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June 27, 2012

Slideshow: Crozet Library Groundbreaking

The long-anticipated Crozet Library broke ground on June 26, 2012. In attendance at this very Crozet event (attendees enjoyed bluegrass music while they arrived) were state and local officials and community members all excited to see this dream become a reality.

 

April 11, 2012

Elected officials react to study identifying new business targets

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Charlottesville city councilors and Albemarle County supervisors were briefed Wednesday on the results of a targeted industry study commissioned by the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development.
 
20120411-TJPED-TIS3-Younger
Sharon Younger
Sharon Younger, the consultant who conducted the $150,000 study, said both communities should focus on industries that provide high-paying wages while creating other support jobs.
 
“There are a lot of things that balance this economy that do not belong [strictly] in the 10.4 square miles of Charlottesville,” Younger said.
 
Councilor Kristin Szakos said a regional approach to economic development could provide job opportunities for city residents.
 
“They may live in Charlottesville but they could work in Albemarle County,” Szakos said.
 
Councilor Dave Norris asked Younger what a targeted industry study would have looked like if the charge had been to lift as many people out of poverty as possible.
 
“That was clearly not reflected in this report,” Norris said. “How would that have shaped the findings?”
Younger said successful economic development strategies are not meant to end poverty, but to improve a community’s overall economy.
 
“We have targets that were put there thoughtfully to create a [job] ladder,” Younger said. “You want something that has a high job-multiplying effect.”

Continue reading "Elected officials react to study identifying new business targets" »

October 13, 2011

Albemarle to apply VDOT funding to four sidewalks

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pedestrians in Albemarle’s development areas could have more places to walk if the county’s request for Virginia Department of Transportation revenue-sharing funds is granted.

“We have come up with a list of four sidewalk projects that we feel are important to us and are identified in our master plans and consistent with goals we have in our comprehensive plan,” said David Benish, the county’s chief of planning.

The program requires a local match and is ordinarily used for road projects.
Benish said VDOT intends for the program to pay for projects that can get under construction with two years of the funds being awarded.

“We just don’t have very many road projects that are in that stage of development,” Benish said.
The four projects are spread through the county’s growth area.

Continue reading "Albemarle to apply VDOT funding to four sidewalks" »

July 12, 2011

Crozet’s water supply needs lowered in face of smaller population and increased conservation

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Changes in population assumptions and a 20 percent drop in per capita water use are two of the main factors driving down the projected water needs of the Crozet community in western Albemarle County.

The Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority is holding a series of public meetings this week to discuss water demand forecasts for the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. The analysis projects the community’s water needs in the year 2060 for the urban area and separately for the communities of Scottsville and Crozet.

Download Download AECOM's July 5, 2011 draft forecast

20110711-Shorter_Kim
Kim Shorter, AECOM Technology Corporation

Crozet’s water needs were the focus of the first meeting, held Monday evening at Western Albemarle High School where the draft forecasts commissioned by the RWSA were presented to a handful of local residents. 

Kim Shorter, a water supply specialist with AECOM Technology Corporation, said population estimates were a big driver of any water forecast.

“We are using very current population and employment numbers based upon the updated Crozet Master Plan,” said Shorter in an interview. “The Albemarle Community Development staff told us to assume an 80 percent build-out would be achieved in Crozet by 2060.”

Crozet is on a separate water supply from the urban area around Charlottesville, thus planning for its long-term needs have largely been a separate matter from the debate over the new earthen dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, planned as part of the almost $140 million water plan being implemented by the RWSA.

In June 2007, engineering firm Gannett Fleming examined the so-called “safe yield” of the Beaver Creek Reservoir and determined it could provide 1.8 million gallons per day under a worst drought condition. At the time, Albemarle County staff estimated Crozet would have a population of 17,101 by 2035, which would use an estimated 1.59 mgd. 

Gannett Fleming said that the Beaver Creek Reservoir would be a sufficient water source up until 2035.

AECOM now forecasts that in 2035, the same year evaluated by Gannett Fleming, Crozet will have a water demand of 0.69 mgd for 9,581 people, numbers that are 57 percent and 44 percent lower, respectively, from the 2007 estimates. 

