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As several developments near Crozet make their way through Albemarle’s review process, a group that advises the Board of Supervisors wants county planning staff to know its concerns about having too many new homes approved.
Because some developers have chosen to build without seeking rezoning, county planners have suggested new neighborhoods could be approved at higher densities in order to absorb demand for new housing.
The Crozet Community Advisory Committee disagrees.
“The CCAC does not believe that density should be ‘transferable’ in a manner inconsistent with the Crozet Master Plan and that by-right development in one area … should not serve as a justification for more dense development in other areas,” reads a resolution passed by the group at its meeting last week.
Since 1980, the Comprehensive Plan has set aside 5 percent of the county’s 726 square miles for urban development, and Crozet is one of the designated areas.
In 2004 the county adopted a master plan to guide Crozet’s development, and the plan was updated in 2010. The projected maximum population for Crozet in 2030 is 12,000 people.
Resolutions by advisory committees are not binding, though members are appointed by supervisors. A second resolution asked for an updated analysis of Crozet’s population growth.
Materials prepared by county staff in February estimate that Crozet currently has 6,854 residents and could have 7,786 by 2020 if current building trends hold.
“I’ve been watching these plans come in for about 25 years now,” said Mike Marshall, a former member of the CCAC.
“There’s really only so much density that maintains the culture that we have,” he said. “Once you get above that density, you can’t have that culture anymore.”
The resolutions were passed after the advisory committee heard about two development projects.
Southern Development gave an update on a project to build about 80 units on land zoned for six units per acre. Supervisors would need to grant their approval to fill in the flood plain to make a necessary road connection.
Representatives of Riverbend Development answered questions on a rezoning for an additional phase of Foothills Crossing that could see as many as 200 units.
While the Crozet Master Plan calls for these properties to be developed at a range of between three to six units per acre, the land is currently zoned for only one unit per acre.
Some phases of Foothills Crossing already have been built without a rezoning.
“Instead of it being a continuation of the by-right development of Foothills Crossing, we’re proposing to rezone a portion of the land … to make it compatible with the Comprehensive Plan and help connect the road network through that area,’ said Valerie Long, an attorney with Williams Mullen.
The master plan calls for construction of an Eastern Avenue to connect U.S. 250 with Route 240. The county has anticipated proffers made during a rezoning would help get the road constructed.
Marshall said the county doesn’t have to take that offer.
“When the plan says [six units per acre], it says that’s the maximum that should be allowed here,” he said. “If it were to be less than that, as it is to the west, the plan would be happy with that.”
Elsewhere in Crozet, developer Kyle Redinger has changed his proposal for Adelaide following consideration by the CCAC, as well as the Planning Commission.
“We’ve made strong efforts to listen to all stakeholders and the community when it comes to the design of our community,” Redinger said.
The new plan calls for 80 units, down from 93. Half of those units would be single-family detached homes, whereas the previous plan showed only attached homes.
While staff has not produced a new report on the proposal, Planning Commission member Jennie More said it is inappropriate for staff to recommend high density.
“The implication is that we are to disregard the guiding principle of our master plan, which is to keep development off of U.S. 250,” More said.
However, one county planner said the department’s job is simply to provide information.
“Staff provides information to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, who decide on whether something is consistent with the master plan,” said Elaine Echols.