Posts Tagged ‘albemarle’

Zoning 101

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Zoning was established in the County in 1970s. While not in place universally across the state even today, zoning rules allow a predictability to land use which brings comfort to landowners, that they can reasonably anticipate what land around theirs might be used for in decades ahead.

Zoning also assists the county in planning and implementing infrastructure for new residential development as growth is anticipated. While this has been the goal of residents of western Albemarle for forty years, the delivery of these supporting features has lagged behind the arrival of new residents.

In the 2007 election season, the most important issue from citizens at their doors by far was the increase in population and no delivery of increased services. Long-time residents and newcomers alike were disappointed that the promised items on which their developments were based had not been delivered.

Some examples. Jarman’s Gap Road improvements were on the planning list since before the approvals of Greyrock, Wayland’s Grant and Bargamin Place. The early 1990s approvals for those hundreds of new homes was based upon the road improvements and sidewalks. The road was completed in 2010, and road and sidewalks are well used today.

Serving a 35 square mile area in western Albemarle, the Crozet Library was in need of expansion in 1988, falling well below the state standards for library services. It too was completed in 2010. Both of these projects enjoyed strong community support to be achieved.

Background on The Growth Area

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

The Crozet Growth Area was created in 1980 when the urban ring growth area around the City was created. The Crozet area already had water and sewer services for its manufacturing plants and was thought to be an ideal place to expand residential units and provide efficient and cost effective services, close to existing treatment plants. Since then interceptors have been improved to deliver sewage to the Moore’s Creek treatment plant east of the City. Improvements to seal out rain infiltration and replace caps on access points have been completed. Further improvements to handle increased capacity are in the planning stages.

The community made its own growth plan in 1980. Behind the scenes from 1980 to 1990, many properties changed hands in preparation for new growth and development. When these new projects came to light, Crozet residents requested to be the first community to participate in master plan development. The first master plan was adopted in 2005 and was a learning experience. Lack of transparency and errors in data presentation left citizens angry that the promised population buildout of 12,500 (for a community of 1200 at the time) had evolved behind the scenes into 25,000. The 2010 master plan review brought the buildout numbers to approximately 16,000 (still a ten-fold or more increase in population).

The next review scheduled in 2015 has not yet occurred. This postponed review has on its agenda consideration of density ranges on the circumference of the growth area where the rural area is across the street. . On the master plan map, the land west of Cory Farm remained yellow during the 2010 review, as a range of 3-6 units per acre, because it had the potential to be connected to other developments on that side of the street to reduce impacts. In discussion during the master plan meetings, the expectation was that it would develop as had its companion on the rest of the farm, Cory Farm neighborhood.

The Crozet Citizens Advisory Committee, CCAC, was created by the board of supervisors eleven years ago as a buffer between the community engagement on the master plan implementation and the board of supervisors. Members are from different neighborhoods, businesses, perspectives, and all meetings are open to the public, advertised and now, live streamed.

The community of Crozet, through its Master Planning process, has always supported the recommendation that with any rezoning there be included 15 percent affordable housing. The current master plan has multiple citations regarding the protection of Rt 250 from further development and that high density should be focused, along with previous county investment, to downtown. Dense developments which are in downtown and provide the high performance desired have been well supported by the CCAC and community.

County affordable housing policy results from 2004 to 2016 include over 1000 units. 387 of those affordable units are in the Crozet Growth Area. $1.5 M in cash contributions was accepted, most of which was prior to 2007. There were more than 4000 units of all types approved for Crozet between 2004 and 2008.

Why Rezoning?

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

When an applicant desires to increase the housing density beyond the current zoning, for example, R-1 (one unit per acre) to 3-6 units per acre, the process allows for approval of that increase if the impacts of those extra units can be dealt with in the particular location and according to the application plan.

Important considerations related to decision-making are:

  • Is the rezoning in compliance with the comprehensive plan? If not, a comp plan amendment must be considered and approved first.
  • Is the character of the community maintained?
  • Are there pedestrian and vehicular connections with other neighborhoods to avoid every trip for services entering a major roadway?
  • Are there sidewalks to connect the new residents to their greater community?
  • Are there possible ways to ameliorate any traffic increases to permit the surrounding roadways to function as before the rezoning?

In addition, the site plan requirements for the rezoned development include:

  • Control features to prevent stormwater runoff off site
  • Stream buffers 100 feet on each side of a stream
  • Sidewalks and street trees along interior streets and to screen utilities from the roadway and adjacent residences

PEC FOIA Request – New VDOT emails released about bypass

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Witness the confusion and questionable nature of internal VDOT emails about the bypass and its cost. Scroll to the bottom of the page at the following link for the audio file of the story, including UVA theatre students reading the comments.

Emails on VDOT’s 29 Bypass


MPO Vote Concerns

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

I have just learned that information has been obtained Tuesday from VDOT but is not being released by the MPO chair. I have demanded release of that information immediately.

I hope you have read my letter to the editor with Dennis Rooker a week ago about our views of the current bypass resurgence. Some road supporters have complained that it is old information, but the information is still accurate and complete, as opposed to the incomplete assurances which are being offered today for local projects.

As you may expect there has been an outpouring of concern about the speed toward approval and lack of new information on the proposed bypass, about the process of coercion from the state, which has starved our local transportation budget for several years to create the desperation we now feel, and about the design and location of the proposed road. Why should we destroy such a swath of developed neighborhoods and school environment for a few minutes gain on a connector road? The current design will increase the traffic issues at each end, in places where there is considerable congestion and level of accidents today.

Many of you have emphasized the long term health effects on our school children of the truck traffic near the school grounds, on top of the noise distraction which will interfere with learning. The residential neighbors will suffer the same fates. We should not, knowingly, put our residents in harms way.

I am not in favor of this change in our long range plan and definitely NOT in favor of changing the TIP or transportation improvement program funding list. If the MPO votes to make that change, without the local roads promised voted into the state TIP and investment begun, we may lose all our local funds and get only the bypass and the widening. Those two parts alone will not solve our problem and will create more.

Since there has been no memo from VDOT as promised, how can we know what we will receive? Why should we give up our small leverage without it? How can any offer from VDOT and the CTB be enforced? How can our citizens be protected?

New engineering information indicates that building the bypass will make a Berkmar Extended unfeasible, due to the expensive flyovers or intersections necessary to cross the bypass.

We have seen no design for the northern end. What will be the effect on Forest Lakes and Ashwood Blvd? What contract or MOU do we have to prove that VDOT means what it promises? Future politicians may force the VDOT staff to rescind their offers.

I am unable to be at the meeting Wednesday, but four of the board members will be in attendance. I have written my concerns to them, just as you have. Thank you for your attention to this matter. The citizen participation on this issue has been the major factor over the years to bring good government and good process to road building.