“We have better disaggregated data than what Gannett Fleming had,” said Shorter. “We know the per household consumption in Crozet. We are using Crozet numbers for Crozet, and I think that really helps.”

Developing a new 50 year water demand forecast with population estimates that reflect the revised Crozet Master Plan, AECOM now projects that Crozet will need 0.98 mgd in 2060 to serve a significantly smaller population of 13,600. While AECOM is focusing on the demand side of the equation, the data indicates Crozet’s Beaver Creek Reservoir will now last at least 25 years longer than previous projections.

Shorter said “lots of little things” probably contributed to the trend of lower water usage over the last eight years, including permanent shifts in water conservation.

“In the Gannett Fleming study, they saw a 20 percent drop in per capita water use in fiscal year 2003,” said Shorter. “They saw that year as an outlier in the data and they threw it out, just as I would have done because it was during a drought, but now we have eight more years of data at that lower number, and we are going to use that.”

According AECOM’s report, Crozet had a population of 5,562 in 2010 and current water usage is up from 0.31 mgd in FY 2003 to 0.37 mgd in FY 2010. Shorter said 73 percent of Crozet’s water supply was used by single-family residences and that Crozet residents use on average 68.3 gallons of water per capita per day. By comparison, the city of Charlottesville averages 107.1 gallons per capita day.

“It shows there is a good conservation ethic here today,” said Shorter.

“Per capita usage is fairly low ,compared to other communities across the country, across our planning region,” said Thomas L. Frederick, Jr, RWSA’s executive director.  “That means people take water conservation seriously and a lot of water conservation measures have already been adopted.”

Today, the RWSA is holding two additional public meetings to review the AECOM forecasts. The Scottsville area water plan will be reviewed at 10:00 a.m. in Scottsville’s Town Council Chambers. The Charlottesville and Albemarle County urban area water plan will be reviewed at 6:00 p.m. at Burley Middle School on Rose Hill Dr.

June 05, 2011

Crozet Library project likely to have missed favorable construction market

DailyProgressBy Tracie Cabler & Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, June 5, 2011

By the end of the summer, the parking lot for the new Crozet Library will be completed. As for the $9.6 million, 20,000-square-foot library itself, Albemarle officials said last week that, absent sufficient capital funding, its start date was uncertain and the project may have missed the window of a very favorable construction market.

20110601-Henry
Trevor Henry, Albemarle’s manager of facilities development

Trevor Henry, Albemarle’s manager of facilities development, told the Board of Supervisors last week that both the parking lot and final construction documents would be ready for the Crozet Library by August.

“We’re going to have bid opening today for the library parking lot and anticipate … starting work [in] early July,” Henry said.

Henry also predicted that the community had lost a chance to take advantage of low prices in a favorable construction market. According to Henry, Albemarle is seeing construction costs rise again on the library design, as well as other school capital projects.

“The most recent estimate that we just received has that cost estimate at around $6.8 million or just under $300 a square foot,” Henry said, describing the construction costs in the $9.6 million overall project. “The big drivers in that cost estimate change are site work and concrete.”

Citizens of Crozet has grown accustomed to delay when it comes to infrastructure called for in the Crozet Master Plan. That plan identified a new library as a priority back in December 2004.

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors approved the library’s plans in 2009 but has been unable to fully fund the project in its capital budget. Meanwhile, Albemarle staff and local leaders have kept the design moving forward to get the project “bid ready.”

20110601-libraryIn April the Architectural Review Board approved the design and now more than 50 percent of the construction documents for the library have been completed, with final documents anticipated to be ready by early August.

Tim Tolson, secretary for the Crozet Community Advisory Council and a member of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library board, said the completion of the parking lot was an important first step, especially with a streetscape project disrupting other parking.

