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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" »

February 08, 2012

Albemarle officials briefed on target industry study

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission were briefed at a joint meeting Wednesday on the preliminary results of a study to identify specific types of industry that should be persuaded to relocate or grow in the community.

20120208-BOS-APC


“This will help us leverage our unique assets both as a region and as Albemarle County to make sure we are focusing on the kinds of industries and enterprises that are going to be the most successful here,” said Lee Catlin, the county’s community relations director.

The consultant who conducted the study on behalf of the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development found that the top three industries to encourage are: bioscience and medical devices; business and financial services; and information technology and defense security.

However, Catlin stressed that the results are preliminary and need to be refined before they can fully inform the review of the comprehensive plan.

“The consultant has done a great data search and has brought forth things that make sense to them, but we really need to put the lens of what’s right for Albemarle County on it,” Catlin said.

Continue reading "Albemarle officials briefed on target industry study" »

November 29, 2011

County continues conversation on industrial land use

DailyProgressBy Kurt Walters
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

As part of Albemarle County’s comprehensive plan review, county staff members held a roundtable discussion Monday to gather stakeholder comments on industrial land needs.

Business owners, environmental and pro-business advocates and representatives from the city of Charlottesville and University of Virginia gave input on what amenities and zoning regulations would help facilitate operating a business in Albemarle.

County staff noted that the type of industry that they hope to attract is not the obtrusive, polluting factory kind, but “more modern” facilities, offering an image of an attractive molecular foundry in San Francisco as an example.

“When we talk about industrial land of 2011, we’re trying to get away from the concept of smokestacks,” said Elaine Echols, principal planner at the county. “This country isn’t doing much in the way of smokestacks anymore … what we’re looking at is the high tech industry.”

Continue reading "County continues conversation on industrial land use" »

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

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.

20100615-CoPC 

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.

20100615-Porterfield
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.

April 08, 2010

Crozet residents weigh in on master plan, Yancey industrial park

DailyProgress
This article is an extended version of what appears in today's
Daily Progress.

By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, April 8, 2010

As Albemarle County looks for ways to increase its industrial land, some Crozet residents are concerned their community has paid a high price for development in the past several years.

“There are many many people in Crozet who are suffering because of the changes that have come,” said Crozet resident Mary Gallo.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20100406-APC-Crozet-Plan

The Crozet Master Plan was originally adopted in 2004, and must be reviewed every five years.  For the past few months, planners have been working with the Crozet Community Advisory Council (CCAC) to adjust the plan.

“When we asked the community about the update and what the focus areas should be, the guiding principle [was] that Crozet should remain Crozet,” said County Planner Rebecca Ragsdale during a work session held Tuesday by the Albemarle County Planning Commission. 

Many Crozet residents were concerned that maps included with the plan showed a total potential population build-out of 24,760, even though the text of the plan capped that figure at 12,000.

The revision involves changes to the map and lowering densities in some areas to bring that number between 15,000 and 17,300.

Commission Chair Tom Loach said he was glad for the lower population numbers, but pointed out they were still higher than the community expected.

“We’re 30% above what [was] originally recommended by the consultants,” Loach said.

The review of the plan also included consideration of two separate requests to change the land use in and around the boundaries of the Crozet plan, but neither request was endorsed by the CCAC or staff.

Celeste Ploumis is seeking an up-zoning of her land at the corner of U.S 250 and Route 240 to create a garden center. She said she’s lived on the property for twenty years, but growth has made her land unsuitable for residential use.

“Planned growth has brought four traffic lights within a mile or so of my home, along with countless subdivisions, shopping centers, and a great increase in population,” Ploumis said.

However, neighbor Lucy Goeke told the Commission she felt granting the request would cause more congestion on Route 250.

“If one more piece of property goes [commercial]… we’ll all be forced to switch,” Goeke said.

20100406-AlbCoPC-W_Yancey Will Yancey

The review of the plan also includes consideration of a request from the Yancey family, owners of the R.A. Yancey Lumber Yard, to add 184 acres to the county’s growth area to create a light industrial business park.

However, neither staff nor the CCAC support the idea. 

“The recommendation from the community was that if there is a need for more light industrial [land], that it be located in the Crozet development area, and that [Route] 250 continue to be protected from commercial development,” Ragsdale said.

The plan suggests that additional land be designated for industrial uses along Route 240.

“There seems to be two competing visions for where to put an employment center in and around Crozet,” said Will Yancey, representing his family.

