The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has overturned a decision by the Planning Commission to end consideration of a proposal to create a new industrial park in Crozet on largely rural land just outside the designated growth area. The 184-acre Yancey Mills Business Park will now be considered as part of the mandated review of the Crozet Master Plan scheduled to take place next year.

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On November 11, 2008, the Planning Commission voted 6-1 to stop further review of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment submitted by Will Yancey. The site is north of Interstate 64 and adjacent to Route 250 and Western Albemarle High School. Commissioner Eric Strucko (White Hall) said at the time that there was not a compelling reason to expand the growth area, claiming that the County’s industrial land needs could be met with existing parcels in the development area.

At the end of the Board’s meeting on December 3, 2008, Chairman Ken Boyd (Rivanna) asked his colleagues if they would support a request to ask the Planning Commission to reconsider the amendment. County staff recommended to the Board that the matter be folded into the Crozet Master Plan review.

Boyd said he was concerned that if the matter were left solely up to participants in the master plan review, Yancey’s proposal to add more light industrial land would not have a chance to get an up or down vote before the Board.

“I consider this to be more of a County-wide issue and I don’t feel real comfortable putting it in the hands of a relatively small group of people,” Boyd said..

As evidence that big changes could be made to a master plan after the work session process, Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) reminded Boyd that when they approved the Pantops Master Plan , they overturned the Planning Commission’s recommendation to allow a large tract of land to remain in the growth area. Clara Belle Wheeler’s 77-acre property along Route 20 was removed from the growth area against her wishes.

Supervisor Ann Mallek (White Hall) said the proposal should go before the public as part of the review process, which is set to begin early next year. Supervisor Sally Thomas (White Hall) said that would be the most efficient way to review the proposal.


 

Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) supported the Planning Commission’s decision to table the proposal because of the property’s presence in the watershed and because it is not connected to the existing growth area. However, Rooker also supported including the proposal in the upcoming review.

“I’m not comfortable recommending an expansion of the growth area in the absence of the Crozet community having an opportunity to weigh in on that issue as a part of planning for that community,” Rooker said.

County Attorney Larry Davis reminded the Board there was no guarantee that the community would recommend the expansion of the growth area during the review process.

To satisfy Boyd’s concern, Slutzky recommended that the Board be given a chance to weigh in on the subject sometime during the review process.  County Planning Director Wayne Cilimberg said he would ensure the Board had opportunities to check-in on the Crozet Master Plan review in general and to specifically assess the community’s recommendations on the Yancey Business Park.

Sean Tubbs

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