“The video is posted on our websitehttps://youtu.be/qBH8AkHalKM is the direct link. The Commission approved the project it will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors.”
There is a lot of organization against this development; I’d love to see as much (or more!) passion for adding more housing for neighbors, but we are where we are. I’ll update this post after the Planning Commission Hearing.
The Albemarle Planning Commission meets at 4 p.m.(Tuesday 26 September) in Lane Auditorium of the county office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info) (agenda)
(please consider becoming a paid subscriber; no one else or organization in the region is offering the comprehensive content and context as Sean Tubbs)
Albemarle PC to hold work session on stream protection overlay; public hearing for Montclair development in Crozet
The Albemarle Planning Commission meets at 4 p.m. in Lane Auditorium of the county office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info) (agenda)
The work session will review work to date on the establishment of a riparian buffer overlay district. Since 2017, county staff have been working on the development of strategies to improve the health of streams. A first phase is complete with thirteen proposals, some of which have been implemented.
“Proposal 1 of the Stream Health Initiative was for the creation of a stream-buffer overlay district within the Zoning Ordinance, with the goal of re-establishing the pre-2014 Water Protection Ordinance (WPO) requirement to retain existing wooded stream buffers throughout the defined buffer areas,” reads the staff report.
At the moment, these buffers are only required during the land disturbing activities. A public engagement process is complete for a draft ordinance.
“The next step for this project will be for staff to prepare a revised draft of these ordinances, taking the public input and the Planning Commission’s input into account,” the report continues.
Expect Commissioner Lonnie Murray to do a lot of talking.
The second is for a rezoning in Crozet that is now known as Montclair but had been known as White Gate Village. Developer Vito Cetta wants around 15 acres to the Neighborhood Model District for construction of a maximum of 122 units as well as an amendment to the jurisdictional areas of the Albemarle County Service Authority.
The Comprehensive Plan calls for a mixture of Neighborhood Density Residential (3 to 6 units per acre) and Middle Density Residential (6 to 12 units, or up to 18 if affordable housing units are provided).
The county’s Water Protection Ordinance comes into play here. The classification of a stream that runs along the property has been disputed. In January, the county engineer determined the stream is intermittent which brings requirements for vegetated buffers.
“The developer of Montclair appealed this determination because they believed the stream was more appropriately classified as an ephemeral stream, and therefore would not be subject to further regulation under the WPO,” reads the staff report.
The Director of Community Development upheld the county engineer and the developer revised the proposal accordingly.
I remember the countless discussions, meetings, and fundraising for the Crozet Library. The passing of books from the old Crozet Library (current Crozet Artisan Depot), stopping at the library with one of my daughters on our way home from Crozet Elementary.
Libraries are amazing, and we owe a debt of thanks and gratitude to all of those who worked tirelessly to build – and furnish! – the Crozet Library. And thanks to all those who keep the Crozet Library amazing.
I am so happy to share with you the great lineup of events coming up – and personally invite you all to Crozet Library’s 10th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, September 29th from 3-4:30pm. It’s a day out of school, and 10 years to the day that this building was officially opened for business in its new location. Come celebrate with apple cider donuts, fun activities, photo montages, and some words from the people that helped make this magical place a reality in this community event.
Five Year Plan Survey – take it today!
In addition, we are hoping to get your feedback to plan the future of the library for the upcoming 5 years! Take the 5 Year Plan surveytoday to help inform future library services and let your voice be heard. Participants will be eligible for a gift card drawing. You can read more about the survey and what JMRL can use it for at the JMRL blog.
In the Sugar Hollow area, we are experiencing extreme drought (despite what the TV weathermen tell you). All the streams along Sugar Hollow Road (but one or two) have stopped flowing, and trees and herbaceous plants are wilting badly with some dying. In other words, our ground water is being depleted due to a lack of replenishing rain coupled with extreme heat, as well as more usage by more people living here.
