Crozet

Etiquette to being a Good Neighbor.

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1.     Welcoming Committee

You don’t have to enlist the help of a formal welcoming committee, but it’s simple and easy to make a new family feel welcomed to the neighborhood. Stop by to introduce yourself and your family (and even your pets!) and consider exchanging phone numbers (or email addresses). Bring a small dish or bouquet of fresh flowers to make their likely-bare new home feel lived in. Ask the new family if they would like recommendations for utilities providers, doctors, dentists, vet’s office or anywhere else. If you are willing and able, offer to host a dinner/cookout once they are settled so they can meet with other neighbors.

 

2.     Maintain Curb Appeal

No one wants to have the house that drags down the value of all other homes on the street. Be conscientious of maintaining your lawn and landscaping, at least to the same level as the rest of the neighborhood. This includes mowing the lawn, trimming bushes and trees, keeping clutter at bay (or at least not visible to neighbors), and correcting any home maintenance or safety issues that are especially visible. You’ll appreciate a well-manicured lawn and tidy home appearance from your neighbors as well!

 

3.     Respectful of Outdoor Noise

Chances are, you checked out many neighborhoods before settling on the home you are moving into. You should have a good idea of the demographics/backgrounds of the types of people who live in your new neighborhood. Make sure that you maintain respect when hosting gatherings or parties, whether it be during the daytime or in the evening. Ask guests to park in your driveway or in front of your house so as not to block neighbors parking. Try to keep noise to a minimum when a party lasts late into the evening. And, when possible, just invite the neighbors to attend!

 

4.     Go the extra Mile

Does your neighborhood have an HOA? Do you own pets? Make sure you know and follow any HOA rules that apply to your community. Be responsible with your pets, ensuring that you clean up after them and follow any/all leash laws in your city. If you have an issue with a neighbor, try to first discuss it with that person. Don’t be the neighborhood gossip. Respect your neighbor’s property and their belongings. Lend a helping hand when you can.

Family Fun in Crozet, VA

WildRock in Crozet

From early spring to late fall, Wildrock welcomes the public on Wednesday and Saturday by reservation to enjoy a one-of-a-kind local nature and wildlife experience.  The entry fee is "pay what you can” and guests are invited to walk the discovery trail with a self-guided "trail adventure" back pack, explore whimsical and imaginative play zones on the playscape, enjoy Easy Camping Overnights, or sign-up for specialty classes or day treks into the Blue Ridge foothills. This is an experience your kids will never forget!

 

Think fresh, crisp apples picked straight from the orchard. Think juicy, sweet peaches at their prime ripeness alongside peach butter and peach preserves. Visit Chiles Peach Orchard and experience the joy of farming while indulging in the freshest, locally-grown produce. Pick your own fruit, shop in the orchard shop and bring home local goods for the whole family to enjoy.

 

Looking for something fun to outdoors on a Sunday? King Family Vineyards hosts polo matches on Sundays between Memorial Day Weekend and mid-October. Matches last 2 hours and there is plenty of fun to be had for the whole family! Kids are invited onto the field between matches to stomp divets, staff drive around in golf carts with bottles of wine available for purchase, and patrons can park wherever they like around the polo field while bringing all their favorite creature comforts. It’s fun to be had for all!

 

Open all year round, Mint Springs Valley Park features 520 acres where you can enjoy trails fishing, boating and numerous playgrounds. Pack a lunch and utilize the picnic tables, grills and shelters throughout the park. If you are looking to simply explore the beauty that is Crozet, this would be an excellent place for your whole family to spend a day!

 

In the mood for some casual pizza? Crozet Pizza is well known around the central Virginia area. It opened in 1977 when the Crum family renovated an old building that had been unoccupied for years. For the thirty-one years that Bob and Karen Crum operated the family-run business, they hand made every single pizza. Their daughter now runs the historical restaurant and guarantees fun, a history lesson, and the best pizza you’ll find in Crozet!

 

Last, but certainly not least, is the abundance of local vineyards and breweries that pepper the beautiful county around Crozet. Starr Hill Brewery and Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery feature family friendly events year round. Stinson Vineyards, Grace Estate Winery and White Hall Vineyards boast incredible views, a beautiful atmosphere (inside and outside) and plenty of local history and wines to enoy.

 

Photo Credit: Christina Snow, Crozet, Va/Wildrock

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.

The Five Features of Great Public Spaces

Riverwalk. San Antonio, TX. Photo Credit: Urbanscale.com

Riverwalk. San Antonio, TX. Photo Credit: Urbanscale.com

The creation of a public park/plaza area in the Barnes Lumber redevelopment is a main focus of the Downtown Crozet Initiative. The group is providing feedback on aspects such as the location and design of the space and also is working to identify and apply for grants for funding. Of course, the main goal of the DCI for the public park/plaza area is to create a dynamic space that will serve many purposes for the community. Ideally, this space will host community events and will be a central location for members of the community to gather on a regular basis. 

So what makes a public space attractive for communities? In a blog post on urbanscale.com, the author highlights five features of vibrant public spaces that he's observed in his experience as an economic development advisor and urban planner. In his opinion, a successful public park includes these characteristics:

  1. They are small.
  2. They are surrounded by diversity.
  3. They mix public and private together.
  4. They are centrally located.
  5. They are designed to attract people.

