdoors.

I’d wager if Albemarle and VDOT would add appropriate infrastructure when they approve developments, I’d wager they’d get some more support from adjacent homeowners.


As an aside, I wish I could find citation for the most egregious “argument” against this development made by a neighbor.

In January I wrote

The rezoning/land use 101 given by Cameron with Albemarle County was really good; I recommend people watch it.

They are proposing a rezoning to allow for 157 homes. 

Crozet needs new housing, but also needs supporting infrastructure and businesses to keep Crozetians in Crozet, and going to work not in cars (bikes, walking). Trails need to connect to downtown Crozet and other neighborhoods so that people aren’t forced to drive. 

From the January CCAC meeting

In March I wrote

Through my lens representing buyers, from $200,000 and up well be on that, Charlottesville needs affordable housing. It’s not a nice to have. It’s an absolute, desperate, need.

And from the Crozet Gazette

Crozet Real Estate Market Update – July 2022

I haven’t written one of these in a while. There’s a lot happening the national, regional, Crozet real estate market, so I thought I’d put some thoughts to metaphorical paper.

I wrote recently, in part

tl;dr: the market is changing, and what we’ve become accustomed to has changed. Questions? Ask me.

I started this section in the first few days of June, and have re-written it at least three five six times. My “econ” twitter list has been active as everyone learns about this market.

In short, I think we’re in a transitioning market rather than a transitory market; everything is different now.

This is a bit of a scary time in the real estate market. In the end, it will be OK. The move from a super-hot, multiple offer, escalating offers market to a much, much more conservative and even aggressive pricing strategy market has been fast.

One of the most important parts of what I do is help manage expectations of my clients. Two recent emails, one from a buyer and one from a seller’s agent, on a house my buyer lost out on in a multiple offer situation:

  1. “We have thought about it and have decided to rent for a year before buying, hopefully to give the housing market time to settle! If it is okay with you we would love to reach out again next year when we are looking again.”
  2. “They are all over the place, even wondering if they should just wait for other offers, which I am advising against.”

My response to the buyer was that I’ll absolutely be here next year and that I thought they were making a good decision. I’ve said the same thing to quite a few buyers recently. Twelve years ago I wrote that I think people moving to Charlottesville should rent first; I still think that’s the best advice.

My response to the seller’s agent was echoing her advice that waiting for other offers likely wouldn’t yield more offers. I suspect that those sellers were basing their expectations on the market from a few months ago rather than today’s reality. 

I wrote this on 12 June in my post, Inventory Up, Price Reductions Down.
  • The market from earlier in the pandemic that may be helping sellers set their own expectations is gone. As I’ve told clients, “What your neighbor got for their house four months ago, and how fast, and with however many offers, is irrelevant.”

Ali Wolf tweeted “If someone could afford the monthly payment of a $450,000 home at a 3% interest rate, the equivalent payment at a 6% interest rate is for a $316,000 home.”

I’m writing offers now with interest rate caps of 6.5%, and I’m thinking 7% might be next. And in the future, rates will fall again, and people will refinance. We will be fine.

Take a $600K house, with 20% down, at 3.25% interest = PI of $2,089/month. Principal + interest (not including taxes and insurance).At 6%, for that $600K house, the PI is $2,878.

At 6%, a $2,086 monthly payment with 20% down will get you a $435K house.

Sellers, keep the above in mind when pricing your home; better yet, let’s talk it through together.

I’ve written “new normal” countless times over the years; whatever is happening today is our normal.

NB: I use Karl’s Mortgage calculator, and include taxes and interest; not every online mortgage calculator does.

Keep this in mind.

Homebuyers on a $2,500 Monthly Budget Have Lost $118,000 in Spending Power This Year Amid Surge in Mortgage Rates. A buyer on a $2,500 budget can afford a $400,000 home with a 6% mortgage rate. That’s compared to a $517,000 home with a 3% mortgage rate.” 

Things will be ok. 


Continue reading “Crozet Real Estate Market Update – July 2022”

How Should Albemarle Grow?

Morning Along Garth Road

From Katherine Knott with the Daily Progress:

Please read the whole thing.

(bolding mine)

Some Albemarle County residents are torn about how the county should grow.

The county began surveying the community last month about seven proposed growth management options, part of the first phase of the county’s effort to update its comprehensive plan. The concepts range from reducing density in the county’s development areas to setting standards to help determine whether and how to expand a growth area.

Officials said 119 people have taken the survey, which closes at 10 p.m. Sunday. The responses, made public this week show stark divisions in the community. Other chances for citizen input will available to residents as the plan update moves along.