During his presentation, Yancey said he felt his land was a more appropriate location for industrial use, claiming trucks could easily access the park via I-64 and a four-lane section of Route 250. He said trucks trying to get to the suggested industrial center on Route 240 would need to travel further and past many residential neighborhoods.

Download Download the Yancey proposal dated September 2, 2008

Mary Rice, a member of the CCAC, said she thought the review process had been positive for the community.

“I think Crozet citizens have regained a lot of faith in the county,” Rice said. “I’d encourage you to keep that faith… and deny any industrial park.”

Crozet resident Mary Gallo said she hoped the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors would reject the Yancey proposal, citing the Board’s 2007 decision not to allow the Soccer-Organization of Charlottesville-Albemarle to build an indoor training facility off of Polo Grounds Road because it is not in the growth area.

“That was denied strictly because it was in the rural area,” Gallo said.

20100406-AlbCoPC-Mary_Rice Mary Rice
Chairman Loach pointed out that the Planning Commission has already dismissed the Yancey proposal once, and is only considering it again at the direction of the Board of Supervisors. He also said Yancey did not mention during his presentation that portions of the property are in the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir’s watershed. 

“It has been consistently been the policy of the county not to build in a watershed,” Loach said.

Commissioner Don Franco said he had not made up his mind on the Yancey proposal, but wanted more information the CCAC’s opposition given the Board of Supervisors’ desire to increase the amount of land zoned for light industrial use.

 “If the county decided that it made more sense to  put [light industrial zoning on the Yancey property] and not to put it downtown because of some of the access points, what would make that bearable?”, Franco asked.

Planning Commissioner Ed Smith, who has only been on the body since January, said he can remember when Crozet was a very small place.

“A lot of people have moved in since then and everyone has their own opinion,” Smith said.  “I haven’t made up my mind, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to take a vote on this.”

County planning staff will now begin the process of writing up new text to go along with the revised maps. Both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors are expected to hold a public hearing this summer.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 01:00 - Staff report from Rebecca Ragsdale
  • 18:40 - Ragsdale summarizes changes for industrial designate
  • 27:00 - Ragsdale describes updates to transportation called for in the master plan
  • 29:00 - Ragsdale discusses updates to green infrastructure and parks
  • 32:00 - Public comment from Celeste Ploumis in support of her CPA request
  • 37:40 - Public comment from Tom Murray, a real estate appraiser who spoke in favor of her CPA    
  • 40:22 - Public comment from Chris Holden, a neighbor of Ploumis opposed to her request
  • 43:00 - Public comment from Jenny Martin, legal guardian for Ellen Claytor, regarding downtown property
  • 54:00 - Public comment from Lucy Goeke in opposition of the Ploumis request.
  • 55:00 - Public comment from Tom Oakley in connection with a downtown property
  • 56:00 - Public comment from D.B. Sandridge, Oakley's realtor
  • 58:15 - Public comment from Carlos Romas, who wants to open up a garden center on the Ploumis property
  • 58:40 - Public comment from Tom Goeke against the Yancey proposal
  • 1:00:00 - Public comment from Barbara Westbrook regarding the Ploumis property
  • 1:02:00 - Public comment from Mary Gallo encouraging PC to adopt CCAC's recommendations for plan
  • 1:07:00 - Public comment from Mary Rice of the CCAC
  • 1:08:40 - Public comment from Tim Tolson of the CCAC
  • 1:10:15 - Public comment from Crozet resident Delia Wilson
  • 1:11:20 - Public comment from Bill Schrader of the CCAC
  • 1:14:30 - Public comment from Mike Marshall of the CCAC
  • 1:16:30 - Public comment from Will Yancey in support of his proposal
  • 1:23:00 - Public comment from Neil Williamson of the Free Enterprise Forum
  • 1:24:30 - Comments from Planning Commissioner Tom Loach
  • 1:31:30 - Question and comments from Commissioner Duane Zobrist
  • 1:36:30 - Comments from Commissioner Cal Morris
  • 1:37:00 - Comments from Commissioner Don Franco
  • 1:45:30 - Director of Planning Wayne Cilimberg mentions the emerging concept of allowing low-impact industry at interstate interchanges
  • 1:49:00 - Comments from Planning Commissioner  Ed Smith


 

February 07, 2010

Decision on Yancey Mills Business Park to wait until July

DailyProgress By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, February 7, 2010

A proposal to bring 184 acres of western Albemarle land into the county’s development area to create an industrial park will continue to be considered as part of the Crozet Master Plan, despite the concerns of one supervisor who wants to expedite the decision.

