By Sean Tubbs
Thursday, April 8, 2010
As Albemarle County looks for ways to increase its industrial land, some Crozet residents are concerned their community has paid a high price for development in the past several years.
“There are many many people in Crozet who are suffering because of the changes that have come,” said Crozet resident Mary Gallo.
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Crozet Master Plan
was originally adopted in 2004, and must be reviewed every five years. For the past few months, planners have been working with the Crozet Community Advisory Council (CCAC) to adjust the plan.
“When we asked the community about the update and what the focus areas should be, the guiding principle [was] that Crozet should remain Crozet,” said County Planner Rebecca Ragsdale during a work session held Tuesday by the Albemarle County Planning Commission.
Many Crozet residents were concerned that maps included with the plan showed a total potential population build-out of 24,760, even though the text of the plan capped that figure at 12,000.
The revision involves changes to the map and lowering densities in some areas to bring that number between 15,000 and 17,300.
said he was glad for the lower population numbers, but pointed out they were still higher than the community expected.
“We’re 30% above what [was] originally recommended by the consultants,” Loach said.
The review of the plan also included consideration of two separate requests to change the land use in and around the boundaries of the Crozet plan, but neither request was endorsed by the CCAC or staff.
Celeste Ploumis is seeking an up-zoning of her land at the corner of U.S 250 and Route 240 to create a garden center. She said she’s lived on the property for twenty years, but growth has made her land unsuitable for residential use.
“Planned growth has brought four traffic lights within a mile or so of my home, along with countless subdivisions, shopping centers, and a great increase in population,” Ploumis said.
However, neighbor Lucy Goeke told the Commission she felt granting the request would cause more congestion on Route 250.
“If one more piece of property goes [commercial]… we’ll all be forced to switch,” Goeke said.
The review of the plan also includes consideration of a request from the Yancey family, owners of the R.A. Yancey Lumber Yard, to add 184 acres to the county’s growth area to create a light industrial business park.
However, neither staff nor the CCAC support the idea.
“The recommendation from the community was that if there is a need for more light industrial [land], that it be located in the Crozet development area, and that [Route] 250 continue to be protected from commercial development,” Ragsdale said.
The plan suggests that additional land be designated for industrial uses along Route 240.
“There seems to be two competing visions for where to put an employment center in and around Crozet,” said Will Yancey, representing his family.
During his presentation, Yancey said he felt his land was a more appropriate location for industrial use, claiming trucks could easily access the park via I-64 and a four-lane section of Route 250. He said trucks trying to get to the suggested industrial center on Route 240 would need to travel further and past many residential neighborhoods.
Mary Rice, a member of the CCAC, said she thought the review process had been positive for the community.
“I think Crozet citizens have regained a lot of faith in the county,” Rice said. “I’d encourage you to keep that faith… and deny any industrial park.”
Crozet resident Mary Gallo said she hoped the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors would reject the Yancey proposal, citing the Board’s 2007 decision not to allow the Soccer-Organization of Charlottesville-Albemarle to build an indoor training facility off of Polo Grounds Road because it is not in the growth area.
“That was denied strictly because it was in the rural area,” Gallo said.
Chairman Loach pointed out that the Planning Commission has already dismissed the Yancey proposal once, and is only considering it again at the direction of the Board of Supervisors. He also said Yancey did not mention during his presentation that portions of the property are in the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir’s watershed.
“It has been consistently been the policy of the county not to build in a watershed,” Loach said.
said he had not made up his mind on the Yancey proposal, but wanted more information the CCAC’s opposition given the Board of Supervisors’ desire to increase the amount of land zoned for light industrial use.
“If the county decided that it made more sense to put [light industrial zoning on the Yancey property] and not to put it downtown because of some of the access points, what would make that bearable?”, Franco asked.
, who has only been on the body since January, said he can remember when Crozet was a very small place.
“A lot of people have moved in since then and everyone has their own opinion,” Smith said. “I haven’t made up my mind, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to take a vote on this.”
County planning staff will now begin the process of writing up new text to go along with the revised maps. Both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors are expected to hold a public hearing this summer.
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