Pulled From the Comments – Thoughs on the Crozet Master Plan and Reporting the News

In this comment, Craig covers a lot of ground – reporting of the news and the necessary relationships for said reporting, growth in Crozet and Albemarle, local economics – it is this sort of comment that helps to make writing this blog worthwhile.

Each morning, a young, green reporter at Daily Progress appears to field a call from county officials on what the “local news” should read for that day. Only a child-like mind would read the DP’s local coverage as news – or ridiculously self-interested preening for the “master plan” from Crozet Gazette’s editor, for that matter.

Right now, the local news – according to our county officials – reads that they are short the money needed to pay for the wonderful growth infrastructure contained in wildly popular urban plans. The DP – and county officials – are prepping residents for “tough decisions”, decisions the board passed on when the passed trendy development plans and hungrily consumed 30 percent increases in assessments.

I would look at recent election results, rather than the Daily Progress, for a more accurate sense of where the community stands. We just had two elections in which residents made their feelings on the rezonings in a “master plan” known. Sadly, after these elections, both Democrat and Republican supervisors for Crozet immediately passed two of the largest rezonings in the county, claiming the master plan is a popular rezoning guide.

Sure, you can find a few local residents who are wetting their pants with excitement for the high density development in the master plan or claiming they are proud of their role in it. But the vast majority of residents don’t want to pay for it (tax increase are probably coming), shift students, or commute 12 miles to densities that are 3 times as dense as the 3/acre densities of the Biscuit Run development in Charlottesville. The “master plan” is detested.

The School Board is reacting to policies that they did not create. If supervisors of both parties want to send thousands of people into Western Albemarle (both parties are passionate about it), then the school board will need to shift students from Crozet, almost annually. Students have to be placed somewhere.

Residents should expect students shifts from here on out. The Board could add on to existing schools, but I would rather keep our schools small. Smaller schools, which may no longer be possible in Crozet, are more effective socially and academically. The student shifts are not the school board’s doing, but it has become their problem.

The Board of Supervisors will also have to raise revenues to pay for the infrastructure to feed future growth caused by urbanization programs. However, they created this problem, and the excuses can be read as “local news” in the Daily Progress (concurrent calls for lower taxes and more spending on growth infrastructure can be in the Crozet Gazette).

I believe the increase of news on the internet – blogs like this one – has a function. Even though I don’t always agree with Jim, he does a great job of letting a wider array of opinions see the light.

What do you mean, you don’t always agree with me? 🙂 In all sincerity, thank you Craig for reading and posting such a thoughtful comment.

Update 22 October 2008: I thought it warranted putting my own comment here in the main story –

In defense of Mike Marshall who is the Crozet Gazette – He has done a remarkable thing for Crozet – not just by publishing the one and only monthly newspaper, but he’s involved – in far more things than most people could possibly find the time to do.

Not to put words in his mouth, but I sincerely believe that he supports the Master Plan for at least two reasons (and likely more) – 1) He’s invested in the plan 2) He’s invested in and cares for Crozet.

Shoot, how many people would start a newspaper – in this day and age – from scratch – if they didn’t care for the community?