"The problem I'm having is I'm not sure why it's taking so long for the Crozet Master Plan to be reviewed," Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd said. Boyd also said the county needs to foster more commercial activity in order increase county revenues.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20100203-BOS-Yancey-Mills

In August 2008, Will Yancey submitted a request to Albemarle to amend the county’s Comprehensive Plan seeking the ability to create a light industrial business park on mostly rural land that borders Interstate 64 and Western Albemarle High School.

The Planning Commission and staff have both recommended denial of the proposal, but the Board of Supervisors directed staff in December 2008 to evaluate the proposal as part of the revision of the Crozet Master Plan.

Community and staff recommendations on the revised plan will not come before the Board of Supervisors until July. In the meantime, the board heard a report Wednesday on the county’s supply of available industrial land that could be immediately occupied by businesses looking to expand or relocate here.

The report by business development facilitator Susan Stimart says that while there are 900 acres designated in the county’s Comprehensive Plan for industrial use, only about 100 of those acres carry the proper zoning and are available for development.

“All the measurements indicated that we have a shortage of light industrial and heavy industrial [lands],” Stimart said.

Stimart said the land is needed by companies that start here, but outgrow their existing location. She told the board the county will soon lose BOSS Medical Technologies to Fluvanna County because they could not find enough land that was affordable on which to build a new facility.

The report also states that most of the 900 acres are located along U.S. 29, which is not as desirable because of congestion and lack of access to Interstate 64. That view was also held by at least one supervisor.

“My view of light industrial is that it needs to be located in a usable place,” said Supervisor Rodney S. Thomas during the work session. “Let’s have [land] available so we can open the door for these people that want to come here.”

Stimart’s report included several recommendations. The first would protect land currently zoned for light industrial use by removing office and other uses from the zoning ordinance. The second would be to preemptively rezone land designated in the Comprehensive Plan as light industrial. Stimart said this would only be done with the permission of individual property owners.

The report’s final recommendation would be to allow additional uses in rural areas near interchanges with I-64 in both the Yancey Mills area and along U.S. 250 in Shadwell. This would require the creation of a “Light Industrial (LI) light” designation to allow storage yards and other uses that would not require access to the water and sewer system. Benish said it would take a year to develop ordinance language to bring the “LI-light” category before the board.

That timeline bothered Boyd.

“I can’t sit here and say that I think we need another year to jumpstart this economy,” Boyd said. He added that the “LI-Light” concept might prevent a fair hearing of the Yancey project, which offers a different vision of how Crozet’s interchange with I-64 might be configured.

“These people want to move forward with this project,” Boyd told fellow supervisors. “I think they deserve their chance in front of this board to do that.”

Benish said he did not think the community or staff would recommend the addition of the Yancey land to the growth area, but he said the board would have the final say.

Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker said the Crozet Community Advisory Council has been strongly opposed to the project. However, he added the board had the power to remove the Yancey proposal from the Crozet Master Plan revision process if it wanted to.

Benish said if the board did not want to wait until July to make a decision on the Yancey proposal, it needed to direct staff as soon as possible. That direction did not occur on Wednesday.

Thomas suggested the Yancey proposal continue as part of the Crozet Master Plan. Board Chairwoman Ann Mallek said that was essential, given the importance of trust between government and residents.

“The community put their heart into [the revision] and they believe it,” Mallek said. “I think that in all the various [magisterial] districts, people need to have confidence in the master planning process.”  Mallek said Crozet’s priority was to invest in its downtown area, and not to create new development areas on the edges.

Will Yancey, representing the Yancey family, said in an interview that he would be happy to have his proposal considered outside of the plan’s context, and he hopes supervisors would consider more than just Crozet when making their decision.

