Crozet Park Board Responds to Swimming Proposal

Editor’s note: Everything is politics and everything is political. What follows is a response from the Crozet Park Board to the recent decision about the STAR Swimming plan. Background information is available at Charlottesville Tomorrow – August 2008 and September 2008. If you feel strongly about this issue, feel free to leave comments here; I will ensure that they get delivered to our representative on the Board of Supervisors, Ann Mallek.

January 7, 2009 Agenda Item: “Concerns with Competitive Swimming Summary” A Response to the Executive Summary

Members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Albemarle County School Board;

It is the opinion of the Board of Directors of Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. that the executive summary and recommendation submitted by the committee, which was appointed by you, is biased, inaccurate and does not reflect the needs and interests of Albemarle County residents or its student population. Please consider the following in response to the Executive Summary:

According to the summary, “three County high school competitive swim programs are currently in desperate need of reasonably convenient lane space.”(click to go to executive summary)

– There are presently three aquatics facilities available in the urban ring (ACAC, Crow Pool and STAR swimming /Fairview Swim Club). There is not a desperate situation.
– Two more aquatic facilities are slated for construction in the urban ring in 2009-2010 (Smith Aquatics Center and McIntire YMCA), providing additional high school practice facilities.
– Monticello High School presently swims at Crow Pool; Albemarle High School presently swims at ACAC Pool, Western Albemarle High School swims in Star Swimming’s existing facility (STAR swimming/Fairview Swim Club). Charlottesville High School is scheduled to practice at the McIntire facility (when open), and no high schools are currently scheduled to practice at the Smith Aquatic Center, when complete.
– Western Albemarle is the only high school that doesn’t have a reasonably convenient facility available.

“Competitive swimming pools ranked 15th out of 16 with approximately five percent (5%) of the respondents selecting it as one of their top three (3) choices.”(click to see survey included in report – PDF)

– The recommendation ignores the needs and wants of County residents as outlined in the supporting survey and numerous (if not every) County needs assessment.
– Competitive swimming is never mentioned in the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Funding Request form, which is the basis of evaluation for the executive summary. (See Attachment B funding requests instructions).
– The recommendation accommodates after school practices and meets for 120 high school athletes for one quarter of the year.
– Other proposals accommodate 4 of the top 5 survey responses in the executive summaries attachment A. (A warm water recreation family-oriented facility was number one choice of respondents).
– Recreational aquatics facilities serve thousands of residents, including competitive swimming.
– Pools built specifically for competitive swimming cannot be easily used for other needs. Better options are available that serve not only competitive needs but also learn to swim programs, recreational swimming, and programs for swimmers with disabilities.

The executive summary failed to list several concerns with the Star Swimming proposal:

– County high school swim teams, the only beneficiaries, will need to use the facility for many years, even if more convenient options are available (such as Smith Aquatic Center, Crozet Pool, or McIntire YMCA facility) for recovery of a $500,000 County investment.
– Investment made into a private facility will limit public use.
– Lack of operator for “optional” public use (Parks and Recreation Department is proposed)
– Lack of budget, funding, and reasonable hours for public programming option.
– Swimming Pool does not exist.
– Source of pool funding is not included in proposal.
– Star Swimming location is in a highly congestion (sic) area and inconvenient to 2 out of the 3 County school.
– Least attractive option for Western Albemarle.
– Location is near five existing and proposed aquatic facility locations.
– A facility already exists at Star Swimming/Fairview that is used by Western Albemarle High School.

The executive summary misrepresents Claudius Crozet Park:

– Long history of working successfully with the County to provide affordable programs to all County residents, regardless of income.
– Subcontracted YMCA coaching and aquatics staff since 2004.
– Proven 50-year track record of successfully running the ONLY public pool in Albemarle County.
– Existing affordable public swimming is subsidized through regular fundraising (30 year bi-annual Arts and Crafts Fair).
– Pool expenses include facility costs and depreciation.
– Crozet Park has over $150,000 in banking assets and no debt. Limited fundraising is required for proposal.
– Commitment and mission of YMCA mirrors partnership responsibilities in Crozet Park request. See Executive Summary Attachment F.
– Air supported dome structures provide the highest aquatic programming return on investment.
– Concern of financial failure is unwarranted and not realistic. There are numerous options other than County “takeover” of operation.
– Monticello and Albemarle High School have numerous, more convenient training options available.
– Crozet Park proposal is the only option that provides reasonable access to Western Albemarle High School.
– The Crozet pool is already built and provides public programming.
– The adjoining 6,000 SF Community Building is already built and provides public programming.
– Crozet Park proposal can be accomplished in the least amount of time for the lowest cost.

