|Upcoming Board of Supervisors Public Hearing — Read the Plan, Attend the Public Hearing, and Share Your Feedback Since September 2019, Albemarle County has been exploring, alongside the Crozet community, how to best reflect the community’s vision for the future of Crozet in the latest update to the Crozet Master Plan. |
The Crozet Master Plan includes five chapters: Introduction, Transportation, Land Use, Conservation, and Implementation.
Over the summer, community members shared feedback on earlier drafts of the Master Plan through an online questionnaire, at virtual Crozet Community Advisory Committee meetings, and in-person at community pop-ups. A public hearing with the Albemarle County Planning Commission was held last month.
The latest draft Master Plan incorporates comments and feedback shared over the summer. The current draft will be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors at a public hearing on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 6 pm.
Review the draft online
Reading Sean Tubbs’ Week Ahead, and there is quite a bit that affects not just Albemarle, but Crozet specifically. You really should read the whole thing.
But knowing that most people care about what affects them directly, I looked at the Transportation Update and looked for “Crozet.”
“The following projects have been discussed as possible 2022 Smart Scale applications by either Albemarle County or the TJPDC:”
#21. Crozet Ave/US 250 West Intersection Improvements – This intersection was identified in the Crozet Area Transportation Study and ongoing Master Plan update as currently experiencing failing movements and significant failure in the future. However, it should be noted that this priority ranking was set prior to that Study which showed that the more serious issue in this segment of 250 is the Old Trail/WAHS/US 250 intersection. It is staff’s recommendation that it would be more effective to address that intersection prior to the Crozet Ave intersection. A two-lane roundabout at both the WAHS/Old Trail/250 intersection and the Brownsville-Henley entrance are recommended to address the issues in this segment.
The results of the Smart Scale Projects submitted in 2020 which were approved with the Six-Year Improvement Program at the Commonwealth Transportation Board July include the following projects:
#82. I-64/Exit 107 Crozet Park and Ride Lot: This project will construct a park and ride lot at the corner of Patterson Mill Lane and US 250 just south of the I-64 interchange. This lot could potentially be served by both the Crozet Connect and the proposed Afton Express transit lines.
- Crozet Square – This project will reconstruct Crozet Square and Oak St to improve traffic flow and parking. Engineering and design phase are underway, heading into right-of-way phase; and construction is planned to begin mid-2022.
- Library Avenue Extension – Staff has been working closely with the private developer designing this project and VDOT through the engineering and design phase. This has involved numerous public and project team meetings to determine design requirements that meet VDOT standards. The project team is in the process of finalizing design, and the Right of Way phase will begin soon. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022.
Crozet Master Plan
Staff has been working on the update to the Crozet Master Plan. This quarter, the transportation study performed in association with the Master Plan was completed, and the recommendations were incorporated into the draft Master Plan. Staff also assisted in the public meetings to discuss these recommendations with the community and the Planning Commission. The draft Crozet Master Plan document was finalized, and a public hearing was held with the Planning Commission on September 14. The Board of Supervisors public hearing will be held October 20.
- Barnes Lumber development and Library Ave design – Staff continues to attend meetings with County officials, VDOT, and developers of the Barnes Lumber related to the Library Avenue Extension Project, the proposed development of the property, and necessary traffic improvements.
- ZMA202000005 Old Dominion Village – Review of the proposal and transportation aspects/impacts of this Neighborhood Model rezoning in Crozet.
- SP202000016 Claudius Crozet Park – Staff is reviewing the proposed redevelopment of the Crozet Park Recreational facilities to add an expanded exercise facility and improved pool and associated resources.
Continue reading “Crozet Transportation Update – October 2021”
I’ve started adding the year to some of these stories because we’ve had these discussions before.
I said in 2019
If you don’t have kids, please get involved, as school quality and perceived school quality affects property values. If you do have kids, get aware and involved. Even if your kids are little now, they’re going to grow up. I’m happy to talk our schools’ perceived quality about property values offline.