“Fundamentally, the lack of light industrial zoning is a county-wide issue that shouldn't exclude input from the broader community beyond Crozet,” Yancey said.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 01:00 - Susan Stimart begins her report on the LI inventory   
  • 04:15 - Rooker points out that the UVA Research Park is not being taken into consideration by report
  • 05:20 - Boyd disagrees with Rooker's concern
  • 10:20 - Benish explains why the research park wasn't deemed appropriate for the needs being assess in the LI report
  • 11:10 - Rooker points to Fifth and Avon development as an example of why there isn't much demand for LI
  • 12:50 - Thomas said he would prefer to rezone land to industrial to make it available
  • 14:45 - Mallek asks question about potential industrial uses for small parcels
  • 20:40 - Boyd said there a lot of reasons why the 900 acres in the comp plan aren't where the inventory is needed
  • 22:35 - Stimart seeks feedback on the report's recommendation: maintain and allow ease of use for existing properties
  • 26:15 - Discussion of whether land designed in comprehensive plan should be preemptively rezoned
  • 28:00 - Boyd asks for information on companies that have been unable to relocate or expand in Albemarle
  • 34:50 - Snow asks how much of the decisions is driven by property costs
  • 38:00 - Benish seeks direction on staff recommendations
  • 42:00 - Discussion of second recommendation
  • 45:30 - Boyd expresses frustration
  • 46:30 - Davis said a key first step will be to create a new zoning district  
  • 50:30 - Mallek said Crozet community wants to focus light industrial uses on north side of Route 240
  • 53:00 - Stimart asks for feedback on the LI-Light proposal
  • 1:03:00 - Boyd says he has a problem with Yancey Mills proposal being held up, prompting discussion about whether it should be considered in Crozet Master Plan
  • 1:05:15 - Benish describes how Yancey proposal was connected   

January 30, 2010

Yancey industrial proposal questioned by Crozet citizens

DailyProgress By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Saturday, January 30, 2010

A spirited crowd of Crozet residents was on hand at a public forum Thursday to challenge the notion that western Albemarle is a prime location for expanded industrial development. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has asked for consideration of a new light industrial business park in the Crozet Master Plan’s first five-year update.

Yancey-logs“We’ve been waiting for this meeting and don’t know if the Board of Supervisors has already made a preliminary decision or not,” said Meg West, a Crozet resident for over 25 years who is opposed to the new park. “We’re hoping they will listen to us.”

In early January, the Board of Supervisors approved a pro-business action plan that identified the Yancey Mills area as one location for expanded industrial zoning. That directive coincides with a request from the Yancey family to expand the county’s designated growth area for a new business park.

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The Yancey Lumber Company sits on 36 acres along U.S. 250 that represents about 32 percent of all the heavy industrial zoned land in the county. The family also owns 148 surrounding rural acres, some of which has been in the family since 1878. It is this land, which borders Interstate 64 and Western Albemarle High School, on which Will Yancey is proposing a new light industrial business park.

Yancey-mills
Area of proposed business park
While the Crozet Master Plan will not come before the Board of Supervisors until later this summer, supervisors will hear a report from staff on Wednesday detailing the county’s inventory of industrial land. The report claims that while the Comprehensive Plan designates an adequate amount of land for industrial use, there is an inadequate amount land zoned and ready for that activity.

Several of Thursday’s attendees shared their disagreement with conclusions in the report.

“Part of the reason why we don’t have enough light industrial land is because it gets very easily converted to commercial,” Crozet resident Lucy Goeke said. She pointed to a table in the report that lists more than 160 acres rezoned from industrial to other uses in the past five years.

Yancey said many potential business owners have told him his family’s land would be an ideal location for them to locate because of its close access to I-64.

“What we’re trying to do is create a discrete employment center with no retail component,” Yancey said. “We would be happy to proffer away any kind of highway commercial use that’s associated with U.S. 29.”

20100128-Marshall Mike Marshall
That was not enough for Mike Marshall, chairman of the Crozet Community Advisory Council. He suggested county officials begin their search for more industrial land at interstate interchanges closer to Charlottesville. He said the Yancey proposal would siphon away investment from parts of Crozet already zoned for industrial and commercial uses.

“We can’t get building to happen in downtown Crozet,” Marshall said. “We’ve got vacant parcels next to the post office. All through downtown there is vacant land.”

In late 2008, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to include consideration of the Yancey proposal as part of the Crozet Master Plan despite a lack of support from the county Planning Commission. When it was reviewed, staff and commissioners pointed out that the business park was inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan, affected the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir’s watershed and might compete with downtown Crozet.

However, a section of the inventory report recommends studying the potential of opening up the rural area near interchanges to certain uses, such as contractors’ storage yards. County planner David Benish said this category of uses would be less intensive than what would be allowed under the Yancey proposal.

Many in the community were skeptical.

“It’s like you’re taking a baby-step towards light industrial rather a full step,” Marshall said.

When asked by Benish if the crowd wanted staff to continue refining this concept, the majority shouted out a loud “no!”