If you live in a similarly impacted area, I’d like to suggest you consider the following, please:
STOP mowing grass so short! When lawn is scalped (as most people cut it), soil is exposed, allowing precious moisture to evaporate instead of sink into the ground. Leaving grass taller helps shade the soil to maintain moisture longer for the use of your grass (and other plants) and perhaps make it to the water table (depending upon environmental conditions). Additionally, grass kept constantly at such a short height is detrimental to the health of trees, which is why so many large oaks in large expanses of grass are dying (drive on rte 810 by Grace Estate winery to see what I’m talking about). When the soil dries out, tree roots die.
TO HELP WILDLIFE, put out sunflower and white millet seeds for finches and sparrows (a towhee is a sparrow) to make up for the flowering plants that are dying. VDOT’s untimely mowing today is seriously impacting food availability for pollinators and birds, especially. If you don’t have a pond or bird bath, it’d be nice if you considered placing a shallow container of water on the ground where toads, birds, and other animals can drink from it. HOWEVER, don’t do this if you or a neighbor allows cats to roam freely.
The drought in the Sugar Hollow area so adversely affected my gardens that even so-called invasive plants much better suited to drought than most native plants are dying. Wildlife depends upon plants, and all of us depend upon availability of water, so I would hope everyone would take this situation seriously and do their utmost to help conserve the limited amount of water available. Thanks so much.
The School Board to Board of Supervisors bit is always interesting (for me, from a real estate perspective — they are planning for a new school new Mountainside Elementary, as well as redistricting on 29 North, and a Center II new Lambs Lane Campus (I had no idea it was called that — “which houses Albemarle High School, Journey Middle School, Greer Elementary School, Ivy Creek School and other division buildings.”
WHEREAS, concerns have been received from residents along and near Park Ridge Drive in Albemarle County regarding speeding and unsafe conditions for drivers and pedestrians along Park Ridge Drive; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) offers various programs to address certain traffic problems on local streets, including the Traffic Calming Program; and
WHEREAS, VDOT provides communities with guidance and procedures to implement traffic calming on neighborhood streets, as outlined in the Traffic Calming Guide for Neighborhood Streets; and
WHEREAS, the Traffic Calming Guide for Neighborhood Streets specifies that a locality must conduct an engineering study that includes a speed study and traffic count; and
WHEREAS, the VDOT District Office is willing to complete an official speed study and traffic count on behalf of Albemarle County, provided this action is requested by a resolution from the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors hereby requests that VDOT complete a speed study and traffic count of Park Ridge Drive between Eastern Avenue and Raven Stone Road.
Public hearings in Albemarle on photo speed cameras, Miller School expansion
The six member Albemarle Board of Supervisors meets at 1 p.m. in Lane Auditorium in the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (agenda) (meeting info)
After the Pledge of Allegiance, announcements from Board members, matters from the public, and the consent agenda, Supervisors will consider a petition from Woodard Properties requesting the vacation of 430-feet of right of way dedicated to the county in 1968 for construction of a portion of Colonnade Drive that was not built.
Woodard Properties to use the land for more housing units above the 96 permitted under an active site plan, but staff is recommending denial of the request to preserve interconnection to another nearby parcel zoned R-15.
“In order to abandon a public road, the Board must find either that no public necessity exists for the continuance of a section of road as a public road, or that the public would be served best by abandoning the section of road,” reads the staff analysis.
The location map for the right of way dedicated in 1968 for a roadway that’s not been built. (Credit: Albemarle County)
The meeting continues with an update on the due diligence Albemarle County is doing as it seeks to complete a contract to purchase 462 acres near Rivanna Station from developer Wendell Wood for a purchase price of $58 million. The cost may be slightly more if the county takes more time to conduct environmental and financing work.
“The purchase agreement provides a 90-day due diligence period, extendable with a fee in 30-day increments,” reads the staff report. “The first three 30-day increments would cost $50,000 per increment and the final three 30-day increments would cost $100,000 per increment.”
If you’re new to this story, here are some previous stories:
Fans of transportation rejoice! Albemarle County staff will go through recent activities and provide updates on projects. I’ve missed a couple of items I have wanted to report, so I’ll hoping to provide some updates of my own! At any given point there are many transportation studies underway and my hope is to get as many of you looking at them as possible so you can have your stay. (here’s the raw report)
For now, here are some items:
An application for federal funds to study a 3.2 mile section of U.S. 29 from Hydraulic Road to Hilton Heights Road did not make the cut. However, county staff met with counterparts in the U.S. Department of Transportation and have been encouraged to resubmit the application to a new grant program called the Neighborhood Access and Equity program.
