Does Crozet Have All the Pieces for Walkability?

As Crozet continues to grow, it’s important to keep the end result in mind. What do we want Crozet to be in 10 years? In 20 years?

This story at CNBC is a great in-depth read that has quite a few parallels to Crozet as well as and lessons we can learn from.

“Walkability plays a big part in an area’s economic vibrancy,” said Scott Bricker, executive director of America Walks, a national nonprofit that fosters walkable communities. “The most valuable real estate around the world is in walkable places, places where people are living and working in closer proximity.”

Researchers have found that areas with high Walk Scores fare better environmentally (less use of cars), socially (better chances of connecting with someone face to face) and economically. A recent study published in Real Estate Economics found that in neighborhoods with greater walkability, the resale value of both residential and commercial properties is higher. And according to a 2009 report commissioned by CEOs for Cities, “a one-point increase in Walk Score was associated with an increase in value ranging from $700 to $3,000 depending on the market.”

“There’s a strong preference for being in a neighborhood where people can walk to shops, restaurants, parks,” said Joe Molinaro, managing director of community and public affairs at the National Association of Realtors, which found that two-thirds of respondents in its 2011 Consumer Preference Survey said that walkability was an important factor when deciding where to live. “We asked people for tradeoffs—comparing different things they might have to give up to get that—and more and more are willing to make a sacrifice to be in a walkable neighborhood.”

For example:

– Homes for sale in Old Trail have relatively low Walk Scores (for now) – there’s Trailside Coffee, ACAC gym, Anna’s Pizza, Dentist, Augusta Medical, park, playgrounds and more (and much more to come as the Village Center gets built out.
– Homes around Downtown Crozet have higher Walk Scores – Mudhouse and Greenhouse coffee shops, hardware, Fardowners pub, Great Valu, Crozet Park, YMCA gym and lots more.
– Homes around the third business center – 250 West – don’t have the same connectivity, despite the proximity to Harris Teeter and all of the businesses in Clover Lawn – Eye Care, restaurants, UVA Credit Union …

With the lumberyard having been purchased recently, the future of downtown Crozet has the potential to shape up in the next couple years. What will it look like?

Let’s not forget (or forget to volunteer!) the value of the growing Crozet Trails system and network; I feel that these will be integral to the future of connectivity in Crozet, in addition to sidewalks and bike lanes everywhere possible. Continue reading “Does Crozet Have All the Pieces for Walkability?”

Results of the “Does Crozet Need a Hotel” Survey

Questions about a Crozet hotel? - Google Drive-3.jpg

First, thank you to everyone who took the time to take and comment on the survey; I’m going to keep it open for responses for at least a couple weeks.

Second, to answer two of the comments on the survey “and btw, bugger you if you use my ip address! for anything!” and “Don’t want to be contacted or added to mailing lists.” Nope. Never. If you want to subscribe to RealCrozetVA, you can do that. If you want to subscribe to my monthly note, you can do that too. I’ll never spam you.

Third, I received this by email (and am posting it with permission and have edited it a wee bit) –

Am I the only person who nowadays finds mention of “Crozet” as a location confusing?

People often refer to events taking place in Old Trail as being in “Crozet”–period. If I were a stranger to the area trying to attend an event in Old Trail listed as being “in Crozet,” I would be searching in downtown Crozet for an event that is actually taking place in Old Trail.

Thus when you ask if a hotel should be built in “Crozet,” I don’t know if you mean “old” Crozet or “new” Crozet (i.e., Old Trail or along 250). Therefore I can’t contribute to the survey without knowing exactly where you are talking about. Could you please let me know?

I do think there needs to be a discussion about differentiating between downtown Crozet and all of the new businesses outside of downtown, either on 250 or in Old Trail. It’s too confusing, in my opinion, for people to just say “Crozet”.

And my response –

When I say “Crozet” I deliberately think all of Crozet – from Greenwood Gourmet to the railroad trestle at 240/250 to about Wyant’s …

Realistically we have three business districts – Downtown, Old Trail and 250 and I personally think that we need to focus on downtown as Old Trail has the developers focusing on it while 250 has the market, if you will.

So … I think for the first part of the conversation it’d be better to be “greater Crozet” and then where within Crozet … what do you think?

We touched on this topic in January when we talked about “What do We Want Crozet to Be?” – which ended up having a great discussion – worth (re)visiting.

I’m going to excerpt some of the comments to the survey below.

