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Albemarle County planning staffers conducted an overview of the Crozet Master Plan to an audience of about 85 interested citizens May 27 at the Crozet United Methodist Church fellowship hall as the background for discussions on what features of the plan might need alteration.
White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek stopped on her way to a meeting about fire and rescue services to begin the session, telling the crowd, “You have so many things to protect here.”
Planners showed video about the history of the Comprehensive Plan, which dates to 1971, and showed various maps about earlier projections for Crozet’s growth. The Crozet Growth Area contains about 2,900 acres.
Growth areas are not meant to encourage growth, planner Elaine Echols explained, but to keep it out of rural areas. She also covered the principles of the Neighborhood Model, a postmodernist view of what makes an attractive urban environment. Planner Rebecca Ragsdale then covered the terminology and principles of the Crozet Master Plan, adopted in 2004 after a two-year public drafting process.
In a question and answer session that followed, the matter of the town’s projected build-out population was immediately raised as citizens challenged the 24,000 figure that arose in County explanations of rezoning decisions made after the adoption of the plan, which was based on a build-out of 12,500-—the sum of all the existing zoning densities in the growth area. The plan’s aim was to organize that eventual population efficiently with transportation, schools and other necessary services rather than let development occur haphazardly. Echols responded to the point by saying, “We will be addressing it.”
Russell Gough challenged the County representatives over the Crozet Avenue “streetscape” project, which will build sidewalks, turn lanes, an intersection for the new library and include stormwater improvements, all to make private investment in downtown Crozet more attractive.
“The County is not putting a priority on it while development is occurring on Rt. 250,” Gough said. “It was supposed to have been finished by now.”
County spokeswoman Lee Catlin answered, “I want to assure you it is a priority.”
The construction of Old Trail Drive, described in the Master Plan as a boulevard with a median, was criticized as being too narrow by fire department volunteers. Citizens wanted to know if any lessons had been learned for future construction of the road intended to connect Cory Farm on Rt. 250 with Rt. 240 near MusicToday. Questions were also raised about the single access to the Crozet Park neighborhoods through Tabor Street.
Three small group discussions produced unanimity about the foremost concern, population and density, as well as strong feelings about preserving the current character of the Rt. 250/Interstate 64 interchange and the enhancement of downtown and parking there. Other issues raised included the stability of the growth area boundary, road improvements, the impact of downtown development on adjoining neighborhoods, a historic district designation for Crozet, passenger rail service, and school planning and redistricting.
Already on the agenda for consideration is whether a 1.75 acre parcel on the west corner of the Crozet Avenue and Rt. 250 intersection should be rezoned commercial and whether a light industrial park should be allowed at Yancey Mills.
Western Albemarle residents and other concerned citizens are strongly urged to answer a questionnaire on Crozet development issues, sponsored by the Crozet Community Advisory Council, that will be available through June 30 online at www.albemarle.org/crozetquestionnaire, or in hard copy at the Crozet Library. A copy is also printed in this issue of the Gazette. Remove and mail the completed Gazette form to: Crozet Library, P.O. Box 430, Crozet, VA 22932.