(read the whole thing, and the bolding below is mine)
The Albemarle County school division will start figuring out this week how to move hundreds of students from Brownsville to Crozet Elementary.
A 10-person community advisory committee will lead the first phase of that redistricting effort, which will include two public meetings in November. The school division is aiming for the School Board to make a final decision about the two schools’ boundaries in January, so it can start working with the affected families.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearby Brownsville Elementary had nearly 900 students while the building’s capacity was 764. At Crozet, enrollment was up to 360 students, 30 more than the building’s capacity.
The committee will hold its first virtual work session Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Additional work sessions are scheduled for Oct. 12, Oct. 26 and Nov. 16, all starting at 6 p.m. Meetings can be viewed at streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/publicmeeting.html.
Virtual public meetings to hear community input will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 and Nov. 9.
via email from Joe Fore
The Crozet Park’s proposal for an expanded recreational facility goes back before the Planning Commission this Tuesday, September 28, at 6 pm. (Meeting information here.) I support this amended plan, and I hope others do, too. (For the record, I’m not affiliated with the Park in any way—just a Crozetian who spends a lot of time there with my preschooler.)
The Park’s initial proposal did, indeed, raise many issues—from parking to construction traffic to loss of tree cover to noise levels—and the revised proposal has made numerous changes that mitigate or eliminate the vast majority of the community’s concerns. So I think this is actually a terrific example of the Park and the community working together: neighbors raised legitimate issues, and the developer took them seriously and used that feedback to improve the project. Aside from the Downtown Crozet Plaza, that kind of collaboration is rare in Crozet. It should be a model for other projects.
I’d encourage everyone to see for themselves the Park’s presentation, which details the current plan and the revisions they’ve made in response to community members’ concerns. (As just one example, I was originally upset that the plan would eliminate the small playground just to the south of the pool. The revised plan addresses that by adding a brand-new playground just to the west of the facility building.)
Online, some Crozetians have opposed the project because, in their view, it would result in a loss of “greenspace.” After looking at the revised plan, I wanted to briefly respond to their specific points.
(1) The proposal doesn’t meaningfully “reduce existing greenspace”
Yes, it’s true that this proposal would increase the amount of concrete in the Park, but it’s not a huge increase—compared to the overall Park land. The Park’s presentation (p. 8) notes that buildings would go from taking up 1.6% of the Park’s total land to 4.6%. Sidewalks and parking lots would go from about 10% to 12.5% of the park’s total area. So, overall, the project would increase the Park’s hardscape from about 12.5% of the Park’s total land to about 17%. But more than 80% of the Park would remain “open space” and athletic fields.
More importantly, though, it’s not as if they are clear-cutting forest or building on undeveloped land to do this. Consider what’s currently on the land where they propose to build the facility: A recreation center, pool, parking lots, roads, playground, and trees. And what does the Park propose for that site? A larger recreation center, pool, parking lots, roads, playground, and trees. To be sure, not all of those replacement trees will be mature; they’ll take time to grow. And, yes, we’ll lose a bit of grassy field—though in a part of the park that folks hardly use. But it’s not fair to equate this with other kinds of new development that we’ve seen in Crozet—like the clearing of virgin forest to build neighborhoods.
Lastly, a quick point about the trees: while the project will require removing some trees, the project will actually result in a net gain of 150 trees. Page 10 of the report notes that they will have to remove 44 trees; but they are planting 194 new ones to replace the ones lost and to create a visual buffer.
(2) “Greenspace” doesn’t just mean “open land”
As some have correctly noted, Crozet Park is currently designated as “Greenspace.” But “Greenspace” is a bit of a misnomer; that designation isn’t reserved for vacant, untouched forest or natural areas. Even under the 2010 Master Plan, the “Greenspace” category included both “environmental features, “open space,” and “privately owned park and recreational areas which may be active or passive.”
