Master Plan Revision Forum Tackles Roads, Trails

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Jarmans Gap Road Project Not Dead After All

The Crozet Master Plan’s recommendations for roads and trails were reviewed at the third of five planned forums hosted by the Crozet Community Advisory Council and Albemarle County planning staff on updating the plan held at the Field School Dec. 17. About 40 people attended.

County senior planner Elaine Echols reported that VDOT says funding for the improvements to Jarmans Gap Road, set to be widened with a sidewalk alongside from Crozet Avenue west to the entrance to Grayrock subdivision, is short of complete funding by $900,000. County leaders are looking for ways to make up the shortfall, she said. CCAC chair Michael Marshall suggested that if the money couldn’t be found, the project should still proceed but stop instead at Waylands Grant subdivision or Old Trail Drive. The project, once expected to be complete in 1998, is now slated, pending funding, to go to bid in 2011 and for construction to start in 2012.

Echols raised the question of whether a frontage road shown in the Master Plan as separating Henley Middle School and Brownsville Elementary schools from Rt. 250 and connecting to Crozet Ave and Old Trail Drive remains desirable. There is no foreseeable possibility of its being funded. Nearby residents opposed its connecting to Crozet Avenue and some wondered if the expense was worth the benefits in reducing volume on Rt. 250. In the end a possible connection from the schools to Old Trail Drive was considered worthy of retaining because it might ease school drop-offs and pick-ups.

Crozetians who noted that Old Trail Drive was not developed in accordance with the expectations of the plan called for more explicit descriptions of how ‘eastern avenue,” a road proposed to connect Cory Farm on Rt. 250 to the MusicToday complex on Rt. 240, should be built. Some residents worried over the possibility of large truck traffic on the road, and planning staff said the design requirements could mitigate that problem.

The crowd agreed with a staff recommendation that the plan add a requirement for a sidewalk along one side of Crozet Avenue from Rt. 250 into downtown.

In the trails discussion, a pathway connecting Western Ridge and other eastern Crozet neighborhoods with Claudius Crozet park and downtown was considered a high priority, and county officials were urged to work on acquiring necessary easements. Marshall called for a clear pedestrian route to be established between downtown Crozet and Old Trail Village. The section along Jarmans Gap Road—whose whole length is hazardous to pedestrians—from Carter Street to Haden Lane presents the greatest risks to walkers. A route from the south end of Haden Lane across the undeveloped western park in Old Trail to the new stores in the Village is also necessary.

The fourth forum, set for Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Field School, will be dedicated to light industrial zoning in the Crozet Growth Area and nearby areas and to issues bearing on the development of the MusicToday/Acme complex, such as encouraging employment centers. County planners will report to the Planning Commission on the availability of land countywide currently zoned for light industry on Jan. 19. The Board of Supervisors will hear the report Feb. 3. The CCAC has scheduled a special meeting for Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Old Trail Golf Clubhouse to prepare a formal position on the report’s analysis and implications.