“The concern with the streetscape project downtown is that traffic will avoid downtown because of construction, detours [and] all of that, and businesses there will not have the customer base that they need to stay in business,” Tolson said in an interview. “We saw it happen with Scottsville … where a lot of those restaurants, after many, many months of construction, had to close …”

Bill Schrader, also a CCAC member, said he was concerned that the increasing cost of the library could create more financial challenges for the project. After Henry’s presentation to the supervisors, Schrader said this could potentially place the library on indefinite hold.

“Who knows what the thinking will be in 2015, 2016, whether they’re going to say the library’s No. 1 or the fire department is No. 1,” Schrader said in an interview. “So if we don’t get it quickly, we’re just back in the hopper with every other project.”

Across the street from the library site, a major commercial development is beginning its review by the Architectural Review Board. Claudius Place is a two-story, 6,067-square-foot building intended to house offices, retail and a restaurant.

Schrader said he was disappointed the county missed a great construction market, but he views Claudius Place as a key indicator that the library will help revitalize downtown Crozet.

“They missed a golden opportunity, we’ll never get back the prices we could have had a year ago,” Schrader said. “I’m down on that side, but I’m up on the side that again Claudius Place says this is what can happen when you put the library in … they understand the growth that happens around the library.”

County Executive Tom Foley said the Crozet Library would be back before the board in August with complete construction documents and a final cost estimate. The supervisors learned in a separate meeting last week that they had an opportunity to refinance some existing debt and make another $10 million available immediately for capital projects. The board is expected to discuss whether to allocate these funds toward the library project in the fall.

Crozet Library Timeline

New Crozet Library on Dipity.

October 18, 2010

Supervisors adopt Crozet master plan update

By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, October 18, 2010

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved an update of the Crozet Master Plan.  The amendments to the twenty-year plan lower the ultimate population potential and seek to focus the community’s growth into three distinct areas.

 “The master plan continues to emphasize redevelopment of downtown,” said David Benish, Albemarle’s chief of planning at a public hearing last Wednesday. “Changes to the plan put greater emphasis on the three centers that have emerged, which is the Clover Lawn area, the Old Trail area and downtown.”

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20101012-BOS-Crozet-Plan

20101013-BOS-Crozet-LandUseMap
Higher resolution images are available on Albemarle County's website

The plan’s first five-year update was adopted after two years of review from residents and the Crozet Community Advisory Council, a county-sanctioned body of citizens. The plan now envisions a Crozet population growing from 5,500 today to 12,000 by 2030, with an ultimate build-out of 18,000 at some time in the future. The previous plan was estimated to accommodate over 24,000 residents.

 

Three property owners along Crozet Avenue requested to have their land designated as mixed-use, rather than remain as transitional in nature. That would have allowed for the possibility of dense residential development or commercial buildings to be built adjacent to single-family homes.

“Over the past four years, I have received a total of 17 inquiries about the property I own to be used as some sort of business, but due to the present situation, not one of these offers could go forward,” said Tom Oakley, one of the property owners.

CCAC members said dense uses outside of the core downtown are not appropriate at this time. 
“The discussion and arguments and input that we had about what happens with those three pieces of property were gut-wrenching,” said CCAC member William Schrader.  “We felt like we needed to protect the homeowners of that area.”

However, the property owners’ request was championed by Supervisor Ken Boyd.

“I just have this very strong feeling for people’s personal property rights,” Boyd said. “People should be able to with their property what they want to do so long as it’s not… going to hurt a neighborhood.”

Before a motion was taken, Boyd asked supervisors if they would support changing the use to reflect the three property owners’ wishes. Supervisor Rodney Thomas said he was sympathetic to the landowners’ request, but Supervisor Ann Mallek disagreed.

“Is their right to do that more important than the rights of the landowners around them?” Mallek asked.
Supervisor Dennis Rooker pointed out to Boyd and Thomas that Crozet is within Mallek’s district.

“We ought to give some deference to the person whose district this master planning is taking place in, and who has attended all the meetings,” Rooker said. “I’m not prepared to second-guess that.” 
Boyd and Thomas eventually agreed, and the landowners’ requests were not granted in this revision of the plan.

Two requests to expand the Crozet growth area were considered as part of the revision, but the plan now states that expansion is not desired at this time.

