From the Editor: Easement Solidarity

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About 15 downtown property owners who must sign over easements to allow the improvements to Crozet Avenue to proceed met at Crozet United Methodist Church Sept. 16. First they heard a status update from county officials and discussed construction management and scheduling in detail with the engineer who is designing the project. Then, with the County officials gone, for two hours they talked out their situations with each other like good neighbors.

It can be amazing to see the town spirit of Crozet in action in circumstances like the easements struggle. What immediately emerged was solidarity. Folks understood already the need to invest in downtown’s future, they saw how they fit in, and they supported those owners who are looking at unworkable outcomes from the design, such as the turn into the Post Office parking lot and the problem of access to the dry cleaners.

They backed a proposal to open an unused right-of-way, shown on old maps as “Oak Street,” that runs along the front of the lumberyard between The Square and new Main Street. They suggested that the parallel alley, now planned to be two-way, be made one-way with parking allowed. The result would be the creation of a traditional block in downtown that holds the promise of moving traffic more easily and stimulating new business investment.

The property owners want to sign their easements. They want the heart of town to prosper. Whatever happens next, they are ready to contribute their part. This is not a matter of people resisting change; they are trying to get a plan that is sound for all their neighbors.

Rubber Meets Road This Month

The first forum of the Crozet Master Plan revision, hosted by the Crozet Community Advisory Council and Albemarle County, will be held Thursday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Field School (Old Crozet Elementary School). The topic is land use in the Growth Area as currently described in the text and maps of the plan. In other words, the town’s ultimate build-out population is the first issue. Responses to the questionnaire on this point were adamant: the original goal of 12,500 eventual residents should be honored and expressly codified. The public is encourage to attend to make sure that that is what actually happens.

Hooray for Community Schools

The Gazette applauds the recommendation of schools superintendent Pam Moran to improve three community elementary schools in southern Albemarle rather than abandon them for the sake of a new consolidated school. That proposal never had merit and too much effort was wasted on it. But, finally, good sense seems on the verge of prevailing.