Supervisors will be updated on Smart Scale applications that have been funded including the District Avenue Roundabout, intersection improvements at Belvedere Boulevard and Rio Road, and bike improvements along Avon Street from Druid Avenue to Avon Court. More details in my story from July 9, 2023.
A project to install “pedestrian facilities” on Solomon Road and Inglewood Drive between Hydraulic Road and Georgetown Road is on hold due to workload and staff limitations.
There’s an update on the two “pipeline studies” underway at the Virginia Department of Transportation. These are in the Old Ivy Road area and the Barracks Road area. I’ll have more details coming soon in Charlottesville Community Engagement.
“Stakeholders” are concerned that a project at the U.S. 29 / Fontaine Avenue interchange funded in Smart Scale Round Four “does not meet the needs of the rapidly developing area.” The staff report doesn’t tell you who those stakeholders are but I reported in much more detail in an April 13 story.
The Virginia Department of Transportation has completed an initial review of Plank Road to see if a through-truck restriction would be appropriate. Albemarle staff report that the conditions of the roadway meet the objective criteria. The next step would be a public hearing on a formal request.
Construction will begin next spring for a pedestrian bridge across U.S. 29 just north of the Hydraulic Road intersection. Work will begin for a roundabout at Hillsdale and Hydraulic will be the following summer. These are all part of a Smart Scale funded project.
Three large projects funded through Smart Scale will be bundled into one with a public hearing coming later this summer. These are the roundabout at John Warner Parkway and Rio Road, Route 20/Route 53 intersection improvements, and a roundabout at Old Lynchburg Road and 5th Street Extended. The idea is to hire one contractor to create efficiencies. This strategy has been used on the Route 29 Solutions project as well as several recent intersection projects.
The strategy will be used for two other projects. These are the Route 250 East Corridor Improvements and intersection improvements at Route 20/U.S. 250. A public hearing on those will be coming up for the fall.
There’s so much more in the report. More details this week including a report from the Virginia Department of Transportation. (read that report)
In the evening there are two land use public hearings and two public hearings for ordinance changes.
First, Community Christian Academy seeks a special use permit to increase enrollment from 85 to 150 students. This is part of a trend across the Fifth District with private schools seeking capacity increases to fulfill increased demand for alternatives to public school after the pandemic. (item materials)
“Not only did the public-school shutdowns emphasize the benefits that private schools offer our community, but also the increasing enrollments in many, if not all, of our private schools emphasize the desire and need for more educational options,” reads the narrative.
The Planning Commission voted 6 to 0 on June 27 to recommend approval.
The second public hearing is also for a private school.
“The Miller School would like to plan for the future of the institution,” reads a narrative prepared by Line and Grade for a request for a special permit for the school to becoming compliant with the zoning code. They also want to eventually expand up to 500 students including a partnership with the Seven Rivers Day School.
The Planning Commission voted 6 to 0 to recommend approval at their meeting on June 13.
Credit: Line and Grade
Next there will be a public hearing on whether Albemarle should allow photo speed monitoring devices in school crossing and highway work zones. The General Assembly enabled localities to do so in 2020
“If the proposed ordinance is adopted… County staff will begin procurement of a vendor to assist in implementing a speed enforcement program in school crossing and highway work zones,” reads the staff report.
The fourth public hearing appears to be to correct a clerical error wherein the phrase “motor vehicle” was used instead of “dwelling unit.” (staff report)
Let’s finish up with the consent agenda:
Supervisors will approve the minutes for three meetings from 2021. There are no approved meetings yet for all of 2022.