There are over 111,000 people in Albemarle County; please take a few minutes to read about the plan, its intent, its goals, and fill out the survey.

Take the survey here.

The first responses to the survey are interesting, some are disheartening, and unsurprising. (PDF here)

Here’s the thing.

We need more housing – nationally and locally, we have a massive housing shortage. More density. More infrastructure that is not auto-centric, and encourages people to get places without being forced into a car.

Albemarle (and the City of Charlottesville) are, and are becoming more unaffordable. We need to build affordable housing – much of which may be duplexes, triplexes, quads, apartments, etc so that people who want to live and work here can.

Think about your kids who you want to return to live nearby with their kids. Think about your parents who might need to move to be closer to you (and your kids). A lot of these may be (and probably should be) rentals – not everyone wants to own a home (I’m working on a story now for JimsNote in which I discuss how the “American Dream” of homeownership is not for everyone, and that’s just fine).

This survey will help Albemarle County government – Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, et al – make a path forward for how we are going to grow, from 110K-ish now to 155K-ish in 2050.

Source: Cooper Center

Read even more at Sean Tubbs’ Charlottesville Community Engagement.

Even better, pay to subscribe to support his work. (I do; if you’re interested in a free one-year subscription, ask me; I’m happy to offer one.)

Albemarle County is in the first phase of a review of its Comprehensive Plan with an eye on a growth management policy. A second questionnaire on the policy closes on July 17, and Albemarle’s Communications and Public Engagement office produced an explanatory video. 

“The growth management policy is one of the tools that we use to implement the county’s vision by helping us to make intentional decisions about how and where we grow and what areas are protected,” states the narrator of the video.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/a2s4Kqljams?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0&enablejsapi=0

The video states that one purpose of a growth management policy is to ensure that there are services for a growing population, including the provision of water and sewer services. 

“The majority of new residential, commercial, retail, office, industrial, and mixed-use development is intended to be within the county’s development areas,” the video continues. “The rural area is intended to have limited residential development.” 

Different community groups are also encouraging community members to fill out the survey.

The Forest Lakes Community Association reminded its members of the basic gist of the growth management policy. 

“Designated Development Areas currently comprise only five percent of Albemarle County while Rural Areas currently comprise 95 percent of the County,” reads the newsletter. “Yet we in Forest Lakes are seeing the developmental impacts more directly, since the limited Development Area includes the 29-Corridor to the west of Forest Lakes.” 

The Forest Lakes Community Association had argued against the nearby Brookhill and RST Residents developments, and points out there’s currently no public transportation in the area. 

“Roads are planned that will eventually connect both developments directly to Ashwood Boulevard, with estimates of up to a 50 percent increase in daily traffic utilizing the Forest Lakes South exit,” the newsletter continues

Former members of the Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Committee also want people to fill out the survey. The group quit en masse in April which you can read about on Information Charlottesville or on their Substack newsletter.

This spring, the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors were presented with a build-out analysis to determine if there’s enough room in the existing development area to meet the needs of a growing population. 

Supervisors got an update on June 1, 2022 that I’ve yet to write about, but will before the end of the summer. You can watch the video of that meeting here, and let us know what happened!

Mint Springs Closed Until they have Lifeguards

Mint Springs Park

Well, this sucks.

Surely, there are some WAHS kids, or kids home from college, who could use $15/hour. Here is where to apply for lifeguarding jobs. *

Read more

*I had never considered this, and will try to do better.


Crozet Elementary getting new principal

When we were at Crozet Elementary, we loved Ms. Crummie and make every day better for our daughter.

Katherine Knott at the Daily Progress:

After a dozen years leading Crozet Elementary, Gwedette Crummie is retiring, according to a recent announcement to the school community.

Crummie, the division’s longest-tenured principal, will step down this summer before the school welcomes 219 students from Brownsville Elementary following a redistricting approved earlier this year.

The $20.4 million, 28,000-square-foot expansion of Crozet will open this school year. (Jim’s note: if you’re buying a house in Crozet, make sure you know your school district; the MLS is driven by humans, and sometimes we make mistakes)

Crummie, who has worked in education for 36 years, wrote in her message to families that the decision to retire was difficult.

“However, the time is right for a new principal to join this remarkable school community with its beautiful new addition welcoming all students and families,” she wrote, adding that she’ll be starting a new career as a coach for young principals.

Quick Crozet News Roundup – June 2022

Digging into a few things Crozet-related. I’m writing this as much for you as to ensure that I read as much as possible about Crozet.