Moreover, the updated Crozet Master Plan (page 13) clarifies this somewhat confusing category and replaces “Greenspace” with two separate designations: “Green Systems” and “Public Land.” “Green systems” are what we typically think of as “greenspace,” and it includes “sensitive environmental features,” “privately-owned open space,” and “natural areas.” But Crozet Park is designated as “Public Land,” which is intended for “active, passive, or social recreational use.” Indeed, the Plan specifically says that while such land should contain few buildings, “community serving uses such as public recreational amenities can be considered.” That’s exactly what this project is.
(3) The proposal doesn’t reduce recreational opportunities; it increases them
Some commenters have noted, correctly, that the Crozet Master Plan’s Conservation section emphasizes enhancing “outdoor recreation.” But (a) the proposed facility doesn’t decrease outdoor recreation opportunities, and (b) outdoor recreation is not the only type of recreation we need in the area.
First, the proposed facility doesn’t diminish Crozetian’s opportunity for outdoor recreation. The proposed facility is being built on the sparsely used western side of the park. I’m at the park several times per week with my preschooler. We specifically play and practice our bicycle riding on that side of the park because there’s rarely anyone there. The proposed facility won’t disturb the walking trail, the soccer fields, the baseball fields, the basketball courts, the pickle ball courts, the dog park, or the large playground, and it will retain a smaller playground in the area. So where are we losing opportunities for outdoor recreation?
Second, while the Master Plan’s Conservation chapter emphasizes outdoor recreation, that’s not the only type of recreation we need. Sure, outdoor recreation is great when the weather is warm and sunny. But what about rainy days—or the entire months of December, January, and February, when the weather is often too cold to play outside for long periods? (Of course, kids can bundle up and do some things, but it’s pretty tough to play basketball in gloves and a ski coat.)
Moreover, the facility will be more than a pool and a gym: it will be an important community gathering place. For example, the Park Board has noted that the facility will allow for greatly expanded after-school programs for kids–something that’s sorely lacking in our area.
These kinds of amenities are desperately needed in Crozet. And where would be a better place to build them? On some undeveloped open space elsewhere in town? On some currently wooded area that we’d have to clear-cut? Clearly, the least-disruptive place to put a new recreation center is right where there is already a recreation center.
Continue reading “Crozet Park’s Expanded Facility Doesn’t Threaten Crozet’s “Greenspace””
The Crozet Park Developer continues to pursue changes in the zoning rules that will allow them to build a for profit athletic center in a public park. What the developer proposes is not a building compatible with the location or surrounding neighborhoods – rather the complex is a way out of scale for the field in which it is proposed. In fact, the athletic center is more comparable to the Harris Teeter on Rte. 250 with all of its parking then any building in a 22 acre park should be.
The developer is requesting that it be granted the right to add more traffic on the local roads that are already over taxed and acknowledge what changes to the roads will have to done will be determined after it has this right.
The developer is asking for a zoning exemption to build its building closer to neighboring properties than is allowed. The developer justifies its position not by accommodating the required setback but, instead by changing the measuring points without regard to how it impacts the rights of the adjacent neighbors.
The developer’s proposal includes the intention to buy Nutrient credits rather than deal with Storm Water run-off created by its elimination of green space even though this was a specific criticism of its earlier submission.
The developer’s presentation includes new charts and renderings that rely on exceptional artistic license and appears to circumvent the criticisms raised by the Planning Commission who disapproved the proposal in March 2021.
The Planning Staff issued a point by point criticism of the project in March based on the comments from the Planning Commissioners which the developer has avoided addressing directing. On the following pages is an annotated version of the complete text of the Commission’s March comments.
THIS LETTER FROM THE COUNTY OMITS STRONG COMMISSIONER COMMENTS REGARDING THE LACK OF OUTREACH BY THE PARK TO COMMUNICATE WITH ITS NEIGHBORS.
THE PARK HAS NOT ASKED TO MEET WITH THE PARKSIDE VILLAGE BOARD OR RESIDENTS OF HILLTOP STREET.
