COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Discussion on Establishing Parameters for the Crozet Library Project
Tucker, Foley, Davis, Catlin, Graham, Garrison
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
March 7, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
The Crozet master planning process identified a new and expanded public library in downtown Crozet as a critical priority to provide a focal point for community activity and to help catalyze expanded opportunities for new and existing downtown businesses. The master plan envisions the library serving as an anchor for a revitalized downtown Crozet, a major public sector investment and a visible presence that will help support critical infrastructure improvements like parking, sidewalks, and the new Main Street.
Following a public meeting and extensive citizen input regarding the location of the new library, the Board of Supervisors selected the Harris/Amato property which emerged as the downtown site which best fulfilled the intent of the master plan for the new library location.
Guidance is needed from the Board of Supervisors on several issues to continue progress on the library project, which is proceeding concurrently with several other major downtown Crozet infrastructure projects including the Phase I and Phase II sidewalk and streetscape projects and the downtown zoning study project.
Summary of Major Library Project Milestones to Date:
Goal Three: Develop Policies and Infrastructure Improvements to Address the County’s Growing Needs
Before the library can move ahead through the necessary rezoning and preliminary design stages, the Board’s guidance is required on several critical decision points. While the Board’s input and direction will be solicited at several future stages of the project to discuss issues such as LEED features and establishing any necessary design parameters, the following issues require speedy resolution to keep the project on track:
Potential of permanent mixed use/commercial component to the project
There has been inquiry into the feasibility and desirability of creating a permanent mixed use, commercial component to the library project. Staff has considered this possibility with input from the consultant and library officials and identified both benefits and concerns with regard to a mixed use component which are included in Attachment A.
The library project as envisioned by the Master Plan and the CIP, and as outlined in the consultant contract and discussed during the public input sessions, was a dedicated public facility that was meant to anchor downtown activity and, along with accompanying infrastructure, encourage private sector partnerships in bringing about commercial development opportunities. Given the considerations included in Attachment A and their potential to add to the cost, complexity and timeline of the project, staff believes the best approach for the library project is to focus the public sector role on providing a quality library facility and improved infrastructure (including sidewalks, streetscape, widening Crozet Avenue, new Main Street) that will catalyze private sector investment in downtown Crozet. Constructing the library in a timely way to realize the benefits outlined in the Master Plan is the County’s highest priority.
However, there is the possibility that a temporary complementary use could be accommodated in the building if the decision was made to build initially to a size that would leave space not required immediately by the library. There are a number of complementary uses, including functions like community meeting space, arts and crafts displays, historical displays, Crozet visitors center, etc., that have been identified as possible needs for downtown. Library officials have indicated a willingness to consider these types of temporary uses within the library building. The process of identifying and analyzing an appropriate temporary use could happen within the current planning and design timeframe. Staff would suggest a number of parameters to guide selection of any such potential complementary use to include factors like:
At this stage, a decision regarding potential temporary complementary uses depends on the total square footage constructed and whether or not all of the space will be needed when the library opens.
Square Footage Requirements for the Library
A final determination must be made regarding optimal size of the library. In order to assist the Board with this discussion, staff has outlined a method developed in coordination with the Jefferson Madison Regional Library to determine the square footage required to meet the needs of the new Crozet Library. That methodology is included in Attachment B. As a point of reference, the current Crozet Library is 1,900 square feet in size.
The two critical factors in determining square footage are the service area for the library and the projected population in that service area. After the population to be served is determined, the current standard for calculating total square footage is .7 square feet per person. The library has indicated this is a minimum standard, but this is the current standard used in the Community Facilities section of the County’s Comprehensive Plan. Based on the analysis in Attachment B, staff has concluded that an ultimate 20,000 square foot library is justified for Crozet. However, based on the population projections, staff believes that a phased approach of some type is also justified.
Staff analyzed several scenarios related to service area and population, and even under what would be considered the “worst case”, or largest service area and projected population to be accommodated, the full need for a 20,000 square foot library will not be met until the year 2027. These results have been reviewed with library officials. While these projections would suggest that the initial 15,000 square foot library currently budgeted in the CIP will begin to be exceeded in 2013, viewing this library as a piece of the larger system is important to keep in mind regarding the timing for expansion. While planning is based upon the projected service area in and around Crozet, the close proximity of Charlottesville and several other library branches to a large portion of the population served by the new library is an important factor in considering the timing of Crozet Library’s ultimate expansion. Given this factor, staff feels that planning for expansion between 2027 and 2030, when the population fully justifies it, is one possible approach.
