Letters reflect the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of the Crozet Gazette.
I am honored to have served as elected supervisor for the White Hall district for the last two years. Representation of your views is my top priority. Together we will find the most effective and financially feasible solutions to our community challenges. As many of you know, I value discussions with voters by phone, email and in person, at the grocery or at a town hall or neighborhood meeting. Your individual stories provide compelling details to help persuade the Board of Supervisors on votes of concern.
We are faced with financial challenges in 2010 greater than the previous years combined. Staff and expense reductions in the previous two years result in smaller shortfalls in Albemarle than many other communities, but our reductions in state and federal transfers, combined with falling real estate and sales tax revenue, create lower funding levels for agencies and departments. Board members and citizens will study every line of the budget. Program changes will be the likely result.
Two years ago a major concern was rampant growth overtaking the outlines of the Crozet master plan. While many projects were approved in a short period of time, few have found enough customers to be completed. There are millions of square feet of approved commercial space and thousands of approved housing units as yet unbuilt or unoccupied in the County.
Today there is yet another proposed comprehensive plan change to increase the size of the Crozet growth area for a business park. The change would also increase the service area for water and sewer, and it is located in the watershed of the South Fork Reservoir. Is there a true need for this increase? How will it affect the vitality of downtown Crozet? Is there a better way to provide light industrial space for contractors’ yards and homegrown small businesses? Will the project match the Crozet Master Plan 2010 edition? Please attend the January 21 meeting of the Crozet Master Plan to learn about Crozet’s existing light industrial land. The community needs to make its concerns known.
Accomplishments in the last two years were made in partnership with citizens, business owners, farmers, and non profits. Stream buffers in effect in the White Hall district since 1980 now apply in the rest of the County. Revalidation of land use tax participation was begun and will provide greater public confidence in the program. Stormwater regulations were strengthened to prevent damage to neighboring properties and waterways when mass grading of sites occurs. No longer will fields of red mud sit for years waiting for construction. All these issues were important to voters during the 2007 elections.
After citizen input, roundtable discussions have been added to the process when ordinance changes are proposed. Roundtables with rural landowners crafted driveway design changes which met VDOT rules and still protected access to property. A recent roundtable with farmers, retailers, and farmer’s market advocates assisted staff writing ordinance changes to allow off farm sales of locally grown food and products.
The budget meetings this winter are of great importance. Attention must be paid to the Crozet Master Plan update, to make sure the community vision is implemented. The Crozet Streetscape project needs final adjustments to meet the easement needs of landowners, after which the utility phase can begin in thirty days. The Crozet library is postponed, but I am meeting with our federal legislators seeking stimulus funds which could speed its construction. At the very least, a rough parking lot can be created on the lot, which will help downtown businesses and shoppers during the streetscape project. Jarman’s Gap Road is still scheduled for bid in January 2011. Right of way purchases are occurring now, and construction funds are in hand.
To assess our progress and our future needs, please contact me with your concerns and suggestions and plan to attend one of my upcoming town halls in late February/early March.
Thank you in advance for your assistance with County issues. I am at your service. We have work to do.