“All new buildings for office, retail, and industrial uses should be located within the existing Community of Crozet,” reads the plan. “This Master Plan update recommends that the Rural Areas outside of the Community of Crozet remain rural, including the stretch of Route 250 West between the Development Area boundary and the interstate interchange.” 

2010-Yancey

Boyd said this language was prejudicial against a comprehensive plan amendment filed by the Yancey family to bring 184 acres into the development area. The Yancey’s plan to build an industrial park between U.S. 250 and I-64 did not get an up or down vote as part of the plan’s revision.

 “I don’t want to put anything into the record that says we’re not going to do this or that we’re discouraging anything that I personally want to look at later,” Boyd said. “Some members of this board want to look at [Yancey Mills] as a possibility and I’ve said all along that I don’t think that Crozet can dictate policy for the entire county.”

The other expansion request came from Celeste Ploumis, who sought a reclassification of her property at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Route 240 to allow for a garden center. Members of the CCAC were opposed to both requests because of the potential for adding to traffic congestion on the highway.

 “If you look at Crozet and you want to avoid sprawl mistakes, you realize that Route 250 functions as a bypass around where the intended density will go, which is in downtown,” said Mike Marshall, chairman of the CCAC.  “The master plan envisions a traditional downtown and gets around the problem we had in Albemarle in the 80’s and 90’s of not having a bypass around 29 by keeping 250 undeveloped.”

The plan also envisions a larger core downtown, with the site of the Barnes Lumber Yard reclassified as mixed use. That site may pave the way for a pedestrian mall in Crozet.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 01:00 - Staff report from David Benish
  • 05:30 - Question from Supervisor Boyd regarding fate of three requests for property's density to be increased
  • 14:00 - Boyd calls attention to language in the plan that restricts development along Route 250 in rural area
  • 17:45 - Boyd asks a question about the CIP
  • 24:30 - Public comment from Paul Grady in favor of Yancey Mills project
  • 28:00 - Public comment from Celeste Ploumis requesting her property be added to growth area
  • 31:45 - Public comment from Aden Ray requesting Ploumis property be added to growth area
  • 33:30 - Public comment from Mike Marshall of the Crozet Community Advisory Council
  • 37:00 - Public comment from Tom Oakley in favor of having his property converted to mixed use
  • 38:15 - Public comment from Meg Holden in defense of the master planning process
  • 41:00 - Public comment from Tom Murray, realtor for Ploumis
  • 42:50 - Public comment from Katurah Royell to discuss Barnes lumber yard
  • 45:45 - Public comment from Barbara Westbrook, formerly of the CCAC in support of the plan
  • 47:30 - Public comment from Tim Tolson of the CCAC in support of the plan
  • 49:20 - Public comment from Lucy Goeke of the CCAC in support of the plan
  • 50:30 - Public comment from Jenny Martin requesting her property be converted to mixed use
  • 55:15 - Public comment from Mary Gallo of the CCAC
  • 58:00 - Public comment from Richard Martin requesting his property be converted to mixed use
  • 1:01:30 - Public comment from Jo Higgins
  • 1:04:30 - Follow-up comment from Tom Murray, realtor for Ploumis
  • 1:05:30 - Public comment from William Schrader of the CCAC
  • 1:07:30 - Discussion returns to the Board of Supervisors, with question from Rodney Thomas
  • 1:10:00 - Boyd asks if Crozet would support mixed use designation for three properties if it brought jobs

September 21, 2010

County planners debate decreased resources for community engagement

By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Members of the Albemarle County Planning Commission expressed concern last week that public bodies created to oversee the county’s master plans will be less effective now that budget cuts have forced them to meet less often.

“This is not a very good idea,” said Tom Loach, chair of the planning commission. “As far as I’m concerned, the advisory council has been indispensible in helping make decisions in my district because that’s where I get my feedback from.”

Download 20100914-APC-Community-Engagement

 

Lee Catlin, the county’s community relations manager, said the reduction is due to dwindling financial resources and is not a reflection they are no longer needed.