There are several appropriations for Fiscal Year 2023 including $300,000 in additional revenue from EMS cost recovery that will be used to cover the cost of running additional calls. There’s also a payment of $38,069 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville pursuant to a performance agreement held by the Economic Development Authority. (more details)
There are also several appropriations for FY2024 including the acceleration of the purchase of a $970,000 ladder truck which still won’t be delivered until FY2025. There’s also $222,000 in federal revenue to allow the Police Department to purchase “drones, ballistic shields and thermal imaging, which will aid in officer safety, further reduce violent situations and reduce gun violence within the community.” (more details)
Kaki Dimock will become the county’s Chief Human Services Officer completing a reorganization of the social services and human services programming. She’ll oversee the Office of Human Services, Office of Housing, Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the Broadband Accessibility and Affordability Office. Mary Stebbins will be the Director of Social Services. (more details)
Supervisors will be asked to forgive $11,036.37 in unpaid interest on a specific loan for downpayment assistance brokered through the Albemarle County Housing Assistance Program. In October, Supervisors will review potential changes to that program including a move to have all future loans be zero interest. ACHAP is managed by the Piedmont Housing Alliance. (more details)
There is a written report telling anyone who’s interested in what the closed-door Land Use and Environmental Planning Committee has been up to. Even though members of the public cannot attend these meetings, I’ve managed to write quite a few stories anyway in my quest to keep people informed about regional planning. Take a look at the report. What do you think?
I-64 Exit 107 Park and Ride — to be advertised in Fall 2024
Rte. 680 Browns Gap Turnpike Bridge Replacement over Lickinghole Creek — to be advertised in June 2025
Rte.151/250 Roundabout – Under construction. Expected completion Spring 2023 (I’d argue it’s nearly complete?)
Under the “completed studies” heading
250/1815 Old Trail | Crosswalk markings have been installed.
1815 Old Trail at Bishop Gate Ln. | ADA ramps installed. Mid-block crosswalk to be installed Summer 2023.
Studies under review:
Route 240 at Music City Today and Starr Hill Brewery | Pedestrian Crossing | Field investigation complete; Plans have been finalized, estimated cost approximately $153k — seriously, why has this taken so long? It’s not that hard.
Looking at the ACSA & RWSA reports, a few Crozet-centric things
Crozet Phase 4 Water Main Replacement – This project replaces aging and undersized asbestos-cement and PVC water mains along Rockfish Gap Turnpike, Crozet Avenue, Hillsboro Lane, and the neighborhood streets of the Park View subdivision. The final easement was recently acquired, and we are working to secure plan approval from Albemarle County before bidding the project later this summer.
Risk Assessment Improvements – As part of an on-going emergency preparedness program, the ACSA is in a multi-phase effort to reduce risk and increase resilience. Projects include additional security measures, fencing and access gate enhancements, cybersecurity measures, and additional tank protection. Work is focused on our tanks and pump station locations.
The production of drinking water for the Urban area (Charlottesville and adjacent developed areas of Albemarle, not including Crozet) averaged 9.48 million gallons per day (MGD) in May 2023 (FY 2023), which was similar to the five-year average for May (9.49 MGD),
Urban wastewater flow for May 2023 (9.55 MGD), including flows from Crozet, was below the five-year average for May (10.47 MGD),
Crozet Wastewater Pump Stations Rehabilitation
Scope: Replacement of pumps, valves and electrical gear in four pump stations constructed in the 1980’s which convey wastewater from Crozet to the Moores Creek Treatment Plant. Completion: January 2025 – December 2026
Cost: $10.3 million; 52% ACSA / 48% City
K. Beaver Creek Dam, Pump Station and Piping Improvements
Scope: Replace the spillway which protects the reservoir dam along with the water pump station and piping which convey water to the Crozet Water Treatment Plant.
The responses to “What do you love about living in Crozet?” were great.
Nature (access to great trails and hiking, beautiful skies, etc), the people, the pace…
I don’t live there now but I loved looking at the mountains first thing every day
Trails, green space, views, more rural, less congested
So many awesome options to be outside with kids- parks, picking fruit/pumpkins, vineyards, and the views all over! All with a small town vibe
Waking up each day to see what show the mountains were putting on for me (I moved away a couple of months ago). I miss the mountains the most.
That fact that no matter the weather, Fardowners will be open.
