To the Editor: No Catholic Church on St. George Ave. 

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I have lived in the historic district on Saint George Avenue for almost 30 years. I write today on behalf of over 200 neighbors and friends concerning the proposal of the Crozet Catholic Mission to purchase properties and vacant lots on St. George and Railroad Avenue, for the construction of a church and parking lot.

During conversations with stakeholders and potentially affected parties, we have found that the sheer scale of this proposal, plus its immediate and future impact on St. George Ave. and Crozet, is largely unknown.

A group of neighbors met in late August with Monsignor Keeney and members of the Crozet Mission to request clarification of their proposal. We also presented our main concerns: increased traffic and noise on a narrow quiet street, potential danger to pedestrians and cyclists/skaters, increased stormwater runoff and flooding of adjacent properties, and further demolition of Crozet’s shrinking reserve of historic homes.
Church representatives confirmed their current proposal of purchasing the Anderson Funeral Home property, and their plan to build a parking lot with 284 spots (Crozet Baptist Church has half that number, all parking lots combined.)
Furthermore, they presented plans to become—over the next 20 years—a 1,000-family parish, with potentially 1,500 congregants attending Mass on any given Sunday; an expansion that would cover up to 10 acres. The Anderson Funeral Home property would not accommodate such a plan. It would require the additional purchase of multiple properties, and the subsequent razing of historic homes. (Crozet Mission representatives have already sent letters to two such property owners.)

With 58 signatures from up and down our street, and 165 signatures online, the community has made it clear that Saint George Avenue is not an appropriate location for such a vast footprint.  (See www.ipetitions.com/petition/preserve-st-george-avenue-and-historic-crozet.)

We sincerely want our Catholic friends and neighbors to find a site to anchor their faith community. But this proposal creates an untenable dynamic—one in which the current success of this church means the destruction of the residential character of one of Crozet’s last historic neighborhoods; and a future plan that pits their hopeful expansion against the demolition of neighbors’ homes.

We will continue to actively and vehemently oppose this. We simply cannot jeopardize the safety and historical nature of our treasured area to help the local Catholic Mission find its new home.

However, if anyone knows of a parcel that would allow this community to flourish, we will pass along this information to the appropriate parties.

The ultimate location of this church will impact Crozet for generations to come. Let’s choose it wisely.

Linda McNeil
Crozet

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