Frank Stoner, representing the owners of the 20-acre former Barnes Lumberyard property in downtown Crozet, revealed the latest stage of plans to the Crozet Community Advisory Committee October 21, focusing on what he called Phase 1, a new block of commercial buildings next to The Square.
“This is where the planning process is migrating toward,” Stoner said. Meanwhile, a “prerequisite for success” is that Crozet needs “a clear brand,” he told the committee.
Stoner referred to the “Nelson Byrd Plan” that the CCAC reviewed in August as one “people responded favorably to” and his drawing labeled Block Plan D obviously drew on the Nelson/Byrd layout of the project’s road plan, but it shifted the town square area west into the proposed block, moving it from a location on the east side of High Street and apparently reducing its size. This location is the highest ground in downtown. Byrd said his plan placed the town square on the east side of the street in order to create a same-size companion commercial block to The Square.
Stoner said that the Virginia Department of Transportation insists on a “continuous road” through the parcel and that “a block system is not considered continuous.” This rather flabbergasted CCAC members who brought up examples of existing roads in Crozet that make 90-degree turns, such as nearby Park Road and Hilltop Street.
VDOT will require a traffic study for the development and is currently establishing the technical requirements for the study to answer.
Stoner also raised parking as a long-term issue that needs a plan, but said that surface lots could accommodate parking needs for Phase 1.
The new block, which he called the “digestible portion” of the property, would have 78,000 square feet of building space on 4.5 acres. He said his plan now is to go to the county next year for approval for that phase and have it rezoned and added to the Downtown Crozet District.
“I like that you develop the commercial end first,” said CCAC member Phil Best. “I celebrate that.”
Phase 2 would build a road from the new block east to connect with Hilltop Street and Phase 3 would later add a parallel road that extends Library Avenue to also connect to Hilltop Street.
The Downtown Crozet Initiative, a planning group formed by Stoner, has created a website where the public can follow planning for the project and review earlier versions of development proposals. Visit it at www. downtowncrozetinitiative.com.
CCAC chair Jennie More reported to the group that after his presentation to the CCAC in September, Piedmont Place developer Drew Holzwarth revisited his plan and found a way to add four parking spaces to the project, bringing its total to 32.