Overall, Albemarle county’s 2023 budget is $586 million, a whopping 25% increase over its 2022 budget of $467 million. Revenue growth is fueled by a $30 million increase in real estate tax receipts due to sharply higher assessed values this year, an expected gain of $11 million from the combined increases in the food and beverage and transient occupancy tax rates, and $26 million in higher state and federal funding due to Covid relief and federal infrastructure legislation allocations. Increased expenditures include $13 million more in county staff salaries, $26 million more to schools on the basis of the county’s 60/40 formula to share local tax revenues, and planned capital expenditures for projects such as new and expanded public schools and county courthouse building renovations.

The county is also absorbing huge cash inflows due to federal and state school relief funds. In the week before the April 27 Board of Supervisors meeting where the 2023 budget was approved, revenues jumped by $21 million, driven by an $18 million increase in schools funding derived largely from additional American Rescue Plan transfers. The county allocates almost 60% of its expenditures budget to the combination of school operations, the schools capital budget, and school-related debt service. See the nearby graphic for the budget breakdown, and the Albemarle County Finance and Budget website for more details.

Although there will not be a fireworks show this year, the annual Crozet Independence Day Celebration after the parade will still bring a lot of traffic to Crozet Park. So many cars trying to leave at the same time takes a l-o-n-g time.

It can be difficult and dangerous to walk home from the park in the dark because there are no sidewalks from the park towards the neighborhoods to the east. 

The Crozet Connector Trail can provide a safe, off-road route to neighborhood roads where there are sidewalks.

 Such committees can be a platform for community members to learn more about land use and development rules. That’s certainly the case in this month’s meeting which will take place virtually at 7 p.m. (meeting info)

First, the chief engineer of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority will give a presentation on various water and sewer projects for Crozet. The RWSA operates a separate urban water supply for Crozet and there are various upgrades underway at the moment. 

Next, county engineer Frank Pohl will provide an update on the Albemarle Water Protection ordinance. That was first updated in 1998 to help reduce the amount of sediment that makes it way into the watershed. Learn more on the county’s website.  

Cell Tower Coming to Greenwood?

Vicinity map Greenwood cell tower

Yes, please. More coverage is desperately needed.

Note that this is a different design and location than the cell tower that was proposed in 2021.

More information on the proposed Greenwood Cell Tower is here.

PROJECT LEAD REVIEWER: Bill Fritz    [email protected]

PROJECT LEAD REVIEWER: Kevin McCollum    [email protected]

PROJECT: SP202200011 Verizon – Scruby Property Tier III PWSF 

& SE202200030 Verizon – Scruby Property Tier III PWSF

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: White Hall

TAX MAP/PARCEL(S): 05500-00-00-01400

LOCATION: The proposed facility is located adjacent to I-64 approximately 750 feet east of where Route 690 (Greenwood Station Road) crosses I-64.  

PROPOSAL:  The applicant proposes to construct a 140-foot-tall monopole tower to be used as a Personal Wireless Facility.  The facility will include a lease area with ground equipment.  The applicant has also requested a special exception to allow the antenna to be mounted 18 inches from the face of the tower instead of 12 inches.

PETITION: Tier III Personal Wireless Service facilities are permitted by special use permit in the RA, Rural Areas district in accord with Chapter 18, Section 10.2.2(48) of the Code of Albemarle.  A special exception request may be made in accord with Chapter 18, Section 5.1 of the Code of Albemarle.

ZONING: RA, Rural Areas – agricultural, forestal, and fishery uses; residential density (0.5 unit/acre in development lots)

OVERLAY DISTRICT(S): EC- Entrance Corridor – – Overlay to protect properties of historic, architectural or cultural significance from visual impacts of development along routes of tourist access  

PROFFERS: No

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: Rural Areas – preserve and protect agricultural, forestal, open space, and natural, historic and scenic resources/residential density 0.5 unit/acre in development lots. Rural Areas 3 Comp Plan Area.


Keep in mind that this is a different site and design as the one that was proposed in 2021. This the the Daily Progress story from January 2021. (read the whole thing)

Community members are questioning the location of a proposed cell tower in western Albemarle County.

The tower is proposed for slightly south of Interstate 64 along Greenwood Station Road. Verizon wants to build a 94-foot-tall monopole with two antenna arrays on the site, and will need a special-use permit from the Board of Supervisors.

During a community meeting Monday, nearby property owners questioned the selection process of the site and why the tower was not being proposed for somewhere else.

(PDF of that story is here, for when the Daily Progress inevitably changes their URL structure)

And for some of the twitter conversation from 2021.