Check out the blog post in full and let us know your thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Have anything to add?

A Boutique Hotel for Downtown Crozet

The quaint Chamberlin Inn in Cody, Wyoming

The quaint Chamberlin Inn in Cody, Wyoming

Some of you may have heard recently that a boutique hotel has expressed interest in building during Phase 1 of the Downtown Crozet Initiative. This is true! In fact, developers have had multiple meetings with the interested party. Of course, nothing will be built until major infrastructural challenges, including parking and traffic flow, and a Phase 1 plan for the site have been addressed and approved. But, once all of this happens (hopefully in 2016), the hope is the hotel will break ground soon after.

The idea of a boutique hotel was discussed during Crozet community meetings. Many of you expressed views that a hotel would provide a great opportunity to create greater independence from Charlottesville, making Crozet more than just another bedroom community. Here are some additional thoughts on a small hotel in Downtown Crozet:

  • Hotels have the ability to add constant vitality to a project by drawing guests to the site - and to nearby businesses and restaurants - throughout the day
  • A hotel would support local tourism by providing a place for out-of-town guests to stay who are visiting for local weddings, wine and brewery tours, and other events 
  • A hotel would bring more jobs to the area
  • A hotel's amenities, such as conference rooms and larger event spaces, would be an added benefit for downtown businesses

What do you think about a hotel coming to the area?

How Do We Create a Successful, Vibrant Downtown Crozet? The Case for a Public/Private Partnership

Photo by The Daily Progress. The Crozet Library Book Brigade.

Photo by The Daily Progress. The Crozet Library Book Brigade.

Community meetings have reinforced the importance of creating a vibrant downtown Crozet.  Residents were encouraged to “think big,” and they did. Bold ideas were put forth for a well-connected, gridded network of streets and bike/pedestrian facilities, parking structures, and high-quality civic space. People also reiterated the need for more quality employment opportunities in downtown. The big question is: how can we as a community help make it happen?

It was clear at the public meetings that local businesses are a top priority. In order to attract and support local businesses, the cost of the commercial space must be affordable for them. In order for it to be affordable, there will need to be a partnership between the developer, property owners, the Crozet community and Albemarle County. Each partner will have an important role to play. The county needs an effective economic development plan to attract businesses. It also needs to assist with some of the infrastructure that won’t be built without public participation. Developers and private property owners need to attract private investment capital and meet requirements of the banks that provide development loans. The community can serve as a channel for both public and philanthropic funds that may be available to help bridge the remaining gap. Community-wide support and input for the development also is vital. Success for all parties will require trust, transparency and steadfast commitment to a shared vision that creates real opportunities for businesses, property owners and the Crozet community.  

This idea is not a new one. In fact, it has been used in many mixed-use developments across the nation. Gary Okerlund, a local architect with Okerlund Associates and a faculty member of the University of Virginia's School of Architecture, wrote a 4-page paper outlining the process that citizens, developers and local government should take to ensure that community revitalization projects are a success. He says that in order for projects like Barnes Lumber to have long-term success, full citizen involvement is crucial. You can read more about this article here

10 Guiding Principles for a Successful Downtown

Photo by The Crozet Gazette. 

Photo by The Crozet Gazette. 

These are the guiding principles we ask everyone to strive to adhere to as we work together to grow the heart of Downtown Crozet.

1.     Be Authentic. Development that is true to the nature of Crozet: eclectic, small town. Honor and draw on historic precedents but don’t try to copy things that can’t be reproduced.

2.     Be Environmentally Responsible.  Barnes Lumber is an industrial brownfield that needs to be remediated before it can be redeveloped. 

3.    Create Reasons and Places for Community to Gather.  That’s what town centers are all about.

4.     Honor Pedestrians and Bicyclists.  Most of Downtown Crozet is neither bike nor pedestrian friendly. That needs to change for downtown to be successful.  

5.     Seek Connectivity Wherever Possible.  For downtown businesses to be successful, people need to be able to get to them. 

6.     Be Flexible.  Needs and wants evolve over time. Maintain flexibility to take advantage of future opportunities. That doesn’t mean we have to compromise our other principles.

7.     Be Inclusive and Affordable.  Create affordable opportunities for local business to locate and grow in downtown. Create a variety of housing opportunities walkable to downtown. Focus on higher density in the core.

8.     Be Mindful of the Market. Understand and capitalize on Crozet’s strengths, but be realistic about what’s possible now. We have to build buildings that satisfy some market demand or downtown will fail.  

9.     Work Together.  Building downtown is an enormous challenge and without the strong support of the Crozet community and Albemarle County, it won’t happen.  We’ll need to build trust, consensus, enthusiasm and commitment before we can build roads and buildings.

10. Be Resourceful and Proactive.  Don’t assume that good things will happen if we wait long enough. Good things happen when good people make them happen.  Crozet has a new library and downtown streetscape because Crozetians made it happen. If we want good businesses to come to Crozet, let’s figure out what it will take to get them there and then do it. If we want high quality civic space in downtown, let’s figure out what it should look like, what it will cost and how we can pay for it. Then let’s make it happen!

Is there anything missing from this list that you'd like to add? Any thoughts on the current list you'd like to share?