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.
via email – (see the end of the post for meeting norms)
“The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, September 13, at 7 pm in the large meeting room at the Crozet Library. (If you can arrive a few minutes early to help set up the room, it will help ensure that we can start promptly at 7.) I’ve attached the agenda.
We will hear a short presentation from Matthew Slaats about a project he’s pursuing to create a Crozet community orchard, which was inspired by a similar project in Bloomington, Indiana. We’ll also hear updates from our Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors liaisons. We may have a presentation from the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department, but I’m still waiting for final confirmation about whether they’ll be able to join us.
I’m hoping that we’ll have plenty of time for some committee business, including reviewing the development-tracking effort that we started earlier in the year, discussing our possible role in the upcoming budget and Capital Improvement Plan cycle, and brainstorming topics for our upcoming meetings.
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.
This qualifies as good news; I’ve missed the development dashboard!
From the CAC email last month (I know; I’m just getting around to this – bolding mine)
Some of you may remember the previous version of the Development Dashboard – and now a new version is ready!
The Development Dashboard is a way to track and share information on development projects in Albemarle County and includes the Development Pipeline Map and data for each of the Development Areas.
The Dashboard map is hosted using ArcPro. View the Development Pipeline Map here to see current development for projects under review or approved as of April 1, 2023. This data is anticipated to be updated quarterly.
Reminder: we need more housing + more infrastructure.
Did you know …
Based on this, Old Trail has a fair amount of unbuilt units left to go?
Long-range transportation. We are so good at long range planning, it seems that often we neglect to actually execute and build. This is a long post, but worthwhile.
CCAC – 9 August 2023 at 7PM at Crozet Library.
From Joe Fore, CCAC Chair
The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will meet next Wednesday, August 9, at 7 pm in the large meeting room at the Crozet Library. (If you can arrive a few minutes early to help set up the room, it will help ensure that we can start promptly at 7.) I’ve attached the agenda.
Our main agenda item will be a presentation from the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is updating the region’s long-range transportation plan, Moving Toward 2050. After the presentation, we’ll discuss transportation needs in the Crozet area. The project’s website includes a survey where you can share your opinions about necessary improvements to our roads, transit system, and bike/pedestrian infrastructure. I strongly encourage everyone to take the survey before our meeting.
We’ll also hear updates from our Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors liaisons and debrief July’s All-CAC Town Hall meeting. Time permitting, we’ll also discuss the proposed update to the County’s stream buffer regulations–a topic that came up last year in our discussions about the Montclair project. The County is seeking feedback on the current draft, which you can read here. Please read through the draft before the meeting, if you can.
If you’re not a paid subscriber to Sean’s work, please consider becoming a paid subscriber. Dollar for dollar, it’s one of the best investments you can make in ensuring that you and your neighbors are well informed about local growth, development, transportation in Albemarle and Charlottesville.
Crozet CAC to review plans for long-range transportation plan
The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will hold their monthly meeting at the Crozet Library beginning at 7 p.m. with a scheduled ending time of 8:30 p.m. That’s to give enough time for attendees to help break down the room before the library closes. (meeting info)
There are three items on the agenda. The first is a presentation from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission on the long-range transportation plan that is currently in development.
“The purpose of this plan is to identify priority transportation needs for the City of Charlottesville and urbanized portions of Albemarle County,” reads the agenda.
Participation in transportation decisions is fairly low. This stuff is all very confusing. Another purpose of Charlottesville Community Engagement is to try to change that from a third-party, non-government perspective. I believe democracy needs information and context to survive and thrive. Here are some stories about the Long Range Transportation Plan process:
The CAC will also have a discussion of the proposed Riparian Buffer Overlay District that is under review. This is an outcome of Albemarle’s stream health initiative.
“Albemarle County is developing a Riparian Buffer Overlay District to protect and improve vegetation along rivers and streams, strengthen buffer requirements that were narrowed in 2014, and be more consistent with Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act,” reads the description on the Engage Albemarle site.
Input is being taken on the Engage Albemarle site through August 13. There are 39 responses so far.
The James River Water Authority’s Board of Directors will meet at 9 a.m. in the Fluvanna County Administration Building in the Morris Room. That’s at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. There will be a discussion of the status of the project to build a waterline between the James River and Zion Crossroads. A draft permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will soon be ready for public review. Property acquisition for right of way is underway. (agenda packet)
This survey (Virginia and Albemarle are great at surveys and studies!) is not specific to Crozet, but most of us use 250 and Ivy Road on a near-daily basis.
Takeway, if you read nothing else:
The survey, which has a translation tool for other languages, is available (here) Comments can also be sent by email to [email protected] or by postal mail to Michael Barnes, Virginia Department of Transportation, 1601 Orange Road, Culpeper, VA, 22701.
Background from Charlottesville Community Engagement:
Via email: (boldings beyond the first two lines are mine)
PROVIDE INPUT ON U.S. 250 IN ALBEMARLE, CHARLOTTESVILLE
Study is first step to identify possible transportation improvements on Ivy Road corridor
CULPEPER — The Virginia Department of Transportation is seeking feedback on a transportation study assessing potential safety and multimodal improvements for the U.S. 250 (Ivy Road) corridor, including the interchange with U.S. 29, between Ednam Drive within Albemarle County and Alderman Road within the City of Charlottesville.
The purpose of this study is to identify project recommendations for the U.S. 250 corridor. This study will focus on improving roadway safety, reducing traffic congestion, improving access, and enhancing multimodal accessibility and connectivity for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users, including how these needs might be satisfied by facilities within the Route 601 (Old Ivy Road) corridor.
The study will build off previous study efforts for the study area led by VDOT and the localities and provide multiple opportunities for public input. The project recommendations that come from this study will be developed into funding applications for SMART SCALE Round 6 and other transportation funding programs.
VDOT invites residents and travelers to learn more and take an online survey through Aug. 18. Community input received through this survey will help the study team identify existing issues along the study corridor and develop recommendations for potential improvements that will be evaluated and presented during the next phase of the study, which will include another opportunity for public comment.
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.