Developer Frank Stoner’s application to rezone the Barnes Lumber property in downtown Crozet to include it in the Downtown Crozet District, a special commercial zoning area, was granted an “indefinite deferral” by the Albemarle County Planning Commission at its August 5 meeting.
When Stoner appeared before the Commission on June 19 seeking approval for a plan that showed only general forms of development for the 20-acre parcel, he had accepted a deferral to August 5 in the face of what appeared to be a likely rejection. Stoner cited contractual deadlines in his agreement to buy the property as pressuring him to make expeditious progress in the county’s approval process.
By mid-July he had informed county officials he was seeking an indefinite postponement of a vote on the plan.
The decision to defer was largely pro forma, but commission vice chair Mac Lafferty asked county staffers why the Commission should not simply vote to deny instead.
County Planning director Wayne Cilimberg said he understood that Stoner was working out a contract extension with the bank that foreclosed on the property, Union First Market, and that the county planning department has not received any new material on the project meanwhile.
Commissioner Bruce Dotson asked if a deferral would either privilege or prejudice the plan, to which Cilimberg responded that a deferral would mean the plan would have to be re-advertised to the public and that if any substantial changes were made to what had been previously submitted it would likely mean that a new application for the project would be required.
Lafferty asked what deferral would mean if a new developer of the property came forward. Cilimberg said that if the bank became interested in a new buyer, the new buyer would have to submit a new application.
Stoner’s firm, Milestone Partners, offers real estate development services for investors. The prospective owners of the property are identified on the project’s application documents as “Transatlantic Partners.” Stoner said previously that the contract to buy the property was contingent on its being rezoned into the commercial district. The parcels are now zoned heavy industrial and conditions on its zoning effectively limit it to being used as a lumber yard.
The commission voted 5-0 to grant the postponement.