Why Engagement is key to the Growth and Future of Downtown Crozet

As the DCI and the Crozet Community Association work towards the fulfillment of the Crozet Master plan, there are routine meetings and events where anyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.  While the future of Crozet does have a plan, plans evolve, and both the meetings, emails and social pages are meant to keep your informed. 

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Reasons why you should engage with the future of Crozet

 

1.     Have a say in the Crozet Master Plan for the Barnes Lumber site:  To date there is a planned Crozet Plaza for the old Barnes Lumber site.  The space is intended to serve as a place for locals to gather and enjoy fairs, concerts, farmers markets, or simply just time with friends/neighbors.  Attending the meetings where ideas and information about this site are on the agenda, allows you to weigh in and share your insight on behalf of the Crozet community.

2.     Get to know other peers:  Crozet is full of so many amazing people.  Attending the meetings and engaging with other Crozet locals is a great way to network and socialize.  We encourage socializing, hence the Crozet Community Plaza!  Meeting other that share in your vision, or even those that don’t is valuable.  Whether you have a healthy debate or make a new friend, one thing you all may have in common, is your love for Crozet.

 

The DCI and CCA work to ensure all T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.  They want to embrace the culture of Crozet, while overseeing and standing behind the future growth.  If you live in Crozet, or care about the town for any other reason, besides being a current resident, we invite you to stay connected.  We want to know your thoughts, opinions and what you would like to see (or not see) as the town blossoms. 

 

Follow us on Facebook, sign up for our emails and be sure to attend future meetings and check out the past agendas, and notes that are online

Our Crozet, in Pictures

Describing Crozet can only go so far with words.  Images of the area, the personalities that live in Crozet and the strong community is evident in these pictures.  When asking social media followers to share their images of Crozet, whether it meant of their family, friends, fur babies, landscape or favorite food; images started to roll in!  These pictures don't just tell the story of Crozet, it tells the story of those that love living in this small, but thriving, Virginia town.  From days spent at the baseball field, playing in a local park, eating local, or embracing in an amazing landscape, here's a little Crozet story. . . enjoy! 

Our Crozet in Pictures by Slidely Slideshow

A Growing Crozet is a Happy Crozet

The Benefits of Small Town Growth

Since the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Crozet has come to be a choice location for families in Albemarle County.  With the area wineries, festivals, amazing restaurants, boutiques and family day outings around local farms and playgrounds, it is no surprise that the area has attracted more residential growth than any other area of the County.  As the community continues to grow, many feel anxiety over the impacts of growth and fear losing the small town charm. While unmanaged growth can be detrimental, managed growth can provide meaningful benefits for the whole community:

Economic Benefits: As Crozet grows and adds more places in which a business can operate, there will naturally be an increase in tax revenue for the County.  These dollars can then be allocated  for schools, services, maintenance and capital  improvements.  Here’s an interesting fact about Crozet:  Growth has been largely upper income families.  Median household income in Crozet went from being among the lowest in the County to the highest (over $80K per year).  This creates economic opportunity because people have disposable income to spend.  From a tax perspective, higher incomes mean higher value homes, more tax revenue to fund additional services and school growth.

More specialty restaurants, shops and service providers are in demand for the area. Peidmont Place, opening in late 2016 has been fully leased since opening and businesses are thriving.   In a fairly recent DCI Facebook post, we asked our page followers about this very topic.  From that post, it was insightful to learn that there were several people that suggested Crozet needed a new bakery (with donuts), a dog grooming facility, a work space, and even drive thru coffee! Having more business, means more jobs and more demand for products and services. 

Social benefits:  Growth can help improve the educational opportunities for all residents.  Growth can bring good restaurants, breweries, wineries, and cultural events.

Cultural Benefits: Crozet has attracted talented people with big ideas and refined cultural tastes.  They create vitality and enrich lives through creative  expression.  Crozet is now home to more than 130 artisans! It has its own orchestra,  a ballet school, a chorus and a theatre group. 

Recreational Benefits:  Crozet has always been attractive for outdoor recreation and growth has fueled the creation of new recreational venues and opportunities.  The expansion of Claudius Crozet Park, a new park in Old trail, the Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preservation park in Whitehall, preservation of the Crozet Tunnel as a tourist attraction, Polo at King Family Vineyard, Wild Rock Childrens’ nature play park are expanding an already rich outdoor culture in Crozet.

Growth is now helping support new development in downtown, an area that’s been largely left behind during Crozet’s growth boom. Milestone Partners development plans for downtown will bring new businesses, new jobs, new retail, hotel and restaurant opportunities.  Perrone Robotics has already moved into downtown and brought 17 new jobs that could grow to more than 100 in the next few years.  Plans for a civic plaza will solidify downtown as the the heart and soul of Crozet.  The plaza will be a pedestrian focused place for socializing, entertainment, dining, and relaxing.  Residents can create new relationships and perhaps start new family traditions.  Many towns in Virginia are struggling to survive and would do anything to attract the kind of growth that Crozet is experiencing.  The reality is that Crozet has much to be thankful for and thoughtful growth is one of them.