Important Disclosure: I live in the neighborhood adjacent to Crozet Park. I have my opinions about the project, but I’ll not share them here.
|CROZET, VA Over 120 Artists and Exhibitors are coming back to Crozet Park for the 41st Annual Crozet Fall Arts and Crafts Festival! Recognized as one of the region’s leading fine arts and craft shows, the Crozet Arts & Craft Festival will be held rain or shine Saturday and Sunday, October 9th and 10th from 10 am to 5:30 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday.|
Safety is a priority for this socially-distanced, outdoor event. The Festival will implement COVID safety protocols, such as social distancing markers and additional hand sanitizing stations. The outdoor festival grounds and parking areas at Crozet Park allow for artists and patrons plenty of room for social distancing.
Artists: Top artists from across the country vied to be a part of the 41st bi-annual Crozet Art & Craft Festival on Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day weekend. From a large pool of creative candidates, a panel of talented and professional artist jurors chose the best in each arts category. Many new artists will join the seasoned and returning favorites of the past.
This year’s exhibitors will bring to Crozet an array of stunning jewelry, trendsetting apparel and leather, magnificent artwork, photography and exceptionally crafted glass, ceramics, sculpture, and more. Festival guests will find something for almost every taste and pocketbook, ranging from affordable gift giving to heirloom investments.
Music: The festival’s fine arts and crafts will be complemented by a variety of types and styles of popular local musicians playing throughout the days. On Saturday we welcome Driftwood Radio, The Skyline Country Cloggers, Wicked Olde, and The Sweet Potatoes. Performing on Sunday are Victoria Lee, Orta Vez, and Jackson Cunningham.
Food & Beer: An appetizing selection of Food Trucks will be complemented by beer from Starr-Hill Brewery and Three Roads Brewing Company and wine from Stinson Vineyards and Kings Family Vineyards.
Kids’ Area: The children’s area includes beloved musical guests Kim and Jimbo Cary, crafts with The Hive, balloon animals, and more!
Crozet Park treats exhibitors and guests to a most relaxing, accessible setting. Located just off the Route 64 bypass, take exit #107 west of Charlottesville by 20 minutes, Crozet Park is a beautiful, community-owned non-profit park that is the beneficiary of these Art Festival Events.
Volunteering for Crozet Park Art & Craft Festival is easy and fun with sign ups at: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0e48a4af2ea75-crozet12
Tickets are $7 and children under 12 are free. Our event is pet-friendly! Everyone is encouraged to purchase their ticket online this year ahead of time to help with Covid safety. Tickets are available at: https://buytickets.at/crozetartsandcraftsfestival
Parking is free.
For more information please visit https://www.crozetfestival.com/
Ewa Harr is the current director of the event.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival evolves and grows when the Crozet Park growth plans are underway.
From Alison Wrabel with the Daily Progress. (read the whole thing). Interesting times in Crozet as we try to balance growth, affordable housing, infrastructure …. basically all the stuff that affects us every day. I wonder how many of us attended the Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night?
The draft of the updated Crozet Master Plan took another step forward Tuesday night.
The Albemarle County Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the updated Crozet Master Plan with one change — land near downtown that had previously had its possible density increased in the future land use map was recommended to be reduced.
The Crozet community and Albemarle County began updating the Crozet Master Plan in 2019, which helps to guide decisions about land use, transportation and parks in the area, and the draft will now move forward to the Board of Supervisors. The board is scheduled to hold its public hearing virtually at 6 p.m. Oct. 20.
When adopted, the Master Plan will be part of Albemarle’s Comprehensive Plan, which guides the county’s long-term vision for land use and resource protection. County staff and supervisors look to the Comprehensive Plan as part of the rezoning process, but it is not law.
The process has been contentious, especially around population growth and infrastructure issues around roads, schools and sidewalks in Crozet, which has seen its population increase from about 5,565 in 2010 to approximately 9,224 in 2020, according to census data.
This thing is going to come to fruition sooner rather than later.
From Sean Tubbs’ outstanding week ahead email (read the whole thing, and subscribe if you can). Heck, ask me, and I’ll buy you one. It’s $50/year and if you’re interested in learning more and supporting local news, I’d welcome that opportunity.