In conclusion, Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. urges the Board of Supervisors not to support a recommendation that takes appropriations from Parks and Recreation to subsidize the replacement of an existing private facility, for a “questionable” benefit to a very limited County Schools program that does not require immediate assistance, at a time when financial resources are extremely limited.

If the focus of the request is only for additional options for high school swimming, Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. further urges the Board of Supervisors to re-evaluate the needs of high school swimming in relation to more important needs of City and County residents and in relation to the location of existing and proposed public and private facilities in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville, The Piedmont Family YMCA, the University of Virginia, ACAC, Star/Fairview Swim and Tennis Club, and Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. can meet every indoor aquatic programming need for every resident throughout Central Virginia at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable time frame. Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. looks forward to participating in such a dialogue.


The Board of Directors of Claudius Crozet Park, Incorporated

Editor’s notes:

1 – Quite simply, in my humble opinion, the Park Board has been politically outmaneuvered. STAR Swimming has been working on this for years, and the Park Board is likely too late with their efforts.

2 – The only edits made to the above are formatting to improve readability on the blog or addition of links.

3 – The only connection I have to Crozet Park is that I live in an adjacent development and my family has had a lot of friends involved in competitive swimming.

Pool Enhancements coming To Crozet Pool?

Update 04 January 2008: Turns out the County is opting to recommend against funding the Crozet request.

From Albemarle County’s site regarding the January 7 meeting; if you live in Crozet, reading this proposal submitted by Crozet Park (PDF) would be a good idea.

Crozet Park (Attachment E)

The Crozet Park request is for a $350,000 contribution to be used for a 960 square foot addition to the existing pool building, HVAC equipment and a 14,170 square foot air supported dome over the existing swimming pool. The County contribution is 66% of the estimated $525,000 project. Crozet Park will begin a fund raising campaign to secure the remaining $175,000 if the County agrees to fund this proposal. The existing pool is an 8-lane, 25-meter pool with an additional zero depth beach entry. The anticipated lifetime of the structure is 15 to 20 years. The programming and operations of the facility will be provided through a lease arrangement with the YMCA. A letter of intent from the YMCA included with the Crozet Park proposal indicated their interest in entering into a long-term collaborative agreement “as soon as is practical” (Attachment F). The high school swim teams will have access to the pool for practice at a standard cost of $15 – $20 per lane hour. Crozet Park anticipates that the bubbled facility would be available for the start of the high school swim season in November of 2009.

Favorable Factors:

·         Most attractive proposal to Western Albemarle swim team.

·         Conveniently located to serve western part of County with potential non competitive swimming programs.

·         Least expensive request of 3 proposals.

·         Potential long-term partnership with YMCA.

·         Very committed Park Board has sustained outdoor pool annual operations without County assistance.


  • Commitment from the YMCA needs to mirror partnership responsibilities in Crozet Park request.
  • No history of working partnership with the YMCA.
  • Park financial records indicate total expenditures over revenues for the last 5 years to be $77,000.
  • Outdoor pool operation has shown a total deficit of $71,000 for the last 5 years.
  • Air structure is the least efficient pool covering and given financial performance of the existing park operations, unknown future economic conditions and lack of market information, seems to be a risky investment for the County, YMCA and the Park Board at this time.
  • If YMCA/Crozet Park partnership fails, County could become default owner and operator of the bubble.
  • Least attractive proposal to Albemarle and Monticello swim teams.


The budget impacts for all proposals are discussed above. The only proposal being recommended for consideration at this time is the Star proposal which would have a budget impact of $100,000 per year for 5 years.


The Committee has made the following recommendation to the CIP oversight committee:

  1. The County’s commitment to the YMCA should remain at $2,030,000 with no additional funding provided for the competitive pool in the final adopted 5-year plan.
  2. Funding for a more efficient Crozet Park pool enclosure system should be included in the out years of the CIP.
  3. Consideration should be given to funding the Star request at $100,000 per year over a 5-year period with the first $100,000 being provided from the existing Parks and Recreation capital budget in the spring of 2009, if the Star request is included in the final adopted 5-year CIP. Funding would be conditioned upon the execution of an agreement to assure the public and school use of the facilities as proposed.

