Crozet’s Infrastructure Needs

Good story from C-Ville. We need roads, bike lanes, sidewalks. No report yet on when those will appear.

Good comments on the facebook post.

From C-Ville (read the whole thing)

A fire along Old Three Notch’d Road caused a rush hour roadblock February 1 on one of Crozet’s main thoroughfares: Three Notch’d Road, aka Route 240. Instead of being able to drive to downtown Crozet, drivers had to make a U-turn, return to U.S. 250 and make a right, then another right onto Crozet Avenue/Route 240, only to be part of a massive backup at the light and four-way stop near the railway trestle at Crozet Square.

High-density growth area Crozet surely has the homes, but roadways have lagged behind. Will 2018 be the year several road projects begin in earnest?

“We’ve worked hard for the past 10 years, so it would be great to finally take some steps,” says Ann Mallek, chair of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and representative of the White Hall District, which includes Crozet, where two connector road projects are in the works.

One would connect Route 240 to Route 250 through Park Ridge Drive and the Cory Farm subdivision.

The proposed Eastern Avenue Connector, which runs north-south, still has two major portions that need to be constructed, says Kevin McDermott, transportation planner for Albemarle County.

The northern piece may break ground soon. “The private developers of the Foothills-Daly development are responsible for making a connection onto Park Ridge Drive and onto Route 240,” McDermott says, and they have submitted all of the required applications.

To the south, a bridge that is needed to cross Lickinghole Creek to complete the connector road “is the sticking point and has been for many years,” says David Stoner, a member of the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. “It’s such an expensive proposition that it hasn’t risen to the top of the county’s list of projects to be funded.”

The southern-portion work is No. 12 on the county’s priority list of road projects, McDermott explains. “Because other priorities are already under way, No. 12 will be a priority in the next year,” he says.

Possibly Related:  President’s budget threatens local transit projects.

Cities and states stand to lose billions in funding for projects that are already moving toward construction. Nationally, more than 70 projects are waiting for funding from the New Starts program, and only about a dozen have been approved.

Restore N Station & Creekside at Albemarle Planning Commission – 5 December

For context, spend some time looking through this month’s CCAC meeting notes.

via email from Bill Fritz with Albemarle County:

The staff report for SP 2017-20 ReStore’n Station is now available online.  If you are not able to attend the meeting and want to provide comments to the Planning Commission please send your comments to me and I will print them out and distribute them to the Planning Commission at Tuesday’s meeting.  Any comments provided to the Planning Commission will automatically be added to the packet that is prepared for the Board of Supervisors.  At this time this item is not scheduled for the Board of Supervisors.  I will let you know as soon as a date has been set.

You can access the December 5, 2017 PC agenda and materials below.

Online

Dropbox

Hardcopies

The hard copies are still being copied and not done yet, I will send out an email once they are complete and ready for pickup.

*Note from Jim – I put the links to the dropbox & online in, rather than have them all strung out.


Continue reading “Restore N Station & Creekside at Albemarle Planning Commission – 5 December”

Planning for School Growth

Read the whole thing at Charlottesville Tomorrow.

 

An architectural consulting firm told the Albemarle County School Board on Thursday that the county would soon need new high school facilities to accommodate growing enrollment and implement innovative educational programs.

“We have to look at what the competition is doing around the world and around the country, and do what makes sense for the benefit of our kids and their education,” said Board member Jonno Alcaro.

The division forecasts much more rapid growth at Western Albemarle High School  in Crozet. Enrollment at WAHS is expected to increase by more than 21 percent, reaching a high of 1,335 in 2024.

A planned 10,000 square-foot addition of science classroom space at WAHS, scheduled for completion in 2019, was not factored into the study’s capacity calculations.

Growing Crozet Thoughtfully & Sustainably

Yes, traffic sucks sometimes (school time, anyone?), and it’s going to get worse. What if … we grew Crozet, locally and more sustainably?