“It was pretty clearly stated during the budget process last year… that support to master planning advisory councils would be reduced,” said Catlin. She said no one from the councils spoke up during this year’s budget process to make the case for sustained funding. As a result, a community engagement position in her office was eliminated, as well as three positions in the planning department.

The Board of Supervisors endorsed the changes at their meeting on September 1.

When both the Crozet and Pantops master plans were adopted, advisory councils were created to provide a way for citizens to have a say in how those plans were implemented. However, their mission has been reduced because of county budget cutbacks.

“Each of the councils [will] meet three times a year,” said Wayne Cilimberg, the county’s director of planning. “There [will] also be an annual meeting of all the councils together.”

The councils are public bodies, and as such fall under Virginia’s open meeting laws which require publicly advertised meetings and the keeping of minutes. No more than two members of a public body are allowed to meet and discuss public business without following those regulations.

County Attorney Larry Davis advised the board of supervisors earlier this month that council members had to be aware of these obligations in any forum where they are meeting when more than two members are present, even if it is at a local community association gathering, a meeting not convened by the county.

Loach said that when the Crozet master plan was originally adopted, the community accepted it because they were told a full-time community planner would assist with its implementation. However, over time that person has been moved to deal with rezoning due to budget cuts.

“If there’s a lot of development activity as a result of either the master plan or the economic stimulus plan, then these advisory councils may need to more regular,” Loach said.

The Village of Rivanna is the latest growth area to have an adopted master plan, but a council has not been created at this time due to a lack of current development there. However, key stakeholders will be invited to the annual meeting.

Commissioner Linda Porterfield said there are already significant problems her constituents and staff, and added it was inconsistent to treat her growth area different from that of Pantops and Crozet.

“We need communication, and if we lose communication, we’re in real trouble,” Porterfield said.  She also objected to supervisors signing off on the changes before the commission had a chance to weigh in.

Cilimberg pointed out that the adopted master plan for the Village of Rivanna anticipated a low level of development in the short-term.

“We have a capital program with essentially no money for initiatives,” Cilimberg said. “The Board is bombarded with a multitude of budget considerations and demands and balancing that against a constituency that does not want to see increases in their taxes,” Cilimberg said. “At some point the reality strikes and that’s our reality right now.”

The Board of Supervisors will consider the Places29 Master Plan in November.


August 22, 2010

Crozet “Downtown Mall” gets OK from advisory group

DailyProgress

By Bridgett Lynn
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, August 22, 2010

A group that oversees planning in Crozet has endorsed a new concept to redevelop a lumber yard on the Square into a walkable and livable community similar to Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.

“We need a pedestrian mall in Crozet,” said Mike Marshall, chairman of the Crozet Community Advisory Council. “This comes into Crozet’s life at a very fortunate time for us.”

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20100819-CCAC

The CCAC voted Thursday to recommend rezoning the 14.74-acre J. Bruce Barnes Lumber Yard and CSX railroad property to allow for future development as part of the Crozet Master Plan.

Member Kelly Strickland abstained because he helped to draw the plans for the property.

20100819-Roell
Katurah Roell

“If you imagine Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, it’s a complete mixture of uses,” said Katurah Roell, president of President of Piedmont Development Group and a representative of the lumber yard. “This is a very small scale, a version of that, but what it does create is the ability to have a gathering space and some place where people love to go [in] Crozet.”

Under this concept, the lumber yard would be redeveloped into a space that would be open to a mixture of uses. The concept provides 100,000 square feet of light industrial building space and would account for almost one-fifth of development for light industrial use in the Master Plan, according to Roell.

“From [research and development] business to office space, restaurants, retail [and] some housing,” Roell said, “it will provide a variety of opportunities for people to locate their businesses, live, work, play and entertain each other.”

20100822-Crozet-Mall
Click to enlarge


Crozet’s downtown is also under pressure to compete with other mixed-use neighborhoods such as Old Trail Village, which has a shopping village, golf course and other amenities.

“There are many existing businesses … that have considered going to Old Trail,” Roell said. “[We want] to be able to provide an office complex in here somewhere, where literally several hundred people can be employed.”

