Supervisors Approve Revised Crozet Master Plan

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Katurah Roell, who is heading efforts to redevelop the Barnes Lumber Company property.
Katurah Roell, who is heading efforts to redevelop the Barnes Lumber Company property.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved the revised Crozet Master Plan Oct. 13, continuing the plan’s emphasis on the development of downtown, rejecting any expansion of the growth area boundary, and reducing potential densities in residential areas.

Rivanna District Supervisor Ken Boyd opposed the plan’s recommendation against the industrial use of interstate highway interchanges. Pointing to a passage on page 33 of the plan, he said, “I’m thinking specifically of pulling out language to discourage rezonings on Rt. 250.”

White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek observed, “We did not decide to expand the growth area.”

“I’ve said a lot that Crozet can’t dictate policy for the entire county. Some members of this board are interested in this project,” answered Boyd, referring to the request to rezone rural land and the Yancey sawmill into a 184-acre Yancey Mills Industrial Park.

During public comment, Crozet Community Advisory Council member Bill Schrader pointed out the original 2004 version of the plan included the same language opposing commercial rezonings along Rt. 250.

Celeste Ploumis, who lives at the intersection of Crozet Avenue and Rt. 250, brought a sound engineer to the meeting to play recordings of trucks passing her house. Their noise blared from a speaker set up at the podium. Ploumis wanted her zoning changed to commercial, but the supervisors did not oblige her.

Tom Oakley and Jenny Martin asked for three parcels north of downtown on Crozet Avenue to be switched to a mixed-use designation. That change was likewise not made. Those lots can be redeveloped as residential units, at up to six per acre, but not for commercial use.

Katurah Roell, who is heading efforts to redevelop the J. Bruce Barnes Lumber Company property, asked the board to accept the idea that zoning conditions in the central part of the property be flexible enough to shift commercial and light industrial uses and road alignments as needed. Supervisors agreed to a hatched map description that confines the placement of light industrial buildings but allows project planners to make final choices about exactly where.

Boyd raised the possibility of granting the Oakley-Martin request.

“I think we should respect the wishes of the neighbors who don’t want commercial development next to them,” answered Mallek.

“The [master] plan does not rezone property,” added Rio District Supervisor Dennis Rooker, but the plan does describe the location as preferably residential. The property owners could present a separate proposal to rezone for a specific plan.

“It’s a matter of timing,” said chief of planning David Benish. It would make sense to consider extending mixed-use north of the rescue squad building if the downtown commercial district were built out, but even then, he noted, discussions had shown that it would be better to extend mixed-use from the firehouse to MusicToday first.

“I think they’ve reached a good compromise about population density,” added Benish. “It pulled back density from the original plan. It’s a good recognition by the Crozet community that Crozet is a growth area. They’ve planned for the different needs: commercial, residential and light industrial.”

“It’s a community-made plan,” agreed Scottsville District Supervisor Lindsey Dorrier. “The people of Crozet deserve a lot of credit.”

Boyd raised again the idea of switching the Oakley and Martin lots.

“You’re all about protecting neighborhoods when they are in your district,” observed Rooker. “I think you should give some deference to the person who has attended all the meetings,” referring to Mallek.

Boyd retreated, and on a motion by Mallek, seconded by Rooker, the revised plan was passed on a 6-0 vote.