Take Steven Landes’ Legislative Survey

For those that don’t know, Steven Landes is our representative in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Every year, he sends out a mailer asking his constituents to fill out a legislative survey. The survey is here; my longstanding belief remains – if you don’t voice your opinion (especially when it’s requested), it’s not worth very much.

Learn more about Del. Landes’ legislation at Richmond Sunlight and find out who is donating money to him at the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).

Richmond Sunlight » Delegate Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave)

Crozet and Brownsville Redistricting Plan Approved

From today’s Daily Progress

The Albemarle County School Board unanimously agreed Thursday to transfer 100 pupils from Crozet Elementary to Brownsville Elementary. The affected pupils live in the Grayrock area.

The proposal is part of a long-term plan to handle the increase in students in Crozet. Crozet Elementary, which has a capacity for 380 students, has an enrollment of 428.

Because there is little room for expansion at Crozet Elementary, the county is building a $10.27 million expansion to Brownsville Elementary. The expansion, which includes a new wing of classrooms, more kitchen space and a new gymnasium, is slated to be finished in the spring.

There are 402 students at Brownsville Elementary, and the additions will allow for 716, according to a school official.

The transfer of the 100 pupils will take effect next school year, Wheeler said.

In May, it was noted that only 15 people had expressed opinions about the redistricting plans.

If you are thinking about buying (or selling, really) in Crozet – check the school district yourself – don’t necessarily trust the MLS (as much as it pains me, as a Realtor, to write that).

Tax Town Hall

Albemarle and Charlottesville are not alone in struggling with tax cuts/service cuts – all levels of government – and the citizens – are struggling. From the New York Times regarding states’ budgets

The astonishing decline in revenues is without modern precedent here, but California is hardly alone. A majority of states — many with budgets already full of deep cuts and dependent on raiding rainy-day funds or tax increases — are scrambling to find ways to get through the rest of the year without hacking apart vital services or raising taxes.

Others are demanding hiring freezes and across-the-board cuts. A few states are finding their unemployment insurance funds running dry, just as the ranks of out-of-work residents spike.

The plunging revenues — the result of an unusual assemblage of personal, sales, capital gains and corporate taxes falling significantly — have poked holes in budgets that are just weeks and months old and that came about only after difficult legislative sessions.

Here’s what I do – I ignore the advocacy and focus on the information. Raising taxes should not be the default response. We’re all facing “unprecedented declines” and we need to work together to find the solution. Blaming government without getting involved is counterproductive.

From the Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance

Crozet Town Hall Meeting “2008 Firehouse Tour” Continues

ATTA is hosting a series of local Town Hall meetings throughout the county this fall.

To find out more about ATTA and what to expect during the 2009 county budget process, please attend our Crozet ATTA Town Hall Meeting:

Crozet Town Hall Meeting
Crozet Firehouse
5652 Three Notched RD, Crozet
Thursday, November 20, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public

If you read the Nov. 13 Daily Progress article “County’s decision: Cuts or tax hike” you saw the following statement regarding Supervisor David Slutzky’s approach toward our current financial situation:

David L. Slutzky, a Democrat, said the county should start with a tax rate closer to 90 cents – which would allow the county to avoid service cuts, and then systematically decide which of those services should be cut or scaled back.

Slutzky’s attitude is profound for several reasons:

A 90-cent real estate tax rate represents a 26.8% increase over our current rate. During the current economic climate — when so many of us struggle to provide for basic needs — suggesting such a draconian tax increase is absurd.

The premise is flawed. Raising taxes or cutting services are not the only options. More effective and efficient use of available revenues should be the first option. This is why the county is currently performing a Resource Utilization Study–to identify how we can do more with less!

Slutzky’s suggestion to raise taxes now and then fix government spending later is truly laughable.
The Program Service Review (Form 4) initiated by Albemarle County well over a years ago has gone nowhere (its goal was to identify 10% cost savings in every department).

It took the Albemarle BoS seven months to begin its current Resource Utilization Study after being challenged to do so by ATTA.
There remains a profound lack of sense of urgency by county gov. to make substantial improvements to how our tax money is spent.

Slutzky is basically ask us to trust him: raise tax now and he’ll lead the charge later to cut them in the future.