In the interest of fairness, Marshall also asked the crowd if anyone approved of the concept.

20100128-Tolson-Seegers CCAC member Tim Tolson argues with Waynesboro businessman Dave Seegers, who had suggested Yancey Mills would be his choice to build new industry
One “yes” came from Wendell Gibson, a building contractor who lives in Ivy. He said it made more sense to have truck traffic concentrated near the interstate, rather than along residential roads such as portions of Route 240.

After members of the crowd booed his comments, Gibson questioned their commitment to business.

“We’re losing tax dollars to other counties because we will not sit here as a community and realize that we have to grow,” Gibson said.

Despite Yancey’s willingness to give up commercial uses, Marshall said he could not support the proposal.

“We don’t have any confidence that in a couple of years [the land] won’t be flipped to another use,” Marshall said. “We have an issue developing our existing infrastructure, our existing commercial area and our existing downtown. When those are full, it’s a different question.”

Supervisor Duane Snow (Samuel Miller District) said by his count about 90 percent of the crowd appeared to be against the Yancey proposal.

“A lot of people don’t trust government and they don’t trust developers to do what they say they will,” Snow said in an interview.

Snow said he was keeping an open mind over the Yancey proposal because there is still time before supervisors weigh in directly. He said he was personally considering the argument that some industrial uses might be more appropriate in Yancey’s business park rather than on Route 240 near downtown in Crozet.

A decision on the Yancey proposal will come later this year as the Crozet Master Plan is updated by the Board of Supervisors.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 01:00 - Mike Marshall of the Crozet Community Advisory Council describes the three items on the meeting's agenda
  • 04:00 - David Benish of Albemarle County Community Development explains the light inventory report
  • 04:38 - Benish updates audience on the Crozet Master Plan
  • 05:30 - Benish explains why the light industrial inventory was commissioned by the Board
  • 10:00 - Benish explains how the light industrial inventory was conducted
  • 14:30 - Benish relates the County's light industrial strengths and weaknesses
  • 17:50 - Benish explains the recommendations of the LI report
  • 23:00 - Question about the lumber yard and whether it will be considered industrial
  • 24:00 - Question from audience about whether the Yancey Mills interchange could end up being commercial
  • 25:00 - Question about whether lawnmower and tractor repair would be allowed
  • 25:45 - Comment from Crozet resident Lucy Goeke about how LI land is easily switched to commercial
  • 28:45 - Marshall begins questioning Benish about the report
  • 34:45 - Benish describes how southern urban master plan could be an opportunity to find more LI land
  • 41:20 - Marshall questions the demand for additional light industrial land
  • 44:00 - Goeke argues that light industrial land at Yancey Mills will be too expensive for that use
  • 44:30 - Planning Commissioner Duane Zobrist asks for the name of one business that did not locate here because of lack of land
  • 45:00 - Business Development Coordinator Susan Stimart explains how Albemarle County is losing businesses to other counties
  • 47:15 - Comments from Sarah Henley
  • 48:15 - Comments from William Schrader of the CCAC
  • 50:45 - Benish leads discussion of whether other industrial land can be found within Crozet growth area
  • 53:00 - Benish takes audience through the Crozet Master Plan
  • 57:40 - Marshall explains some of the possibilities for rezoning the Barnes lumber yard
  • 1:02:45 - Marshall explains why the Acme property is currently unavailable 
  • 1:07:00 - Audience member asks if Acme property could be converted to commercial
  • 1:18:40 - Will Yancey presents details about his proposal
  • 1:29:45 - Woman in the audience questions the notion there isn't enough light industrial land
  • 1:34:25 - Marshall compares size of proposal to Fashion Square Mall
  • 1:35:35 - Comments on the Yancey proposal from William Schrader
  • 1:38:00 - Schrader asks Yancey to describe exactly what he wants to see happen on his property
  • 1:39:45 - Crozet resident Mary Gallo recalls a BOS meeting where SOCA was denied an SUP for fields in rural area
  • 1:42:00 - Goeke reads aloud the 8 unfavorable factors why County staff recommended against proposal in late 2008
  • 1:44:00 - Benish summarizes why staff had recommended against further study of the Yancey Mills proposal
  • 1:48:00 - More details on the recommendation for the interstate interchange concept
  • 1:51:15 - Comments from Wendell Gibson, building contractor, sparks debate about the land
  • 1:54:45 - Benish attempts to finish up his presentation
  • 1:58:15 - Comment from Crozet resident Trina English who said Crozet Master Plan appears to not have any meaning

January 17, 2010

County planners to debate whether Albemarle has enough industrial land

DailyProgress By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Landscaper Scott Watkins was told by Albemarle officials in February 2005 that the landscaping business he had operated for more than twenty years was in violation of county zoning because its headquarters and storage yard was located in the rural area off of Route 20.