DCI Facebook Post Nov. 2, 2016

DCI Facebook Post Nov. 2, 2016

DCIFBPostReply

Design Concepts for Crozet Community Plaza

Did you miss the chance to review the Crozet plaza design concepts at the event? No worries. We've included them here! Which one is your favorite? What aspects of each do you like/dislike? We welcome any and all feedback. You can leave a comment or email us at info@downtowncrozetinitiative.com. 

DESIGN CONCEPT A:

Crozet Plaza Design A

Crozet Plaza Design A

DESIGN CONCEPT B:

Crozet Plaza Design B

Crozet Plaza Design B

DESIGN CONCEPT C:

DCI Design & Dine Event: Mark Your Calendars

Join us for the Design & Dine Event!

Thursday, Dec. 8
4:30 pm - 7:30 pm Open House
Piedmont Place

Come give input on the future Crozet community plaza! Join us to view and share your thoughts on three (3) conceptual plaza designs. Water features? Outdoor seating? Covered event spaces? We'd like to hear from you.

While you're there...

Catch a sneak peek of Piedmont Place before its official grand opening.
Enjoy free bites and brews from Smoked BBQ, Morsel Compass and Starr Hill Brewery.
Visit the Carelsen family at their new Crozet Bicycle Shop.

To RSVP for the event, visit the event Facebook page or email us at info@downtowncrozetinitiative.com

 

 

Crozet Bicycles Coming Soon

Adventurers and cycling enthusiasts, Cor Carelsen and his wife Louise, are taking their passion and turning it into a reality that will soon be enjoyed by many in this area. Crozet Bicycles will be opening on the former Barnes Lumber property later this Fall, aiming for a date in November. This is the first business to open its doors on the property since Milestone Partners/Crozet New Town Associates purchased it in 2014. The shop will be located in the house/small building across the parking lot and to the left of Parkway Pharmacy.

Crozet Bicycles will carry a variety of bikes ranging from high-end mountain bikes to kids bicycles, although not a large inventory due to the size of the space. One thing we’re sure those in the market for a new bike will love: you’ll be able to “test drive” the bikes before you buy them. It also will sell cycling apparel and gear for the more sophisticated riders, as well as bike parts. The main focus of the business will be dedicated to maintenance and repairs, as this is where Cor’s true passion lies. The plan is to be in the current location for two years, and then see where the business grows from there.

Cor cycles every day, riding a few times a week with the Crozet Cycling Club. Moving to this area from South Africa and Botswana, Cor and Louise chose Crozet because of its proximity to the mountains and nearby rural areas. Crozet Bicycles is not their first venture together. The couple owned Limpopo Horse Safaris, horseback riding safaris through the Mashatu Game Reserve in the Tuli Block of south eastern Botswana. And, they currently own and operate Rides Around the Globe, offering mountain biking and horseback riding vacation packages to destinations around the world.

If nothing else, this family has many life and travel experiences to share. We look forward to getting to know them better and hearing some fascinating stories during our trips to Crozet Bicycles.

DCI July Meeting Re-cap

Photo courtesy of Charlottesville Tomorrow

Photo courtesy of Charlottesville Tomorrow

The DCI Planning Committee and members of the community met on Wednesday, July 13, to discuss the latest developments relating to the Barnes Lumber site and downtown Crozet. Here is a quick re-cap of the discussions that took place:

  • Phase 1 Re-zoning – The County has delayed the re-zoning of Phase 1 of the Barnes Lumber development to further assess the off-site infrastructure needs and County policy shifts that could have a positive impact on the Barnes re-zoning. Among the infrastructure needs being discussed are sewer capacity, intersection upgrades and road improvements to a portion of High Street. The developer, Milestone Partners/Crozet New Town Associates, resubmitted the Phase 1 re-zoning package on July 18. The earliest it will be reviewed by the Planning Commission is the end of September and the Board of Supervisors in November (not September, as originally planned).
  • Landscape Architecture Firm for the Plaza – Members of the Crozet Community Advisory Committee (CCAC), Crozet Community Association (CCA), Downtown Crozet Initiative (DCI) and Crozet Board of Trade interviewed five firms in June. Following the interviews, it was a unanimous vote to hire Mahan Rykiel Associates from Baltimore, MD. While many of the interviewers went into the interviews expecting to hire a local firm, Mahan Rykiel’s talent, experience, enthusiasm, and recommendations to build a plaza that would highlight the unique attributes of Crozet ultimately swayed the panel. Mahan Rykiel will be working closely with local architects and engineers on the project.
    • The first phase of conceptual designs is expected later this Fall.
  • A Brand for Crozet – Part of Mahan Rykiel’s recommendation for building a successful plaza downtown is for the plaza design to reflect Crozet’s identity, history and future aspirations. A large part of the DCI discussion earlier this month focused on the topic of branding Crozet. What is Crozet’s brand? What are its unique selling points? If Crozet wants to attract the right kinds of businesses and increase tourism in the area, attendees of the DCI meeting agreed that the town needs a clearer brand and messaging.