We all know what will happen: if we raise taxes now, there won’t be a later. There will only be new rationale to keep the tax rate at 90 cents — or raise it even higher.

No Business Park in Crozet – Yet

Courtesy of Charlottesville Tomorrow – I recommend reading the entire post on what could have been (and may yet still) be a new business park in Crozet.

My primary question –

– What types of businesses and industries would they like to bring in? If they’re talking about seeking out high-value, low impact jobs – bio-tech, manufacturing, etc. wouldn’t that represent a possible net gain for Crozet?

On November 11, 2008, the Albemarle County Planning Commission held a work session on the proposed Yancey Mills Business Park in Crozet. The Commission came close to recommending that the development be reviewed as part of the upcoming Crozet Master Plan update, however, the discussion concluded with a 6-1 vote to end all further consideration of the matter. Linda Porterfield (Scottsville) was the only Commissioner who supported further study.

In an interview with Charlottesville Tomorrow the day after the decision, Will Yancey described what he had hoped to accomplish at the meeting.

Charlottesville Tomorrow asked Will Yancey where he thought the family would go next with their business park proposal.

“The Yancey family is going to spend the next couple of weeks speaking with our advisors and the community. We will reach out to the Crozet community and try to reassure them that have been in the area for a long time, well over a hundred years, and we intend on keeping our word and to do what we say. The notion that we want to put in a shopping mall with a Stuckeys and a Cracker Barrel there is not what we have in mind at all. We will make a determination if we should go forward and bring this to the Board of Supervisors.”

Yancey Business Park in Crozet denied

Crozet Library Delayed Until 2013

And we’re not alone in having projects pushed back due to the economy (bolding mine)-

The County will delay several capital projects. New fire stations in Pantops and Ivy will be delayed until FY2013. A new library for Crozet was expected to open in 2011, but that will now be pushed back to 2013. A new library to replace the Northside library will be pushed back out of the five year plan. Recycling centers anticipated to open in FY2010 will be delayed until FY2013. Western Park in the Crozet growth area, scheduled to open in 2012, will also be moved out of the first five years of the capital plan.

Read the entire story at Charlottesville Tomorrow.

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?

Come Meet Candidate Tom Perriello

This is a non-partisan announcement for a clearly partisan event. It’s pretty cool to have the opportunity to meet a candidate for Congress. If Virgil Goode has an event in Crozet, I’ll gladly run that announcement as well. Shoot, an afternoon with wine, music (Jan Smith band and the Perriello Pickers All-Star Bluegrass Band will be there) (and a little bit of politics) sounds pretty good.

Personally, I don’t care about whom you vote for, just that you educate yourself and vote!

Please join Tim and Casey Beeghly for a reception honoring Tom Perriello,Democratic Candidate for Congress (VA-05)

Saturday, October 25, 2008
5:30 – 8:00 P.M.
Pollak Vineyard
330 Newtown Road, Greenwood, Va.

Please reply at your earliest convenience to [email protected] or 434-979-1104

Donations to support Tom’s campaign will be accepted at the door.

Contributions to Perriello for Congress are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Directions from Charlottesville: Take Interstate 64 West to Exit 107 (Crozet). Turn left onto
250 West. Go about three miles, passing the estates of Mirador, Seven Oaks, Ramsey and Ridgley all on your right. Just past Ridgley estate, take a right fork onto Rte. 796 (Brooksville Rd.). Continue about a half mile and turn right on Newtown Road. Entrance to Pollak Vineyards is about a half mile on your left – look for the Perriello signs.

Crozet Master Plan up for Review

From Charlottesville Tomorrow:

The Crozet Master Plan, the County’s first for one of its designated growth areas, was approved in 2004. Master Plans are expected to be reviewed every five years. Albemarle County Senior Planner, Elaine Echols described the goal of the review which will take place initially behind the scenes and then be in front of the public in a significant way after July 1, 2009.

“This is not a complete overhaul of the Crozet Master Plan,” said Echols. “The plan is basically good. There are some tweaks that are needed. There have been some specific areas of concern to the community as well as to the staff, and these issues are going to be resolved through the update.”

County staff outlined how they plan to work co-operatively with the Crozet Community Advisory Council (CCAC) which is setting up several subcommittees to keep the review on track between now and mid-2009. County Community Relations Manager, Lee Catlin, described the work as a “very vigorous public involvement effort.”

Download the Crozet Master Plan staff report here. (pdf)