If you’re interested in the full results (minus respondents’ contact information) please leave a comment or contact me.

Continue reading “Results of the “Does Crozet Need a Hotel” Survey”

Questions on a Crozet Hotel – Survey

Update 28 September around 9:30 pm

Questions about a Crozet hotel? - Google Drive-1.jpg

There was quite a bit of discussion at last night’s Crozet Community Advisory Council meeting about Virginia Tourism Development Financing Program, Tourism Zone Ordinance. If you’re interested, read these three background reports at Albemarle County’s site:

One (June 5 2013)

Two (September 4 2013)

Three October 2 2013

I was talking to a local today about the possibilities of a Crozet hotel and he came up with a few questions for Crozetians. Click through if you have two minutes to fill out a survey. I’ll take the responses and publish them in the next couple weeks … also, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors is meeting next week to discuss the Tourism Zone Ordinance. Both this survey and next week’s meeting could be good opportunities to express your voice about the future of Crozet.

Continue reading “Questions on a Crozet Hotel – Survey”

Results of the “What Should become of the Crozet Library” Poll

Thanks, all for the responses. I’m going to be in meetings and coaching soccer until the CCA meeting tonight, so I’ll try to update this again just prior to the meeting

The “other” responses are below. Winner of “other” – Train station.

Updated - 17 September 2013 at 7:27am

(updated 13 September around 3:30pm)

Honestly, I’m shocked that so many want a police substation on one of the major entrance corridors to Crozet.

Update: Mostly great comments and debate at the RealCrozetVA facebook entries.

One post
Other post

Highlights for me:

A link to a scientific study of the merits of a police station in a community
I think that the old Crozet library is a building with a prominent and central location in Crozet and a long and much-loved history and that it should be used in a way that allows members of the public to continue to enjoy it, such as a community center or a local (or natural) history museum. I think it would be a shame to turn such a beautiful and historic building into a police station (which could be housed in any building) and that it would be a waste of money to renovate it for that purpose, when it could be used as is for a more community-minded function. Continue reading “Results of the “What Should become of the Crozet Library” Poll”

Crozet Library Nearly Finished, Streetscaping Underway, North Sidewalk Soon

It’s amazing what one can learn when one pays attention to what the Board of Supervisors discuss … particularly when Charlottesville Tomorrow points out that the Board is discussing such matters.

The Office of Facilities Development Capital Projects Status Report pdf is here.

In summary:

– Crozet Library should be complete in August

– Crozet Streetscape Phase II has all of the rights of way and utility dedications – plan for 14 months construction

– Crozet North Sidewalk – Bid and award in 3rd Quarter 2013 – plan for 3 months construction

– Crozet Parks’ roads will be resurfaced this year

Dig in. Get informed.

Office of Facilities Development (OFD)
Capital Projects Status Report
nd Quarter CY 2013
(I’m saving the pdf here as well … sometimes my sites seem to be more dependable than others’ 🙂 )

Crozet Community Association Meeting Wrap up – 14 March

Huge thanks to Todd Edgerton for volunteering to guest post this.

Crozet Community Association (March 14th, 2013)

*of note, this is my first meeting for this organization and I’m very very glad to have this support network in our community, every community should be so lucky*

• I arrived during the presentation of the ACPD Corp. Jenkins, who was explaining the new hire process and that ACPD will be growing their number of sworn officers by six, over the next 2 yrs. He also fielded a few questions regarding the firing range options which the county is currently assessing. Most important to note is that an outdoor range is currently not being explored. He also explained some of the new ‘models’ of patrol that the county has moved to, which seems promising in returning to a local officer/s scenario. I see this as a major change in our police force and am excited for the change.

• Dave Brockman (recently brought on by the Jessup family, replacing the lead developer within Old Trail) presented a number of poster board renderings for Old Trail future development. Dave then explained his background as being from the ‘West’ and having been a landscape architect. He is trying to get up to speed with our lifestyles and mannerisms in the Commonwealth, and for only being here 9 months, I’m impressed with his efforts. Even though everyone wanted to ask him questions about the hotel, he explained that the owner of the Lodge was actually building the hotel independent of Old Trail, in a by-right development. David Hilliard would have helped answer many questions, had he been present, but was travelling on business tonight. Dave also explained the vision for the new Old Trail ‘parks’ nearest to the Brownsville School, as a start to connect all the green spaces within OT. He sees the green spaces as ideal for informal sports/play and that he would like to nurture a true downtown sense in the village area of OT, esp. with the addition of 3 new commercial buildings apart from the hotel. It’s also of note that he and his family live within Old Trail.