Five years later, Watkins is still working with community development officials to move his company into the development area.

“The process is like crawling through forty miles of barbed wire because there are so many pieces to it,” Watkins said. He estimates he’s spent nearly half a million dollars to stay in Albemarle County.

After much research, Watkins found property on Route 250 near Crozet that could be rezoned. In March 2008, the Board of Supervisors granted him the rezoning, but he is still working to meet the requirements detailed in his site plan.

Watkins’ story is one of many that has prompted some members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors to back an “action plan” of steps designed to make the county more business friendly. Among the proposals in the plan, adopted earlier this month, is the call for an expedited review of a report on the availability of light industrial land.

That report, initiated well before last November’s elections, will be presented to the Albemarle County Planning Commission on Tuesday night. Susan Stimart, the county’s business development facilitator, analyzed real-estate records and conducted interviews with business owners to produce a “snapshot” of available industrial land.

“Staff concludes there is a shortage of high-quality, vacant industrial land compared with existing users’ stated demands, workforce projections and comparable supply in other jurisdictions,” Stimart writes in the report.

Download Download Susan Stimart's assessment of light-industrial land in Albemarle County

One of the conclusions is that there are currently less than 200 acres of available vacant land in Albemarle zoned for “light industrial” uses such as research and development, printing, and light manufacturing.  

20100117-map1 Stimart's report includes maps showing where vacant industrial land remains in Albemarle County
However, the report also indicates the true figure is closer to 100 acres because some of the land is in the rural area and because other properties are undergoing environmental remediation. One such location is the former Acme Visible Records complex in Crozet, which sits on 52 acres, but is scheduled for six more years of environmental clean-up.

Another conclusion is that the County’s comprehensive plan has over 900 acres of land designated for “industrial service” but which is currently zoned for other purposes. With the plan and the zoning out of accord, a company looking to locate here or expand would have to would have to go through the county’s rezoning process.

In general, the report recommends the county take several steps to increase the amount of land available for industrial use. Using employment statistics extrapolated from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Stimart estimates the county will need between 184 and 500 additional acres of land zoned for industrial uses by 2018 in order to meet future employment needs.

Recommended steps include bringing zoning into conformance with the comprehensive plan, allowing for more uses (such as storage yards) on land zoned for light-industrial, and using the upcoming master planning process for the county’s southern development area to designate new areas for industrial use.

Mike Harvey, the executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development, said whether the County has enough land or not, the issue is whether individual parcels are large enough to attract industrial development. He said many companies evaluate localities first through Internet-based research.

20100117-map2 The report shows that the majority of vacant land designated in the comprehensive plan for industrial service tends to be in the Places29 area
“Sometimes you don’t make the cut because you don’t have the basic property,” Harvey said. One Albemarle landowner has offered to increase the county’s inventory by expanding the designated growth area. Will Yancey has introduced a comprehensive plan amendment that asks for 184 acres of mostly rural land near his family’s Yancey Lumber Company to be moved into the growth area, specifically to create a light industrial business park.

“I think the report clearly states what we’ve known anecdotally for some time,” Yancey said. “There is an inadequate amount of land zoned for industrial uses in the county.” He added that his land is close to I-64, has access to water and sewer, and contains at least 50 acres of developable land.

Jeff Werner with the Piedmont Environmental Council said the county has squandered much of the land that had been zoned light industrial. During the residential and retail boom of the last decade, many properties that had been zoned for light industrial use were rezoned to make way for new developments such as Albemarle Place and Hollymead Town Center.

Werner specifically pointed to the March 2008 rezoning of 88 acres off of Fifth Street Extended to make way for a new shopping center.

“I don’t recall anyone from the development community raising any concerns about that,” Werner said

“Given that the county has been willing to rezone light industrial lands for retail, I see no need to expand the growth area.”

Harvey said that, in Albemarle, the problem is often companies that grow here but can’t expand because land is either too expensive or unavailable. For his part, Watkins said he wanted to make sure he could stay in Albemarle because most of his clients are located here.

The Albemarle County Planning Commission will receive and discuss the report at their meeting Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM at the County Office Building.