Crozet Town meeting and other Growth musings

I have had a hard time working up to this post, as the two and a half hour meeting last Thursday night seemed to be so much of the same conflict, same discussions, same end result. The County did a fine presentation that provided a fair amount of useful information. The nature of the presentation took most of the fire out of the several hundred attendees; by the time the public comment session began, there were about 2/3 fewer people in the seats.

For a less opinionated account and podcast, see CvilleTomorrow.

There was no question and answer session, as those questions posed were directed at the BoS; when given the opportunity to stand and respond, Crozet’s Supervisor chose to remain seated. Thanks to the podcast, Supervisors will be able to listen and respond, however.

The best way to summarize the meeting is to say that little was said or presented that helped to alleviate or mitigate the uncertainty that exists.

To paraphrase one of the commenters (listen at 8:00 of this podcast)

When questioned, the County gives the pat answer of “well, it’s in the Master Plan” yet, Wickham Pond is shown as an environmental set-aside on the Master Plan map … why was this taken from five by-right units to 107 units, the answer the planning department gave was “the master plan is just a guide … it is not set in stone … there is a duality here … we need a firm plan.”

It is hard to answer clients’ (and my wife’s and neighbors’) questions about the future of Crozet’s growth as no one seems to really know.

One of the best parts of this blog is the off-line discussions. From a recent (and on-going discussion) with someone who is seeking to relocate to the CharlAlbemarle area from NoVa:

If C’ville continues to try to imitate No VA (i.e. concerns centering around Crozet development, developers squeezing in as great a density as permitted—well there goes the QOL and the neighborhood).  Again, I reiterate, it’s the “country” of Charlottesville with the little flair of charm, artsy craftsy, good restaurants, etc.  created by UVA in downtown and “clean,pure wine country, that is C’ville.  If you haven’t been to NoVA lately—come and see us—particularly at rush hour.  You’ll get a jolt of reality and what you DON’T want to see happen to C’ville along with all the apparent wishful thinking of many of your folks in the real estate/development industry who seem to be chomping at the bit to try to ignite.

Well said. I wish more would look at the long-term effects of their actions and inactions today. With each of these conflicts and questions, I ask myself: “Will I want my daughters to live here in 25 years?”

Note: Brian Wheeler of CvilleTomorrow and Frank Cox of the proposed Albemarle Place development will be on WINA tomorrow morning. I wish WINA would podcast their shows!

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  1. Ray Hyde February 14, 2006 at 11:02

    In order to invest for the long term you need to have the capital available and to know that your investment will be rewarded in the market.

    If all you can afford is a regular heat pump….

    If you install a groundsource heat pump that costs about $5000 more, how do you know that someday your prospective buyer will see the value? He may use the nonstandard configuration as an argument against you…..

    It’s all very well to argue for long term profits over short term ones, but they come with higher risk…..

    I hope the green movement catches on and becomes mainstream, but it will need to be truly cost effective before that happens in a big way.

  2. Pingback: Central VA real estate news, trends and opinions - Central Virginia’s first and premier real estate blog. Real estate buying and selling news, trends from the perspective of a Charlottesville area Realtor. » Albemarle Place discussion

  3. Betty Groth February 15, 2006 at 11:05

    The Wickham Pond site (TMP 56 Parcel 92) is NOT shown on the Crozet Master plan as an “environmental set-aside.”

    The Crozet Master Plan designates most of the property as CT3 Urban Edge and CT4 Urban General, with a Development Area Preserve along Route 240. The BOS and Planning Staff found that the proposed development is consistent with the master plan. The approved rezoning Code of Development includes hedgerow and open space along Route 240.

  4. Jim February 15, 2006 at 11:30

    Betty –

    Thank you for the clarification! Where did she get her information?

  5. Betty Groth February 15, 2006 at 12:00

    I don’t know. At one of the early informational meetings Weather Hill conducted with the Highlands neighbors, one woman indicated that the real estate agent told her that the neighboring property (now rezoned as Wickham Pond) would be a “preserve.” Apparently, she relied on that information without actually checking the county plan. This leads to other issues regarding an agent’s duty that I am not qualified to comment upon.

    The nearest property to Highlands that is designated as a CT1 preserve is a portion of TMP 56-91A, however that lot also has a portion designated as CT3 Urban Edge.

  6. Jim February 15, 2006 at 17:20

    Aargh. That is the type of answer that is truly infuriating. It is important for buyers (and sellers) to do their own research rather than rely on hearsay/second hand information. I tend to be the “source of the source” rather than the source, as oftentimes, things change.

    Good for Weather Hill for holding meetings with the neighbors. If only more people would attend in the initial phases, these types of situations could be mitigated, if not avoided.