Some CCAC members were concerned that parts of the concept would not fit the area.

“It looks like there is a lot of on-street parking, and I don’t think that’s been thought out very well for that area,” member Charles Mitchell said. “I don’t want us to do something stupid.”

“There is close to over 700 parking spaces shown here,” Roell said. “That’s based on square footage, density, no particular use, and it’s also tied to Crozet downtown and/or light industrial zoning district parking requirements that are county ordinances.”

Some members of the public were concerned that the plan could disrupt their privacy.

“I’m wondering what kind of buffer zone there is going to be between these two- and three-story buildings and my backyard,” said Ellen McKenna, a resident of Hill Top Street. “I have a very private backyard and whenever this plan is fully implemented, I’m going to have buildings looking down into my yard. So my sense of privacy will be pretty much gone.”

“[The buildings are] 60 feet away from the property line,” Roell responded. “[And] those large trees along the back of the boundary of the property were intended to be left intact.”

“If anything, the downtown plan [makes] it more flexible for people to build buildings,” said Tom Loach, a member of Albemarle’s Planning Commission. “We should try and actively get employment in the downtown area.”

“I think it’s a very intelligent plan,” Marshall said. “I think it’s drawn by people who know what they’re doing. I think it’s highly in sync with what we hoped would happen in downtown when we designed the downtown zoning district.”

According to county planner Elaine Echols, county staff will submit a report to the Planning Commission presenting the CCAC’s input on the proposal. The county Board of Supervisors is expected to hold a work session on the updated Crozet Master Plan on Sept. 1.

“I’m very glad that we’re thinking about all of these issues because having something as wonderful as [this] is going to bring people to [Crozet],” said Ann H. Mallek, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors.

July 14, 2010

County planners reject inclusion of industrial park in Crozet Master Plan

DailyProgress
This article is an extended version of what appears in the
Daily Progress.
By Bridgett Lynn & Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

While Albemarle County is seeking to increase its industrial and commercial land activity, proposals reviewed as part of the Crozet Master Plan to build a new business park and convert some residential homes to mixed use have been rejected by the Planning Commission.

Will Yancey appeared at the public hearing Tuesday to lobby for his family’s 2008 application to create a light-industrial business park just outside the Crozet development area near the intersection of Interstate 64 and U.S. 250.
  20100713-Yancey
Will Yancey


“We don’t have enough industrial land,” Yancey said. “In the last three years there have been two studies, one in 2007 and one that was just completed recently, that indicated Albemarle had a shortage of industrial land.”

ISSUE PROFILE
The Yancey Mills Business Park

What: A proposal to create a light industrial business park for offices and equipment storage yard(s) on 148 acres of rural land adjacent to the Crozet designated growth area in Albemarle County

Where: Behind the Yancey Lumber Company sawmill near the interchange of Interstate 64 and U.S. Route 250 West--The business park would cover a total of 184 acres and include 36 acres of heavy industrial land used today for the sawmill's operations

Yancey-Map

Community Issues:

1) The business park would be on land designated for rural uses in the watershed of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. As such, the property is not in the jurisdictional area for public water and sewer. Albemarle's comprehensive plan directs that new residential and industrial development should occur within the existing designated growth areas.

2) The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has expressed interest in increasing the amount of land zoned for light industrial uses and in revisiting the uses of land at the Shadwell and Yancey Mills interchanges of I-64.

3) Downtown Crozet has existing industrial property that can be redeveloped. Doing so has the potential to add truck traffic onto roads servicing a growing residential community. The proposed business park, on the other hand, would be accessed by a four-lane section of Route 250 West at the interstate interchange. Supporters say this would keep trucks away from Crozet.

4) Supporters of the project say it would bring jobs closer to the growing residential community in Crozet. The developer has said he would proffer some land for use by Western Albemarle High School for use as athletic fields.

5) The Planning Commission, the Crozet Community Advisory Council, and majority of members of the public that participated in the 2009-2010 update of the Crozet Master Plan have expressed opposition to the business park proposal.