• It was made clear after many questions that Dave ought to realign his presentations to include Old Trail as part of the greater community, and not as an island apart from Crozet. Not really Old Trail vs. Crozet, but that we are all Crozet one-in-the-same. Many comments were directed to the vein of tourism that the hotel will market themselves to, primary the alcohol tours (wine/beer/etc.) There were questions related to the hotel, traffic patterns, and timing of commercial build out – which he tried to answer the best way, but without details he wasn’t able to provide much substance.

• Bill Schrader updated the group with details about the library building and the steps he is going through with regarding to funding and the recent grant that the library received. Most of the details are written about in the most recent Gazette. There was some discussion regarding the 1st floor space and what may best go in that place, unfortunately the library will have to have a tenant that will NOT be permanent, as that sq footage will ultimately be claimed by the library with future growth. He reminded us if we gave money in 2012, that this is a new year and to dig a little deeper for contributions THIS year

• Jessica Mauzy announced the next Trail work day and that it is a great opportunity for children to earn community service hours, and to really get to know the other community members. Ann MAllek recognized the group as being the model to which other trail groups within the Commonwealth should follow.

• The Western Albemarle Rescue squad, Crozet Volunteer Fire Department, and Crozet Library were presented with contributions raised at the Valentine’s Swing Dance, last month.

• Jim Crosby & Tom Loach presented their ideas about a Crozet Safety Corp proposal. The idea is that your best resource in an emergency may be your immediate neighbors. The ideas are very similar to neighborhood watch in other communities. Care about your neighbors and we can be much more self-reliant, and once this Corp is seen as a positive by ACPD, we have an opportunity to been a pilot/model for other neighborhoods within the county. Using the master plan as a guide, Crozet is slated to be denser than Charlottesville proper, with much less police presence.

• Independence Day celebration will be July 6th, with the 7th as a backup date. It will be held in the Park as it has in years past, including a parade. Time for other new business was limited as Dave’s presentation took longer than expected, but there are several vacancies in Albemarle Co Boards and Commissions please apply and represent Crozet! More on these vacancies on ‘Real Crozet’ blog.

• Charlottesville Tree Stewards are currently offering a $25 voucher towards the purchase of a tree, per family, as long as you following the guidelines. There are 5 nurseries within the county that will accept this voucher, and the funding is being provided by Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band, and an anonymous donor.

I’m going to add links later today ….

Update 18 March 2013:

1 – I’ve storified the meeting ; click through for the story.
2 – Trevor Henry’s slides showing an update on what’s happening in Downtown Crozet, including the ongoing utility relocation.
3 – Link for the Charlottesville Tree Stewards.
4 – Regarding the Crozet Safety Corp proposal – I would highly encourage folks to follow RealCrozetVA on Twitter and “like” RealCrozetVA on Facebook – they have proven to be invaluable (to me at least) when seeking information from neighbors and fellow Crozetians when we’ve had large power outages (derecho, anyone?), when we’ve been looking for road conditions after the snow, etc.*

*For those who know me or have read RealCrozetVA for years, you know that while this could be perceived as self-serving advice, I’m suggesting participating in these social networks for the good of the community.

Continue reading “Crozet Community Association Meeting Wrap up – 14 March”

Claudius Place – Coming Soon

I asked Katurah Roell if he’d mind giving me an update on when Claudius Place would be breaking ground. He was kind enough to say that they’re hoping to break ground soon:

“We have several commitments for spaces in the building and would anticipate starting after the first of the year with an early summer opening. I currently have two remaining spaces left in the building, one on the main floor with 1665 sf and one on the lower level that is 2400 sf. “

Lots of changes in Crozet …

Crozet Town Hall Recap – 8 November 2012

Lots of good information tonight at the Crozet community Association

– Crozet trails connectivity
– Geo policing
– Power outages
– Crozet Library fundraising
– Streetscape and more

Huge thanks to @Ryan for tweeting the meeting!

Click through, go to the end and work your way to the top.

Update 13 November 2012:

the minutes from the meeting (pdf)
the power point slides of streets cape/infrastructure

(thanks to the CCA’s new site)

Continue reading “Crozet Town Hall Recap – 8 November 2012”