With the exception of downslope windstorms, (which won’t return probably till late fall) the weather, the mix of people& their can-do attitude. Right now I think the downtown crozet initiative (DCI) is doing an excellent job and we are going to see a transformation downtown!
Mountains, PRN, people, King Family, Chiles, short drive to either Cville or the Valley, and on and on and on. But best of all, great place to raise a family.
Small town energy and ease while being 20 minutes from Charlottesville and UVA. Specifically love the walkability, biking, access to parks and trails. And Starr Hill.
Look, Crozet has challenges. All places do. But our home is a great place to live.
What do you love about Crozet?
Crozet has been a great place to live with my family, and now my older one and her family are back with their kid. To watch lightning bugs from our patio, and hear the frogs’ chorus.
I love representing people moving to or from Crozet.
I love being able to ride my bike 5 minutes, and hear nothing but the sounds of tires and pavement, running water, see horses, mountains, or ride longer to the top of Afton Mountain. To ride with friends and cross paths with others riding or running around Crozet.
133 (down) homes sold. Average Days on Market: 29 (up). Median: 4. Average sales price: $632,011
50 (down) new construction sold – Average price: $720,826 (up)
83 (down) resale homes sold – Average price: $578,508 (down)
83 single family homes sold and 50 attached homes sold
25 homes sold under $400K; 21 of those had 3 or more bedrooms
Average age of home sold in 2023: 15 years
128 homes were listed.
From 1 January 2022 to 30 June 2022
151 homes sold. Average Days on Market: 18. Median: 4. Average sales price: $649,280
61 new construction sold – Average price: $705,529
90 resale homes sold – Average price: $611,156
113 single family homes sold and 38 attached homes sold
31 homes sold under $400K; 25 of those had 3 or more bedrooms
144 homes were listed.
Will home prices in Crozet come down?
Maybe. But if you are able to buy now, and you have life/job security, what might be the opportunity cost of waiting? As I tell my clients, I can’t answer that. I know that houses have appreciated, even as mortgage rates have increased substantially.
Will interest rates come down or go up?
Specific questions that only buyers/sellers can ask and answer (with professional guidance?)
There’s really only one question, usually — Should I wait to buy or sell?
# of homes sold in 1st half of 2023; some of the neighborhoods
attached + detached homes. neighborhoods with more than 1 sale.
The one thing I’d add to what I wrote below is that mortgage rates are causing more homeowners to stay where they are rather than move up or down, especially if they are staying in Crozet or Charlottesville/Albemarle.
One of the most common conversations I have is this:
-Prices are so high! I should sell my house.
-I agree. (knowing the next part of the short conversation)
-Where would I go?
– Nowhere; you’re going to stay where you are.
Mortgage interest rates are causing the market to shift
Looking at interest rates through this lens:*
$650K price. 20% down 3.25% Principal + Interest payment= $2,263
* note:these numbers are for just Principal and Interest; a full mortgage payment is comprised of Principal + Interest + (property) Taxes + (homeowners’) Insurance. Hence the commonly-referenced “PITI payment.” If you’re in a HOA, factor those fees in as well.
The Comprehensive Plan update is being called AC44 to reflect the target year of 2044. The first set of results are in for the first round of public input for the second phase.
“The AC44 team reviewed community input from the first round of engagement in Phase 2, from 532 questionnaire responses, six pop-ups in each magisterial district, and approximately 130 participants in 15 community chats,” reads an email sent out this morning.
That response rate is around 0.4 percent of the total population.
A summary of the responses has also been sent out. Question ten sought to gauge concern about housing affordability in the future. Seventy-four respondents were very concerned, 217 were somewhat concerned, and 231 were not concerned at all.
All of the data from the full questionnaire are also available for review on the AC44 website. The vast majority of respondents live in single-family homes (432 out of 526) and own their homes (460 out of 519).
43% of respondents – who are already homeowners – are not concerned about affordable housing.
Edit: The first title for this post was, “I’ve Got Mine;” I’m editing it because it’s a more opinionated title than I typically publish. I’d rather the post be about the comp plan, and not my opinion, though I still wish we’d think of others more when responding to surveys.