From the Editor: Back to the Barricades

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Back to the Barricades

The prospect of industrial zoning at the rural Interstate interchanges, most notably at the Crozet/Yancey Mills exit, has raised its snake-like head again as the County undertakes its usual processes for accomplishing purposes the public has already rejected. This idea and its implications were openly examined in public forums during the revision of the Crozet Master Plan in 2009 and 2010. Crozet citizens, by overwhelming majorities, want the status quo: rural zoning.

Introduction of industrial uses, even though the County assures us they will be “low impact,” will open a Pandora’s box and likely release pressures to expand to more intense uses, and likely commercial ones, once the public is resigned to its defeat. If the track record of county zoning decisions is any predictor, it will take only a feeler from some typical Interstate chain businesses, and the lure of tax revenue from them, to take us in the direction of what has happened in Waynesboro at the Ladd interchange or at Zion’s Crossroads.

The effort to bust open new uses for Yancey Mills is an end run on the master planning process by some anonymous forces that did not get what they wanted out of the public process. If it is accomplished, it will be a flat-out sabotage of the Crozet Master Plan and a defacto enlargement of the growth area into unprotected watershed for the Charlottesville water supply. That will make a cynical mockery of the whole concept of growth areas. It will be only a matter of time before we are told that we need to extend public water and sewer outside the growth area, and once the zoning is changed, the logic for that will seem inexorable.

Further, for Crozet it will mean that the plan’s design of directing new investment into downtown will be a complete economic loser. Money will head out to the highway. The whole concept of the plan is to maintain the best forms of traditional town life, walkable neighborhoods radiating from a cultural and commercial center, while anticipating the future, which the plan does by emphasizing Crozet’s historical legacy as a railroad town and its continuing rail asset, level access to tracks. We have seen the results of sprawl-style development based on cars. The Crozet Master Plan tries to get past those. The Interstate development concept is reversion to what we don’t want.

Crozet citizens who believe in the plan we made should get ready to express themselves in January when the industrial use push will go to public hearing. There are four interchanges in designated growth areas on the south side of Charlottesville where such uses are plausible. But otherwise, rural should continue to mean rural.

Our Shoddy Mail Service

The Gazette has heard many many times in the last several months from mail subscribers, mostly Crozet folks who now live far from their old homes, who complain that they are seeing their papers arrive three weeks after they are postmarked. The Gazette is mailed first-class and is supposed to arrive in three days.

Thanks to The Daily Progress’s report on a internal audit by the U.S. Postal Service, we now know that the Richmond sorting center has the worst record of delayed mail of any of the 43 sorting facilities in the country. Lack of effective management seems to be the cause. The U.S.P.S. should be ashamed and it should allow more local sorting. It’s just ridiculous that mail going from Charlottesville to White Hall has to get there via Richmond. Local post offices should be able to sort directly to neighboring P.O.s.

For this service, we are expected to pay ever higher stamp costs? No wonder folks ask if UPS or FedEx could take over the mail.

[For those interested, many Crozet neighborhoods are served by Gazette delivery route carriers. Delivery subscribers receive their Gazettes the weekend the issue comes out, hand-delivered by a boy or girl from the neighborhood. Call 434-466-8939 for details.]

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