Crozet Master Plan public hearing
The Albemarle County Planning Commission meets virtually at 6 p.m. There are two public hearings. (meeting info)
In the first, the Field School is requesting an amendment to a special use permit that requires them to begin construction of their new facility on Barracks Road. The Board of Supervisors approved a permit in March 2017 for a new school to be constructed on land in the rural area. The terms of the approval state the new building has to be under construction by the end of February 2022.
“Construction plans to establish the new Field School Campus on the property were put on hold as the global pandemic created a great deal of uncertainty for future funding opportunities and general construction feasibility,” reads the narrative by Shimp Engineering. “Field School of Charlottesville looks forward to continue working towards creating its new campus on the property and in light of some funding setbacks and the global COVID-19 pandemic; respectfully requests more time to bring this long-anticipated and worked-for vision to fruition.”
The Field School currently operates out of the old Crozet High School, which is addressed in the draft version of the Crozet Master Plan.
“The County should solicit community input to help determine an appropriate use of the school building and adjacent grounds,” reads page LU-25 of the plan. “Consideration should be given to uses that support the County’s goals for Affordable Housing, school needs, and uses that provide historic and cultural programming.”
However, I suspect that is not the kind of input the Planning Commission will hear at the public hearing on the plan. Comprehensive Planning can tend to bring forward strong opinions about the future of communities as we’ve seen with the Cville Plans Together initiative and during the Crozet plan’s review.
Crozet is one of several designated growth areas in Albemarle and the first master plan was adopted in December 2004 as a subsection of the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Board of Supervisors approved an update in October 2010. The idea is to review these plans every five years, but an update was delayed as work continued on other master plans such as one for Pantops and the Rio-29 Small Area Plan. In recent years, Albemarle has conducted this planning work in-house.
This update finally got underway with a community visioning process followed by many input sessions with the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. The Board of Supervisors reviewed a nearly complete draft in early August.
“The Board of Supervisors reviewed the draft Master Plan and agreed with the majority of the Planning Commission’s implementation recommendations,” reads the staff report.
To achieve the land use goal of creating more units that qualify under county guidelines as affordable housing, staff has created the land use category of “middle density residential” to have a range of between six to 12 units per acre, with up to 18 if below-market affordable housing is guaranteed. Some stories about what’s been going on:
- September 2020 article about Crozet being a test for “missing middle” housing
- March 14, 2021: Crozet’s growing pains emerge during master plan discussion; Ground broken for new public housing in Charlottesville
- April 14, 2021: Albemarle Supervisors weigh in on Crozet Plan; Albemarle PC briefed on comp plan update
“The Board discussed the application of the Middle Density Residential land use category both throughout Crozet and specifically to the block bounded by Tabor Street, Crozet Avenue, Dunvegan Lane, and High Street,” the staff report continues. “They directed staff to leave the future land use plan as is for the public hearing process to allow for additional community and Planning Commission feedback on the proposed change to the Tabor Street block.”
This will be an interesting story to write.
A virtual meeting is being conducted on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST to discuss the Beaver Creek Watershed Structure No. 1 Planning Study. The project team will update the public on the status of the project, present the evaluated spillway upgrade alternatives and describe the sponsors preferred alternative. The project is located in Albemarle County approximately one-half mile north-northwest of the intersection of Browns Gap Turnpike/VA-680 and Three Notched Road/VA-240 and involves the rehabilitation of Beaver Creek Dam No. 1 to meet State and Federal requirements for high-hazard dams. The multi-purpose Beaver Creek Reservoir No. 1, operated by the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA), serves as the sole municipal water supply for the Crozet Area in Albemarle County.
This meeting will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. A link to the meeting location will be posted to RWSA’s website at https://www.rivanna.org/rwsa-projects-map/beaver-creek-improvements/. Residents and interested parties will have the opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns about the project to the team. Following the meeting, the presentation will be posted to RWSA’s website for anyone who is unable to attend live. Questions and comments will be received until October 20, 2021. Additional details for accessing the recorded meeting and submitting feedback will be provided during the live presentation and posted to RWSA’s website.
click through to read the whole thing.
