Deal On Square Parking Likely

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About 25 parking spaces reappeared on The Square May 21 as business owners there signed a temporary deal with the Buckingham Branch Railroad.
About 25 parking spaces reappeared on The Square May 21 as business owners there signed a temporary deal with the Buckingham Branch Railroad.

CSX railroad has informed Albemarle County that it is willing to surrender its claim on part of The Square, White Hall Supervisor Ann Mallek told the Crozet Community Advisory Council at its June 16 meeting. The concession, a quit claim deed that Mallek had pressed for, signals the first step in a solution to the 14-month-old showdown over who controlled parking in the oldest part of Crozet’s commercial district. The county has argued that CSX cannot establish clear ownership of the property, but CSX’s claim at least had custom on its side and it installed a orange plastic fence, taking out one row of spaces, to assert its possession and control.

CSX has asked the county to draw up a new plat of The Square that reserves the area within 60 feet of the main track (the one closest to Crozet Library) for CSX. The current VDOT easement through The Square, which runs directly in front of the stores there, will be converted to a public street as part of the change and hereafter maintained by the state.

Other county supervisors agree that the opportunity to resolve a problem that has recurred for the last 15 years should not be lost, Mallek said later. But they want to know if CSX could transfer the parking area to an organization of business owners, rather than the county, who would manage and maintain it. If not, she said, the county will accept it and ultimately find an entity to transfer it to. She said that the newly defined parking area might be improved as part of the development of the Crozet Square project on the J.B. Barnes Lumber Company property, since it is a main entry way to the 18 buildings projected to be built there.

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