Please tell us what you think. How would you describe Crozet in 5 words or less?

Hiring a Landscape Architecture Firm for the Downtown Crozet Plaza

One of the focal points of the development of downtown Crozet will be the outdoor plaza area. In April, we heard from some of you on the DCI Facebook page about what you'd like to see in this space. Shaded areas, a splash park, an outdoor play area, public benches, and a mixture of green space and hardscape were some ideas we received. 

The developer, Frank Stoner of Milestone Partners/Crozet New Town Associates, is dedicating a minimum of 28,000 sq-ft for this space. The space will be developed through a combination of grants, private donations, and money from the county. In a recent article in Charlottesville Tomorrow, Frank stated that he doesn't want to start buildings without a clear plan for the plaza because the plaza is such an important catalyst to attracting businesses, restaurants and retailers to downtown. 

Last month, Frank sent a Request for Proposal (RFP) to local and regional landscape architecture firms asking for proposals for the design of this civic space/plaza. Five firms responded. Frank and five members of the DCI, CCA, CCAC and Crozet Board of Trade plan to interview these firms next week. 

Members of the community are invited to attend and observe the interviews; however, questions and comments during the actual interviews will be left to the six-person panel. If you plan to attend, we ask that you arrive on time, as access will be restricted after the interviews start. The interviews will take place at the Crozet Library on the following dates/times:

June 15: Interviews at 1 p.m. (Waterstreet Studio) and 2 p.m. (Timmons Group)

June 16: Interviews at 1 p.m. (Mahan Rykiel), 2 p.m. (Land Planning & Design Associates) and 3 p.m. (Nelson Byrd Woltz)

A firm will be selected later this month and should have design concepts to review by early Fall. The community will be asked to help select the final design. 

We'd like your input

What questions would you like to ask these landscape architecture firms? What characteristics are most important in awarding this project to a firm? Is it budget? The firm's vision for the space? Creativity? Experience with similar projects? You can leave a question or comment in the comment section of this post. You may also send an email to info@downtowncrozetinitiative.com. Please offer your thoughts by Monday, June 13. We look forward to hearing from you! 

 

 

May 12 Meeting Re-Cap

The Downtown Crozet Initiative and members of the Crozet community met on Thursday to discuss the status of projects related to the development of the Barnes Lumber area in downtown Crozet, as well as next steps. Here is a re-cap:

  • Developer Frank Stoner of Milestone Partners/Crozet New Town Associates reported to the group that a phase 1 rezoning was submitted to the County on April 4. There were no special use permits requested; everything fell within the current Crozet Master Plan and Downtown Crozet District Zoning Code.
    • Frank received comments back from the County and is meeting with VDOT and the County on May 24th.
    • The issues are as follows:
    1. Road Network – The County would like a grid network of roads, but cannot yet support the connections necessary for the grid to function well. These include a connection to 240 and a second connection onto Hill Top Street. 
    2. Sewer – There may not be adequate capacity for the development. The ACSA is working on a study to identify remaining capacity and a plan to upgrade capacity, but the timing for the upgrade has not been firmly established.
    3. Road Design – Some roads will need to be private because the parking patterns are not consistent with VDOT requirements. Public road alignments and final design will occur during siteplan review. 
    4. Traffic - The Library Avenue and Three Notch'd Road intersections will fail by 2029, with or without the Barnes Lumber development. A plan and funding are needed to address these intersections.
    • Milestone plans to address County comments and resubmit in early June. 
    • A Planning Commission meeting date will be set after review of Milestone's responses.  The meeting date is likely to be sometime in July or August. 
    • It will probably be September or October before it’s brought before the Board of Supervisors.
  • Phase 1 Engineering - Starting to tackle storm water and utilities. 
  • A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on May 5 to several local landscape architecture firms, plus some regional firms, for conceptual designs for a minimum of 28,000 sq. ft. for the civic space/plaza.  
    • The due date for responses is May 27. 
    • The group is hoping to have at least five firms respond.
    • The DCI Committee will meet in June to review RFP proposals. A final selection will be made in mid- to late-June.
  • The DCI Committee is a sub-committee of the Crozet Community Association (CCA). The DCI committee is requesting that the CCA apply for a 501(c)3 designation for grant purposes.
    • The DCI committee would like to apply for several grants for the civic space/plaza, including VHDA. 
    • The group is seeing grant writers. Please email info@downtowncrozetinitiative.com if interested. 

Next Steps

  • The DCI committee is planning a Town Hall Meeting to review the design options from the selected landscape architecture firm and help select a final design by late September. 
  • The DCI committee also is planning a Fall event to unveil the final design and kick-off a capital campaign to help fund the civic space/plaza. 
  • A Phase 1 site plan will be developed late 2016 or early 2017.
  • The developer is hoping to start construction the 2nd or 3rd quarter 2017.