COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Crozet Library Site Selection

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Analysis of potential sites and public comment from the community meeting regarding the new Crozet Library

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, Foley, Catlin, Shadman, Stumbaugh

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   No

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

November 1, 2006

 

ACTION:      X                   INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:                         INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:    Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

The Crozet master planning process established a new and expanded public library in “downtown” Crozet as a critical priority. Based on strong citizen preferences expressed during the master planning process, the adopted plan placed the new library in the heart of downtown to provide a focal point for community activity and expanded opportunities for new and existing downtown businesses. The County has budgeted $5.9 million for the Crozet Library in its current Capital Improvements Program (CIP).  However, that cost is expected to increase similar to other projects with the two year update of the CIP.  As staff has discussed with the Board in the recent past, we are expecting increases of approximately thirty to forty percent for most major County projects due to increases in construction costs and market conditions.  

 

The master plan envisioned the library serving as an anchor for a revitalized downtown Crozet, a major public sector investment and visible presence that would help support critical infrastructure improvements like parking, sidewalks, and the new Main Street.

 

Following master plan adoption, the site selection process has continued.  Based on the adopted plan’s recommendations, significant attention was paid to locating potential sites within the heart of downtown Crozet as recommended by the plan. 

 

The Old School location was not recommended by the master plan as a potential library site.  However, it was included on the preliminary site selection list for several reasons, including interest from the community in preserving the Old School, the large amount of space available at that site and because the county already owned the property.

 

The preliminary site evaluation narrowed the selection down to two locations – the Old School site and the Harris/Amato property which emerged as the downtown site which best fulfilled the intent of the master plan for the new library location.

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal One:  Enhance the Quality of Life for All Citizens

Goal Three:  Develop Policies and Infrastructure to Address the County’s Growing Needs

 

 

DISCUSSION:

Conformance with the Crozet Master Plan

Conversation about the new library occurred in a very significant way during the Crozet Master Plan process between 2002 and adoption of the plan in 2004, with a major focus being on what positive role and contributions a new library as a major public sector investment and visible presence could bring to the Crozet community as part of the master plan.

 

Taking into account the preferences of the majority of those who participated in the two year long master plan public participation process, which advocated a location that would catalyze redevelopment of the downtown, the consultant placed the library at a location on Crozet Avenue.  County staff has put considerable energy and emphasis into securing a downtown location for the library in response to the specific direction and recommendations of the adopted Master Plan. 

The following are specific findings and recommendations of the Master Plan regarding downtown and the library:

 

 

The following are specific Master Plan findings and recommendation regarding the Old School:

 

Site Review

Initially as many as 13 sites for the new library were considered.  Staff evaluated these prospective sites based on criteria related to availability, viability and economic and infrastructure benefits that would be derived by placing the library on each specific site.  Those criteria included the strong community preferences and specific recommendations established by the master plan; operational requirements specified by the Jefferson-Madison Library Director, Crozet Library Branch Manager, and JMR Library Board; and successful best practices for library projects in other communities. A critical criterion was the adequacy of each parcel to accommodate the library program and a minimum of 75 parking spaces.

 

In August of 2005, county staff met with the property owners in the Downtown block shown in the Master Plan to discuss their interest in participating in the new library project, as a public-private partnership. All involved owners that would have been required for the project to proceed in that location were not interested in participating, so that site was not a viable possibility.  Focusing on the intent of the master plan and stated goals for the new library, other sites were pursued, with a particular focus on locating a site on Crozet Avenue as identified in the Master Plan.

 

Staff selected the Harris/Amato site to be the best downtown site among the potential locations measured against the criteria.  Elements of the Harris/Amato site compared most favorably to conditions established in the Master Plan and to the County’s neighborhood model, for example:

A detailed analysis of the two potential locations in relation to the adopted Crozet Master Plan is contained in Attachment A.

Status of sites

Harris property

 

Amato property

·         Has a contingent contract – it will only be purchased if the site is used for the library

·         Contract on this property allows current owners to remain for up to three years from date of purchase

·         Historic resources – see Harris property

 

Old School site

 

Financial Considerations and Other Site Selection Criteria

The consultant team conducted a comprehensive analysis of the two potential library sites using a selection criteria matrix that is included in its entirety as Attachment B.  The following are highlights of the most significant findings of that analysis:

 

 

Public Input

As is documented above, significant public input into the location of the new library was gathered during the Crozet Master Plan process, resulting in specific recommendations that guided staff’s site selection process.  Because the new library will be such a visible and critical public investment in Crozet for many years to come, the Board of Supervisors wanted to provide an additional opportunity for Crozet residents to provide feedback on the two specific sites that are under consideration for the library.  That feedback was gathered during a community meeting on October 25 led by the library project consultant team, and will be provided to the Board and made available to the public as quickly as possible following the October 25 meeting.

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

Funding for the new Crozet Library is included in the County’s Capital Improvement Program budget.  However, funding for the land purchase will need to be approved at a future date if the Harris/Amato site is selected.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff believes that the Harris/Amato site is consistent with the Crozet Master Plan and that a library on that site will provide

significant economic benefits and further many of the principles envisioned for creating a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented downtown for Crozet.  In summary, staff believes that the site offers substantial benefits including:

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – Comparative of Potential Library Sites

B – Evaluation Criteria Table

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