Timeline:

PC = Albemarle County Planning Commission
BOS = Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

According to county staff, the majority of Crozet residents and the Crozet Community Advisory Council (CCAC) do not support the proposed business park which would be on 184 acres around the site of the Yancey Lumber Co. sawmill.

“The public very adamantly said they were opposed to having a 1.1 [million] to 1.8 million square foot industrial park right outside of the master plan boundaries,” said Mary Rice, a former advisory council member.

“The proposal has serious flaws beyond generating sprawl in the rural area,” said Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center. “The property is located in the water supply watershed. It drains to the South Fork Rivanna River and ultimately to the South Fork Reservoir. Major development activity on this land would almost certainly increase the amount of sediment and other pollutants entering that drinking water reservoir.”

Other concerns about the proposed business park were that it would undermine efforts to invigorate businesses in Downtown Crozet and would negatively impact traffic near the interstate.

“Our recommendation is that it’s bad for the master plan,” said Mike Marshall, chairman of the advisory council. “We don’t think it ought to be allowed.”
  20100713-Marshall
Mike Marshall, chair of the Crozet Community Advisory Board


The planning commission indicated last month that the Yancey Mills project should be independently reviewed by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. At Tuesday’s meeting, the commission formally voted to exclude the project from the master plan update and went a step further and also voted 4-3 to recommend the Board of Supervisors deny the business park request. Commissioners Don Franco, Linda Porterfield, and Edward Smith voted against that motion. 

Porterfield was the only commissioner who supported further study of the Yancey Mills project when the commission originally rejected it in November 2008 by a 6-1 vote. Franco and Smith joined the commission subsequent to that decision.

“We have not studied the Yancey proposal,” Porterfield said Tuesday. “We can’t vote it down if we don’t know anything about it.”

“There is no place else that I’m aware of in this county right now that there is one entity that controls that much land with good transportation,” Porterfield said. "If we don’t start thinking about that, we’re going to be supporting this entire county on residential taxes.”

The other topic getting considerable attention at the public hearing related to a proposal to mix commercial and residential uses in a small area north of downtown.  The commission voted unanimously to maintain the existing residential character of the neighborhood around Wayland Drive and St. George Avenue.

“We’ve had some interest for quite some time from property owners…wanting to have greater use of their property than just the single family residential use that they have right now,” said Elaine Echols, Albemarle County’s principal planner for the development areas.

“What we came up…with the community was a recommendation for mixed use in this particular area with a modification to the stream buffer to allow for redevelopment if there’s mitigation which helps to protect the water supply,” said Echols.

Jenny Martin spoke on behalf of the property owners that supported the staff’s recommendation. She said the proposal would create a transition between commercial and residential use.

“This designation of mixed use will create a buffer to the north of Crozet between commercial and residential which today does not currently exist and will preserve the look and feel of the village of Crozet,” Martin said.

However, other members of the community and representatives of the CCAC spoke against the proposal.

“The resolution that the advisory council passed was on where to maintain the boundary between commercial use…and residential,” said Marshall. “The motion…to maintain that natural [creek] boundary, which is the boundary today, as the future boundary…passed 10 to 2.”

“I cannot understand why just two houses in Wayland Park should be included in a transition zone for mixed use,” said Joyce Shifflett, a resident of St. George Avenue. “To consider just two houses in the subdivision for mixed use would be totally unfair to us and the other property owners in Wayland Park.”

In 2006, county staff prepared a report estimating that Crozet, which has a population of about 5,500 today, could reach a maximum population of about 24,000.  The revised plan now anticipates a long-term population capacity of approximately 18,000.

“I’m all for the community deciding that it wants a much lower total build out,” said Peter Loach of the Piedmont Housing Alliance. “I just want [the community] to be aware…as they lower density and make each house sit on a bigger piece of land, each house is going to cost more and become much less affordable.

Staff will incorporate changes recommended by the Planning Commission and bring the plan back for final approval at their meeting July 27.

