“We’re trying to build a town center that’s relevant in the 21st century,” Frank Stoner, of Milestone Partners, who is working to redevelop about 20.5 acres in the heart of Crozet, said at a CCAC meeting earlier this week.
The property was formerly home to the Barnes Lumber Company and is next to the existing Crozet Square.
Stoner’s proposal is to redevelop the property in two phases, with the first phase being a rezoning of 6.24 acres from heavy industrial and commercial zoning to Downtown Crozet District zoning.
Phase I mostly would focus on creating commercial and retail space and building a public plaza, with construction of residential units coming in the second phase.
The developer is proffering at least 28,000 square feet of public space, with a public plaza that will be at least 12,000 square feet.
“I’m not clear where the plaza [would be located],” said Mike Marshall, Crozet Board of Trade president and former CCAC chairman.
Stoner said it would be within the Phase I area, although the exact location would be determined during the design process and through community feedback.
“What we didn’t want to do was proffer a specific location to the county and then find that the designers get through their process and we need to move it,” Stoner said.
The Downtown Crozet Initiative — a committee of the Crozet Community Association that is working with Stoner on the plaza space — selected Mahan Rykiel Associates as the landscape architecture firm for the plaza.
DCI also is working to raise funds for the plaza space.
Albemarle Planning Commissioner Jennie More asked Stoner to talk about the feedback he has received from the county regarding the plaza location.
Stoner stressed the need for flexibility in the design process but acknowledged that the county prefers specificity, a point emphasized in an email from county staff to the committee.
“Right now, the applicant has said he will consult the CCAC or other community organizations, but, ultimately, he will make the decision on where and what the civic space will be,” principal planner Elaine Echols wrote in an Aug. 17 email to CCAC chairman Dave Stoner (no relation) and other officials. “Staff thinks that tighter parameters are needed around the civic space to ensure that it meets community and [Crozet] Master Plan expectations.”
Who's Who in Crozet?
» Crozet Board of Trade (2003*-present): Nonprofit civic organization of Crozet business leaders that fundraises for the Crozet Fourth of July fireworks and worked to create the Downtown Crozet Zoning District. Formerly known as the Downtown Crozet Association.
* Its history dates back to the 1890s to 1930s
» Crozet Community Advisory Committee (2006-present): 15-member group appointed by the Board of Supervisors to advise the county on the implementation of Crozet’s Master Plan.
» Crozet Community Association (1985 – present): Volunteer organization that serves as a forum for Crozet residents and works to address quality of life issues in the Crozet community.
» Downtown Crozet Initiative (2015-present) – A subcommittee of the CCA that provides input and guidance for the community engagement process regarding the development of Downtown Crozet and the property formerly home to the J. Bruce Barnes Lumber Company.
The committee also talked about future traffic and road patterns associated with the Barnes Lumber site and the downtown area.
The developer is proffering an extension of Library Avenue to High Street and an extension of High Street to what plans refer to as Primary Street.
Primary Street eventually would connect to Hill Top Street in Parkside Village and be incorporated into a grid system, although those details would be worked out in Phase II.
Stoner has proposed a second connection to Hill Top Street, though the county has not yet agreed to this.
Other intersection improvements also were discussed.
“We’ve proffered $75,000 for the intersection improvements at Library Avenue and the Square,” Stoner said. “Those intersections have problems today, and those problems are going to get worse.”
Potential solutions that have been identified include removing the traffic signal at the entrance to the Square from Crozet Avenue, adding a signal to the intersection of Crozet Avenue and Library Avenue and changing the entrance to the Square to right-in and right-out only.
County staff, however, disagrees with the developer about how much should be contributed toward the improvements.
“County staff believes that the applicant should pay for half of the cost of those improvements; the applicant only wishes to pay 15 [percent],” Echols said in the Aug. 17 email. “Ultimately, that will be a Board of Supervisors decision.”
The rezoning is set to go before the Planning Commission on Sept. 27.
In other news, Stoner told the committee that a bike shop will be moving into an existing structure on the Barnes Lumber property and hopes to open by Oct. 1.
Capt. Greg Jenkins, with the Albemarle County Police Department, also updated the committee on plans for a new police substation in Old Trail Village.
The space is being offered to the department rent-free by March Mountain Properties and would be used for officers to write reports, make phone calls, conduct follow-up investigations and meet with residents.
“It’s an effort of the police department to bring more police services into the community,” Jenkins said. “Instead of a citizen from the Crozet area having to come to Charlottesville to meet with a police officer, they could meet with the district officer right there in the satellite office.”
The substation plans are yet to go before the Planning Commission.
Phase I is located adjacent to the existing Square. Stoner said residential uses will be considered in Phase II. (Click here for a full sized image.)