God smiles often on Crozet. Not many towns our size can summon the technical expertise and the volunteer spirit needed to pull off a community survey that has genuine scientific sampling and unbiased rigor. Our congratulations go to the committee that pulled it off and our thanks to the nearly 1,300 citizens who participated in it and set out their aspirations for Crozet’s future.
The community’s answers are decisively clear on key growth issues and we can confidently draw certain conclusions from them. First, we want the Growth Area boundary kept as it is.
Second, we want downtown to get top priority as the town’s commercial and cultural center. Third, we don’t want commercial development on Rt. 250. Fourth, we want restraint on new residential growth. Lastly, we want our wishes respected and the terms of the Crozet Master Plan honored when economic development opportunities are proposed.
The Master Plan was due for an update in 2015, but county planners are occupied in other sections of Albemarle and, apart from our experience in which the language of the plan and the details of its maps are sometimes used cynically to produce disagreements with each other, the plan remains fundamentally sound.
One stopgap while we wait for a formal revision process would be to state the survey results as growth regulation principles. The Crozet Community Advisory Committee should take up this task and prepare a document that could be amended, perhaps as a preface, to the current plan, adopted in 2010. A formal resolution from the CCAC could be presented to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors and Crozetians could have confidence that our views on prospective growth challenges would bear on the County’s zoning and infrastructure decisions.
Another take-away from the survey comes from its open-ended question in which respondents were invited to share ideas about Crozet’s growth. A consistent theme in these was our desire to retain Crozet’s “small town feel.” Thoughtful planning is part of that, but the main ingredient is a culture of friendliness, hospitality and courtesy. It comes down to how we choose to act toward one another, whatever the pace of growth and whatever kinks—like traffic—are present in town life. When we look around and notice all the new faces, we must remember The Golden Rule. Love your neighbor as best you can—and get involved in civic life. You can make Crozet your ideal hometown.