master plan and Crozet Streetscape update

Crozet is a living example of the “neighborhood model” adopted by the County as desirable in the growth areas. It has residential areas within easy walking distance to the downtown employment and shopping along Crozet Avenue and Three Notched Road. In the master plan review,  two business centers which Crozetians want to retain are Old Trail, where the business component has been steadily increasing, and Clover Lawn, where old commercial space was expanded within the last ten years. In both of these centers, a heavy residential component also exists.

The 2004 master plan had suggested many other centers sprinkled throughout the growth area, each with some commercial, such as cleaners and shops, and surrounded by higher density housing. This year residents firmly agreed with the staff proposal that those sprinkled commercial centers and high density residential should be removed. Residential density which is mostly single family, with occasional multifamily or apartments is desired throughout the growth area.

The desired location of proposed high density residential development is in the downtown area, which is described by a new zoning overlay adopted in 2009. This zoning encourages zero setback urban buildings, at least two stories tall, with business and residential combinations, or standalone business permitted by right. Shared parking and standalone parking are also included by right. No standalone residential is encouraged by right, as the emphasis is on employment and residential in the downtown.

Long in planning, the Crozet streetscape phase 2 is the current public investment in Crozet infrastructure. Improving the walkability of Crozet Avenue by relocation of utilities and repair or construction of sidewalks and crosswalks will improve the appearance of the business district. First to be accomplished is the completion of easement donation from adjoining landowners. As soon as this is accomplished, utility work will commence within thirty days.

After utilities are moved, the streetscape construction phase will begin. The first section of the new Main Street will be constructed as far as the intersection of Oak Street (a right of way through the JB Barnes woodyard which completes the “Square”) opposite the entrance to the new Crozet library. Though the library construction is currently on hold until funds are found, the grading of the library site can be done this year and a rough parking lot constructed to assist downtown businesses and shoppers during construction.

All of these improvements will help to raise confidence in downtown “Destination Crozet.”

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