That’s the Way to Stand Up, Folks

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Crozet citizens and their neighbors in western Albemarle, who appreciate what growth outcomes in Crozet could mean for the whole area, proved emphatically that they care about the future of the town when they answered the Crozet Community Advisory Council’s questionnaire on Master Planning and growth issues.

It’s clear we know we have a good thing here and we know we could lose it if we don’t pay attention to the choices we make.

Questionnaire respondents offered a heavy number of comments on issues, more than 1,700. Their remarks in the catch–all comment box are reported in this issue. What’s especially impressive about reading them is their essential decency and sincerity. Another thing that comes through is that for all their apparent apathy about county meetings, Crozet people are smart, insightful about what’s been happening and not easy to fool. Most agree that the policy that needs adjusting to preserve the small town virtues of Crozet—and they know what those are, too—is the residential zoning densities that will be allowed. In the review of the Master Plan that is about to get serious, that will mean reducing the densities the plan allows in certain locations around the growth area. With its New Urbanist mindset, the plan envisioned pockets of residential and commercial density in some corners of the growth area that market forces, in the five years since the plan was adopted, have proven are not valid or necessary. We should simply scrap them for lower, palatable densities. In other areas, the plan conjectures that higher densities are plausible, if asked for, and those should likewise be explicitly restrained so that they don’t offer cover to Supervisors tempted to more mega-rezonings like Old Trail or Biscuit Run. When Crozet was comprehensively rezoned in 1980, when it was designated as a growth area, densities that then seemed fantastic were enacted. Nearly 30 years later, it turns out that those existing zoning allowances are still plenty high enough in most residents’ view.

Crozetians did themselves a favor in demonstrating in their impressive response that they understand the issues and they know what they want to happen. Now we’ll see if their agenda gets the respect of their elected leaders. The questionnaire functioned as a mass meeting in which 700 people took their turn at the microphone and declared themselves.