However, a second option is to construct a larger building up front, using some of the space for complementary uses that don’t create impacts to the design/construction project and don’t conflict with the library’s primary mission until the space is needed for library functions. If the eventual goal is a 20,000 square foot building, there would be a construction cost savings by building the space now rather than at inflated costs 10 or 15 years in the future. This approach would allow the library to consolidate the programming aspects of their function on one floor which is their preference and dedicate the downstairs level to a temporary community-oriented use, and then transition that downstairs space into public meeting rooms and community space associated with the library when the need arises. If the Board believes this is a desirable option, additional funding would be necessary.
Because of the Library Board’s desire for a 20,000 square foot library building initially, library officials have agreed to enter into a funding partnership with the County that would provide the additional funding needed to build a 20,000 square foot facility up front. They have agreed to accept financial responsibility for the books, originally budgeted at $1.2 million, and for half of the furniture and furnishings, originally budgeted at $710,200. Their total financial commitment to the library would total approximately $1.6 million. This commitment would free up all but $129,406 of the original budget needed to construct the additional 5,000 square feet. In addition, this would allow somewhere between three and five thousand square feet to be available for community use until it is needed by the library. A comparison of the original budget estimate and the budget that would result from the Library’s proposal is included in Attachment C. As the attachment indicates, the original budget estimate totals $8,521,069 and in addition to land purchase and contingencies includes $1,904,799 in furniture, fixtures, equipment, and books. Actual construction cost is estimated at $4,419,600 based upon a 15,000 square foot library at $254 per square foot. Architectural fees are included at $585,850 and includes a fairly extensive design process for the library, including community input, and consideration of green building design.
Because of the coordination needed with phase two of the Crozet streetscape project and the establishment of the new Main Street, the design process for the actual library is not scheduled to begin for a several months. A schedule that ensures coordination of these three infrastructure projects is currently being developed and will be provided to the Board in the future. Over the past several months the Board has indicated its desire to be involved in considering design standards, value engineering and green building principles. As a result, staff will schedule future review of the library project with the Board as the design process begins.
Required Approval Process
No decision is required by the Board at this time regarding the zoning approval process required for the library project. The Board should be aware that staff is assessing the best way to proceed with the rezoning of the site. While the current zoning on the property is appropriate for the library use, there are issues like setbacks and height allowances that need to be addressed through a rezoning. If the progress and timing of the downtown rezoning project currently underway meets the library project schedule, then the appropriate rezoning will be accomplished by that larger overall rezoning. If the need to rezone for the library project occurs more quickly than completion of the overall downtown rezoning, the library project will require a Neighborhood Model District rezoning in order to create the type of two-story, urban form library envisioned in the Master Plan. If that is the case, the library rezoning will be coordinated with the work of the overall downtown district consultant’s work to insure a consistent and complementary approach.
The library project remains a very visible and highly anticipated project in the Crozet community, and every effort will continue to be made to keep residents engaged in the process. The rezoning process mentioned above will have its own built-in public process that will involve public work sessions and public hearings at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisor levels. In addition, the consultant’s planning and design process has a very strong public participation component to help determine programmatic and design elements. The Crozet Community Advisory Council and other stakeholder groups will continue to be key participants in the public process. The Jefferson Madison Regional Library and its staff and advisory groups are represented on the project team by John Halliday and Tim Tolson, who serve as liaisons between the consultants, County staff and library stakeholders, including the Library Board.
The primary purpose of this agenda item is to determine if the Board believes the currently planned 15,000 square foot library should be expanded to build 20,000 square feet up front. As mentioned, the library is willing to enter into a funding
partnership to support the 20,000 square foot library by assuming responsibility for the book expenses and half of the furniture and fixtures. This commitment would offset all but $129,406 of the cost of increasing the library by 5,000 square feet.
Based on the analysis of service area and population projections, staff recommends planning for a 20,000 square foot library. Given the construction savings that can be realized by building the necessary square footage upfront together with the library’s commitment of approximately $1.6 million to keep the project close to its original budget, staff recommends that the building be designed and built at 20,000 square feet with the understanding that the space beyond what is currently required by the library be dedicated to a temporary compatible community-focused use until it is required for library functions.
Regarding mixed use, staff believes the concept of mixed use is being achieved through the establishment of Main Street, improvements in the Crozet Avenue streetscape project and providing additional community parking. The library project when completed will also provide significant community meeting and gathering space that will service a variety of functions. Adding additional mixed use options given the complexities of coordinating the currently planned complementary infrastructure will increase both time and cost to a project that already has high expectations.
Attachment A – Potential of permanent mixed use/commercial component to the project
Attachment B - Square Footage Calculation for the Library
Attachment C – Crozet Library Budget
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