Crozet prepares for tough redevelopment discussions

Crozet prepares for tough redevelopment discussions

There are plenty of contentious issues at stake, but it was nonetheless a calm affair when dozens of Crozet residents turned out to Western Albemarle High School on September 30 to be briefed by Albemarle County staff on the mandatory five-year update to the Crozet Master Plan, adopted in 2004. Folks listened politely as staff described progress on a major downtown streetscape project, the new library and a 28-unit affordable-housing project for seniors called Crozet Meadows. 

Mike Marshall, chair of the Crozet Community Advisory Council and publisher and editor of the Crozet Gazzette, says that the Crozet Master plan’s population estimates (up to 12,000) needs to be "tightened down." According to land use designations,however, population estimates go as high as 24,760.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Crozet,” said Bill Letteri, the county’s director of facilities development, who discussed the relocation of overhead utilities, the extensions of Crozet Avenue and Main Street, and improvements to Jarmans Gap Road. Jack Kelsey, transportation engineer, reported that streetscape plans are “98 percent complete,” and project manager Trevor Henry said that the design for the LEED-certified library should be finished by spring. “I look forward to a time when I can wrap up church, get a cup of coffee, and maybe hit the library all in one walk with my family,” said Henry, also a Crozet resident.

A notable burst of applause came after Laura Purvis introduced herself to the crowd. A 2004 Western Albemarle grad with a newly minted master’s in architectural history, she is working as a volunteer to help Crozet establish a downtown Historic District with the National Register of Historic Places. Several locals approached her after the presentations to express their gratitude. “It seems like people are very excited for it,” Purvis said. She’s been working to finalize the application to the state Department of Historic Resources, and to explain to residents that a Historic District would not make painting one’s house verboten.

Many Crozetians are much less jazzed about the county’s estimates of future population—up to 12,000 according to the Master Plan text, but as many as 24,760 according to land use designations on the plan map. Mike Marshall, chair of the Crozet Community Advisory Council and publisher and editor of the Crozet Gazette, says that the plan needs to be “tightened down” to prevent growth quite that vigorous.

Marshall also identifies the Yancey Mills Business Park project, proposed for a 148-acre parcel near the interchange of I-64 and Route 250W, as a sore point for residents, saying community feeling about the proposal largely ranges “from turned off to spittin’ mad.”

The rezoning that would be necessary for Yancey Mills to move forward is one of the focus areas planners have identified for the update process, so residents will have a chance to express their views during a series of upcoming forums, the first being October 15. County staff hope to complete the update process by July 2010.

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