We’re definitely going to get more houses … houses that don’t pay for themselves, or the infrastructure (schools, roads, etc) that we use.

Think about this story in the context of the possible redevelopment of downtown Crozet.

“They’ll see they’re working against the tide very soon when millennials eventually head to the suburbs,” he says. “We see a lot of what we call ‘millennials in mourning.’ They’re married with their first child, and the last place they think about is the urban environment. A lot of people are soon going to be at the point where finding a good place for their kid to go to school is going to be a lot more important than the coolest restaurant to hang out. Unfortunately for some companies, they may be moving into the cities just before the tide goes the other way.”

Sadly, we are in an environment that is remarkably conducive to walking or riding bikes to school, but 1.5 -2 miles is apparently an unconquerable distance for many.

What if … we had jobs to walk or ride to as well? 

Think sustainably and longer-term

If we figure that the average driver in the US does 20,000 miles a year, I’m going to use about 400 gallons of gas. A car getting 20 mpg is going to use closer to a thousand gallons. Figure that there are about 100 million actively driven cars in the US, which means that the net difference if “everybody did it” has the potential to save 60 billion gallons (600 times 100 million) of gas. A year. (* Jim’s note – this is from 2007)

We have an opportunity as a community to encourage great businesses and jobs to locate here; The more we can grow our local, read: Crozet, economy, the better for all.

Interesting corresponding facebook conversation as well.

My brief opinion: Wishing that Crozet would stay small is not realistic, and continuing to grow as primarily a bedroom community for Charlottesville is not sustainable.

Related story – Charlottesville (City) Grow or Preserve it?:

As a result, average city home values doubled between 2000 and 2010 to $321,000. And Albemarle homes—which are in the growth area and spread across the large lots countywide—have median prices of $309,000. Those aren’t New York or San Francisco figures, but they are well above the state and national medians, and show what happens when a city and county conspire to cordon off most of its land.

What happens for those who want to live here, but can’t meet this financial barrier? Many of them move further out, said Ridge Schuyler, who runs a self-sufficiency program for low-income people at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Schuyler said his program generally has two types of people: the first are extremely low-wage workers who qualify for Charlottesville’s public housing. The second are slightly higher-paid service workers who don’t qualify for public housing, yet can’t take that next step of competing for Charlottesville’s market-rate units. They’re the ones settling for outlying counties.

“If you try to move up the income ladder,” Schuyler said of this second group, “once you get into that first rung job of making $28,000 to $32,000, you are almost forced to move away.”

This explains why neighboring counties like Fluvanna, Louisa, Orange and Greene have roughly doubled their populations since 1990. Charlottesville-area workers who live out in them must also foot the higher transportation costs of driving 30-plus miles twice daily.

Quick Crozet real estate context

  • From 1 January to 12 September 2017, 243 homes (attached and single family) have sold in Brownsville + Crozet.
    • Average price is $458K.
  • 82 new homes (single family + attached) have sold in that timeframe.
    • Average price is $603K (source of this, and above: CAARMLS)
  • Crozet Real Estate Market – July 2017 Hotsheet (PDF)

Take the Crozet Community Survey – by 20 August 2017

Only a couple days left to take the Crozet Community Survey. Link to the survey can be found here.

After a delay in the mailing of a survey to gauge the Crozet community’s thoughts on growth and development, both the public and a scientific sample of households are being invited to submit their responses by Aug. 20.

Tolson said he hopes the Crozet survey results can be used to frame town hall meetings in the fall.

The 39-question survey covers a range of topics, from development near the U.S. 250-Interstate 64 interchange at exit 107 to whether the boundaries of the Crozet growth area should be expanded.

Tolson said two important areas covered in the survey are growth along the U.S. 250 corridor and in the downtown area of Crozet.