The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) presented an update on our drinking water supply and production, wastewater treatment, and local projects in progress for the Crozet area. RWSA Executive Director Bill Mawyer described $41.5 million in projects, ranging from those just completed (such as improvements to the water treatment plant and filtration system) to those on the horizon such as a new Beaver Creek Reservoir pump station and improvements to the Beaver Creek Dam scheduled for 2024-2026. These projects are paid for by all customers of the Albemarle County Service Authority via their water bills.
The Beaver Creek dam, pump station, and piping modification needs are driven by upgrades required by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s dam safety standards. The project will replace the major infrastructure elements that carry water to Crozet’s water treatment plant and will install a new labyrinth spillway in the dam at a total cost of $27 million.
Mawyer noted two bits of news that may alleviate the concerns of Beaver Creek area residents.
One issue is the construction-related closure of the road that runs across the dam, which would send traffic from Browns Gap Turnpike on a long detour via White Hall Road. “We’ve had some meetings and conversations with our consultants about closing that road and we are now thinking we can build a temporary road actually on the water side of the dam and maintain traffic during construction,” he said. “There was talk about building a detour road around the lower side of the dam that was going to be very difficult and expensive, but now we’re much more optimistic that we can build a road on the inside of the dam. We’ll keep you informed about that.”
Mawyer also discussed potential sites for the new raw water pumping station that will have to be located just off shore in the reservoir just above the dam. “At one time we were looking at a site adjacent to the Clark family’s property but we’ve done more research into the property, the topography, and the cost and now we’re focusing on two other sites [that sit closer to the dam], so hopefully that will work out.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will also weigh in on the new site locations as the RWSA is asking that agency to foot 65% of the bill for the dam project.
As for Crozet’s water supply, Beaver Creek Reservoir’s water pool is currently two feet below normal levels, and is 85% full with about 430 million gallons of water (usable supply). The community’s water demand is 0.5 to 1.1 million gallons per day, and Mawyer said the reservoir currently holds about seven months’ worth of storage with no additional inflow.
Alison Wrabel has a fantastic story about whether Crozet could become a town. Please read it the whole thing, and not just this snippet.
Some Crozet residents are still agitated by the final draft of a plan to help guide future growth in the area, and some want to seriously look at what it would take to become a town.
In 2019, the community and Albemarle County began updating the Crozet Master Plan, which helps to guide decisions about land use, transportation and parks in the area, and the draft will be the topic of a county Planning Commission hearing next month.
An online questionnaire is available until Sept. 14 for community members to view and provide feedback on the draft at publicinput.com/M8451. Comments also may be submitted directly to Albemarle Planning Manager Rachel Falkenstein at [email protected].
The Planning Commission will hold its public hearing virtually at 6 p.m. Sept. 14. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold its public hearing virtually at 6 p.m. Oct. 20.
At a recent meeting of the Crozet Community Advisory Committee — a group appointed by the Board of Supervisors to provide assistance, feedback and input to county staff and the board on efforts around the area’s Master Plan — several members and area residents expressed dissatisfaction with the process and the final draft of the updated plan.
When adopted, the Master Plan will be part of Albemarle’s Comprehensive Plan, which guides the county’s long-term vision for land use and resource protection. County staff and supervisors look to the Comprehensive Plan as part of the rezoning process.
Some Crozet residents have expressed frustration with the area’s growing population and infrastructure issues around roads, schools and sidewalks.
- Crozet Should Become a Town (from 2021)
- In January of this year, we had this discussion, and I aggregated all of the relevant stories dating back to 2007.
If you can, watch the most recent CCAC meeting where this was discussed.
An interesting and relevant thought on the “Middle Density” discussion:
The key to this lower level of emissions is density. Concentrating people, businesses, and services makes public transportation more feasible, apartment buildings (which are generally more energy-efficient than single-family homes) more common, and ultimately preserves more land.