The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors heard a description of the revised Crozet Master Plan in a workshop session Sept. 1 and pronounced it better than the original document. But in the face of the plan’s rejection of a rezoning for a Yancey Mills light industrial park, supervisors declared that the Yancey project was outside the boundaries of the Crozet Growth Area and therefore should get separate consideration.
The industrial park plan, which seeks permission for building space three times the size of Fashion Square Mall on 184 acres, was rejected by the Planning Commission in November 2008 on its first attempt. It was formally rejected for a second time by the planning commission in July. After its initial denial, Supervisor Ken Boyd attempted to resuscitate the proposal by attaching it to the master plan revision process. At the workshop, he was the first to advocate that has no relation to the Crozet plan.
The question came to a head when planning staffers asked if the advertisement of the public hearing on the plan, set for October 13, should include the possibility of a growth area boundary adjustment. Only advertised topics can be acted on. No, supervisors agreed, no boundary changes would be considered. “I have no desire to make Yancey Mills part of the Crozet Master Plan process,” said Boyd, meaning to clear the way for another separate action on Yancey.
In her review of the revised plan, planning staffer Elaine Echols pointed out to supervisors that downtown Crozet is now designated as “a priority development area” and called their attention to a concept for redeveloping the J. Bruce Barnes Lumber Co. property “as small-scale downtown mall.”
“Are any landowners saying that they are willing to invest in any of these things?” asked Boyd.
Echols cited the Barnes lumber example.
Supervisor Dennis Rooker noted, “[The owner]’s got an excellent plan. We have zoned property all over the county that hasn’t been built on. But the first thing is to have property go into the plan. . . . What you do in a master plan is create possibilities.”
“I’m looking for someone to step up with LI and do something with it,” answered Boyd.
“There’s been lots of new building in Crozet—Old Trail,” Rooker said.
“Yancey is willing to step up and invest,” Boyd contended.
“Invest how?” asked Rooker. “Are they going to put up buildings? What you’re looking at is someone who wants to change the color of his property on the map. He’s not investing in anything. [Barnes] lumber yard is inside the growth area.”
“So we as government are picking winners and losers,” said Boyd.
“The current land use [for the Yancey parcels] is Rural Area land use. It has never been designated a place for growth for those reasons. The Crozet meetings have all registered their opinions. I don’t think it’s reasonable to say that no one has looked at it. They have. They don’t want it in the growth area.”
When the public was invited to address the board about the plan, Will Yancey inserted a flash drive in the board room computer and ran through his slide presentation again, emphasizing the difficulty of getting tractor trailers to the MusicToday complex compared to his location at the Interstate 64/Rt. 250 interchange. He repeated his offer to donate land to Western Albemarle High School for athletic fields.
CCAC member Bill Schrader took up the comment on winners and losers. “If we call the Yancey plan the winner, then the losers are the Crozet Master Plan, the entrance corridor, the citizens of Crozet who have worked on and agree on this proposal. Please keep the citizens of Crozet in mind when you consider winners and losers. It seems like we only focus on one quadrant of one exit on I-64. You have 7 exits from I-64 [in Albemarle] and other quadrants where business parks can be located.”
CCAC member Tim Tolson said the key to invigorating downtown Crozet was to build the new Crozet Library. “[The City of] Chesapeake built a library in the middle of a field and within four years has had 10 acres developed around it.”
Supervisors raised no objections to any features of the revised plan.
“I think the Crozet Master Plan is so much better,” said Supervisor Rodney Thomas, who was on the Planning Commission when the plan was first drafted. “It is much more understandable now. It’s really a good job.”
“This is a great plan,” agreed Boyd. “But I see Yancey as a countywide issue, not a Crozet issue.”
“They can be dealt with separately,” said Supervisor Ann Mallek.
“The supervisors should not pick winners and losers,” said Boyd. “The market should do that.”
“Citizens have a stake, too” countered Mallek.
“It’s clearly the will of the people that the use of the Yancey property not change,” observed Rooker.
“I fully support the plan,” said Supervisor Duane Snow.”
“I support the plan,” agreed Supervisor Lindsey Dorrier. “And I agree with the gentleman who said get a library out there. I think the library would be the focal point.”
“Let’s build that library!” agreed Mallek.