Density along U.S. 250 previously has proven to be a contentious issue. Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors denied a proposed rezoning near the Cory Farm neighborhood that would have allowed for a new development with 80 residential units. Some community members opposed the development, known as Adelaide, on the grounds that density should be limited on 250. A 35-unit development known as Sparrow Hill is now being planned for the property by-right.

As for the survey, Tolson said, “We’ve had a really good response so far. We’ve had about 780 [responses] … on the scientific sample, and about 500 or so on the public sample.”

They were aiming to get at least 600 responses for the scientific sample. Tolson said they want to collect more responses to lower the margin of error of the results.

Some background on previous master plan surveys. And a letter from a reader in March regarding wariness about the Crozet Master Plan.

A Sunday in Crozet

Bike ride past Beaver Creek followed by polo at King Family Vineyards (and then I showed a lot in Crozet)

 

Some days, things work out, thoughts about traffic, crowded schools and roads, and other worries temporarily fade away.

All told, Crozet is a great place to live.

Traffic in Crozet (letter from a reader)

via email:

I’ve lived in Crozet, down the street from Crozet Park most of my life. I understand my small town is going to grow. But I don’t get how we can continue on the path without fixing some problems?

Westlake is continuing to build and now more land across from the park is being developed. After being promised for the last eight years we’re getting another way out of our neighborhood I’m beginning to think it will never happen.

Between construction vehicles, school buses and your everyday commuter we are at our max. When a bad storm hits and we are stuck waiting for debris to be cleaned up before we can leave our home. Also all traffic is going out of Tabor Rd on to Park Ave, at this point we need a light at that intersection because no one wants to let each other out of Tabor Rd.

The lumber yard is going to be developed and with places such as Piedmont Place and others coming to Crozet Ave is continuing to see more congestion that it can’t handle. At what point will something finally be done? Are we going to wait like the county did with 29 North?

We should plan to fix problems like water use, schools and roads before it gets out of hand. Crozet is growing at a rate to fast for anyone to keep up. People in Brookwood, Westhall, and Westlake deserve another way out! The road from Parkside Village to 240 will not solve our problems either.

I’m hoping you will take my email serious, cause this effects many families.

*edited to add line breaks

The corresponding Facebook post (with lots of traffic & comments).

Creekside Neighbors Unite for Neighborhood Traffic and Child Safety

Last week, I noted the 12 new homes coming near the Creekside section of Old Trail. It seems many of the folks who currently live in Creekside are working to change the plans.

Chris and Meghan Little, who bought their lot for its privacy for their young children 4 years ago, sent this

 

Overwhelming popular opinion and fear is that: Traffic from Greyrock will be redirected to the town-center and to the public schools via this new street, which is VERY dangerous.  We have a very tight community of neighbors and CHILDREN in the Private Road area, and they all run, ride, and play in this Private Road Area every day.  We aim to improve property and community value, enhance bike and sidewalk activity, and we wonder who will maintain the ‘Green Spaces’ and what will reside there?

Also why does the developer not adhere to the 15’ home setback lines?  These homes will be out of place in the current configuration.

If anyone wants to be added to the Birchwood Hill Rd./Welbourne Ln. Opposition Email Thread, please email us.

 

 

$9 Million for a Road to Downtown Crozet & Square Improvements?

Charlottesville Tomorrow reports (read the whole thing)

A new report, which was prepared by Municap, Inc., proposes the developer and county split the costs of public improvements for the property, with the developer paying approximately $4.45 million and the county paying $4.72 million. The county’s costs would specifically go towards constructing a civic plaza space and a road that connects downtown to nearby Parkside Village.

The Parkside Village connector is estimated to cost $1.57 million and the Crozet Plaza $3.15 million. The report projects that the various forms of tax revenue resulting from redevelopment of the property — including real property, sales, meals, transient and personal property taxes — would leave the county with a net surplus of $18.15 million in tax revenue after the bondholders are repaid.

Here’s the corresponding RealCrozetVA FB post.