The first Crozet Master Plan Update workshop event was held on September 9 at Western Albemarle High School, and over 120 community members attended. Staff from the county’s planning department, led by Neighborhood Planner Andrew Knuppel, coordinated discussions centered on “Growth Management” in Crozet. This was the first in a series of workshops to be held over the next six months which will gauge the citizenry’s priorities for an updated Master Plan to guide future County decisions and policies for Crozet.
The current Master Plan’s growth management policy emphasizes protecting rural elements such as agricultural and forestry resources, land and water conservation, and scenic and cultural resource preservation. The policy also promotes a variety of land uses, facilities, and services in the Development Area, and stresses density and high quality design in new development.
The September 9 event focused on the Why Crozet? question, asking attendees to break into groups to define why people choose to call Crozet home, and to identify their biggest hopes and concerns for Crozet’s future. Top themes in attendees’ answers were that they value Crozet’s sense of community, natural and scenic beauty, parks and outdoor recreational activities, and its small town feel.
Those themes were echoed in residents’ hopes for the future, which included preserving that small town feel, connecting the community via roads and trails, and building a vibrant Downtown that supported local jobs and businesses. Their chief concerns about the future centered on providing infrastructure concurrent with growth—especially for schools and transportation—and providing a mix of housing types and affordability in Crozet.
When asked what is the one thing that attendees would change today about Crozet, top responses included easing traffic congestion near Old Trail and Brownsville/Henley/Western Albemarle schools (and a related call to construct connectivity improvements such as the planned Eastern Avenue connector), and resolving current and imminent school capacity issues related to recent and future growth.
The second Master Plan Update workshop was held on October 1 and covered “Defining a Small Town.” Knuppel gave an overview of how Crozetians might define a small town feel—is it imbued in the area’s architectural heritage, its mix of industry, and/or its citizens’ can-do attitude? Four small group stations focused on the concept’s main components, such as identifying “centers” in and around town by placing pins in a large map of Crozet to denote where people go every day to shop, work, and recreate, as well as how they get there.
Another station asked attendees to select which of several images of “rural edges,” “commercial centers,” and “recreation spaces” gave them that small town feel above others. A third station had residents place stickers on images of the types of housing they’d most like to see developed in Crozet, and a fourth station focused on the types of jobs and businesses they’d encourage to locate here.
The next workshop is scheduled for Thursday, November 7, from 6:30 to 8pm at the Field School. The topic will be “Guiding Principles.”