June 16, 2010

County planners prefer independent review of Yancey business park proposal in Crozet

DailyProgress By Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Having been heard on their demands for lower population projections, no expansion of the growth area, and preservation of the downtown business district, the Crozet community appears to be largely in favor of the village’s updated 20-year Master Plan.

That has not deterred one area resident from continuing to advance his proposal to create a light-industrial business park just outside the Crozet master planning area near the intersection of Interstate 64 and U.S. 250.

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Tuesday evening, Will Yancey appeared before the Albemarle County Planning Commission and asked for an “independent look” at his family’s 2008 request to add 184 acres to the county’s growth area to create a business park around the site of the Yancey Lumber Co. sawmill.

“Even though we attended every single [Crozet Master Plan community] meeting … it was rigged from the start,” Yancey said. “We think it is incumbent upon this commission, as well as the Board of Supervisors, to take this out of the rubric of the revision of the Master Plan and give it a hard, independent look on its own.”

Yancey said the Crozet Community Advisory Council had not reviewed his plan with an open mind. County staff, however, have advised the commission that there is “little community support” for Yancey’s proposal.

Later this year, local elected officials are expected to weigh the residents’ preference for growth to occur within Crozet’s current boundaries, as described by the Master Plan, against a desire by some leaders for increased economic development in new parts of Albemarle, specifically at the county’s interstate interchanges.

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Commissioner Linda Porterfield (Scottsville)
“I think the interchanges in this county are a decision to be made by the entire county,” Commissioner Linda Porterfield said. “They are an economic provider to the entire county if we use them properly. No development area has the right to stand in the way.”

“It has been studied, it now needs to be pulled. Otherwise, it is going to pull the Master Plan process down,” Commissioner Cal Morris said. “It should be studied separately.”

When the Board of Supervisors asked that Yancey’s proposal be reconsidered in 2008, the board said it did not have a position for or against the business park, it just wanted the plan reviewed as part of the community’s master planning process.

Tuesday night a majority of Planning Commission members indicated they agreed with Yancey’s request for an independent review process. Further, one planning commissioner thinks a majority of the Board of Supervisors may now be inclined to support Yancey’s business park, regardless of what ends up in the revised Master Plan.

“My sense is that what is happening at the board level is that they are saying they are OK with it and we need to find a way to allow it under some acceptable conditions,” Commissioner Don Franco said in an interview.

“I still think there is a win-win solution out there. I think the board is very open to seeing development take place there that is a quality development,” Franco said. “If it were to develop, under what conditions would [the community] accept development there? Right now the public just keeps coming back and saying they don’t want it.”

“We need to bring in entities that not only provide taxes to Albemarle County, but also jobs,” Porterfield said. “I am not comfortable with the Crozet Master Plan killing the possibility of that interchange being studied.”

“We have recently opened not one, but three commercial centers in Crozet, creating many new jobs,” countered Commissioner Tom Loach, who opposes Yancey’s proposal. “It is going to go around us anyhow, but it seems to me the community has given its findings and it doesn’t support it.”

After the work session, Yancey said he was pleased with the direction from the commission.

“We are pleased with their decision. It is what we have been asking for all along.”

In a separate process, the Albemarle supervisors are currently reviewing a draft economic development action plan. The current draft calls for consideration of “a modification of the Interstate Interchange Policy that might allow lower impact industrial and rural-serving uses at those intersections …” However, the county’s Comprehensive Plan emphasizes that new industrial development occur within the designated growth areas.

At a recent meeting, the board decided to hold roundtables on June 23 and July 1 on the action plan to get additional public input. In an interview, Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker addressed the question of whether the action plan opened the door for Yancey’s business park being located outside the growth area at the I-64 interchange in Crozet.

“The door is partially open. There is other language that says it has to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan,” Rooker said. “My idea was to try and get some changes in [the action plan] that made it more consistent with the existing Comprehensive Plan …. When we last discussed [the interchanges], none of the uses given as examples were anything of the scale of what is being proposed by Yancey.”

“People from Crozet are welcome to come to the roundtables and make comments about specific language in the economic development plan,” Rooker added.

The Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a public hearing on the draft revisions to the Crozet Master Plan for July 13.