Excerpt from Approved Planning Commission Minutes

October 7, 2008

 

Work Session:

 

a.      Crozet Master Plan Review

The work session was held for Planning Commission review and discussion of the draft Public Participation Plan for the Crozet Master Plan review process which is anticipated to begin in 2009 with the Commission overseeing the process. 

 

Mr. Morris noted that Ms. Echols and Ms. Catlin would make the presentation on the Crozet Master Plan Review.

 

Ms. Echols

 

Ms. Catlin made a power-point presentation and spoke briefly about the public-participation piece. 

 

She introduced Tim Tolson who represents the Crozet Community Advisory Council.

 

Tim Tolson felt that they have a very good strong working relationship with the County.  They see themselves as full partners in this process of revising the master plan and look forward to being a conduit of information to fellow community members and to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.  As Ms. Catlin mentioned, they have already formed several subcommittees to begin the updating process and anticipate that they will probably form a couple of others as the public-input process moves forward.  They basically see themselves as advising and full partners in the process and the decision making regarding revision of the master plan in 2009/2010.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if the subcommittees would include Crozet citizens not on the Advisory Council that were members of the public who may be interested in any particular topic.

 

Mr. Tolson replied absolutely. They have designated a couple topics like demographics, Eastern Connector, and an ombudsman to head up that area.  As this moves forward, they will try to recruit.  They have already talked about having a citizenís planning education so people can get up to speed in the planning process that happens at the County so that they understand the background.  The goal is to make sure they have multiple non-CCAC members on these sub-committees that are helping to inform their neighbors and other community members.

 

Ms. Joseph suggested that they consider including students and making them stakeholders.  She noted that she considered herself as part of the stakeholder group as a member of the Planning Commission because they are also looking at the entire County and how this master plan in Crozet is going to affect everything else that happens in Albemarle County.  She wanted to insert that those Commissioners who donít live in Crozet are also stakeholders and hopefully are giving feedback and advice on how the east, west or north side thinks about what is going on in Crozet, too.

 

Mr. Morris thanked Mr. Tolson for his contribution noting that they are really giving them a blueprint to work with.  He echoed what Ms. Joseph said about getting the leadership class of Western Albemarle High School involved. 

 

Ms. Catlin asked for any guidance that the Commission might have.  She asked that the Commission endorse this revision process as it exists now with the understanding that they obviously will be coming back to the Commission frequently.  The next time staff will come back will be after the Board has made their decision about master-plan scheduling so they can talk a little bit more concretely about exactly when and how some of these pieces might start moving forward.

 

Mr. Morris invited public comment.

 

Bill Shredder, member of CCAC, said in reading through the guidelines it mentions that the process will involve CCAC as far as implementing the program.  He asked that the CCAC have as much decision-making ability as possible as they bring points to the Commission and the Board of Supervisors.   He asked that they please keep it in mind that the CCAC would like to be involved early, often and with the final decision processes as changes move forward.

 

There being no further comment, Mr. Morris closed the public hearing to bring the matter back to the Commission for discussion.

 

Mr. Edgerton said he had no problem with what staff is asking to be endorsed except at the bottom of the third paragraph on the first page of the staff report.  It speaks about recommending the Crozet Master Plan revision process to begin next fiscal year without initiating any future master plans before that update is complete ahead of master plans to Neighborhoods IV, V, VI and VII.  He was a little concerned.  Certainly it is time to revise the Crozet Master Plan and he hoped for a schedule.  But at the same time, they keep passing over these very critical neighborhoods.  He knows that is causing a lot of stress to those in the city and the university.  He was worried about that.  The Board will have to make the decision about when to go ahead with it.  But he thought that they need to anticipate that this could happen again.  They could go through another five years and not get to looking at these other neighborhoods.  Therefore, he was concerned.  The reason for this is because they have been so overwhelmed with other business for so long and are so limited on staff.  He did not think anyone was doing anything on purpose. But he needed to waive that flag and say he was a little concerned that they have an obligation to look at the whole county.  He agreed that it was time to go back and look at the Crozet plan, but he felt that they need to consider these other neighborhoods as well.  During his 6Ĺ years on the Commission, those neighborhoods have not been addressed.

 

Mark Graham, Director of Community Development, said that Mr. Edgerton was correct and that staff shares the concern.  But the real issue here is one of resources.  In the current situation, they are not in the position to be able to undertake more master-planning issues.  In looking at the silver lining, this gives staff an opportunity in going back through the Crozet Master Plan Plan update.  They learned a lot the first time around.  With the update, they have learned a lot as well.  They can apply that to the southern urban area when they get to that master plan.  Staff is just stretched.  As they finish up Places29, Village of Rivanna and try to undertake any effort towards implementation of the strategies in those master plans, they just donít have the resources at this point in time to initiate other master plans.   

 

Mr. Loach agreed with what Mr. Edgerton said, but he thought that there was something to be said for going forward with the Crozet Master Plan revision.  There are some parts of it that have been problematic.   He thought that before they go on to the next neighborhoods, they should at least get the one that they have in place set as the gold standard for other master plans.  He also noted that the Crozet Community itself has been heavily involved in this process.  The CCAC is a good cross section of the community.  It is a critical filter.  He depends on it as a Planning Commissioner so that he can go back to them on large issues and get a consensus from the community to come back to the Commission.  There are a lot of things that are going on and a lot has changed in five years.  The communityís survey that Tim is working on now is going to be very important because of the new residents.  Not only are they revising an old plan, but they are going to be revising it with a lot of new ideas from new people. It is important to keep on track for the Crozet Master Plan to make sure that they have a plan that can be a standard for the way that the remaining master plans should be done.  He still has some concern about infrastructure and growth and how these are going to be addressed.   He did not think that these issues are unique to Crozet.  That is going to be a big piece of the upcoming master-plan revision.  He would hope that they would be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if they have a time table for this particularly when it would end so they would know when they could start master planning these other neighborhoods.

 

Ms. Catlin replied that they did not at this time.  They were waiting for the decision of the Board. Staff would like to go ahead and start this one at the beginning of fiscal 2009.  That means that there is a lot of work that could be done this spring such as survey work, background work and existing conditions.  A lot of that can be done.  The heavy lifting would not begin until the beginning of fiscal year 2009, which is July. 

 

Ms. Joseph echoed Mr. Edgertonís concern about neglecting the other areas, but she did not have a solution.

 

Mr. Strucko said he could endorse the plan as proposed.  He thought it was the right way to go.  He agreed with Mr. Loach and his comments on prioritization.  He had nothing to add.

 

Ms. Porterfield said that as someone in the middle of the master planning process, she could agree with Mr. Loach.  She liked what Mr. Loach said regarding a gold standard because it would be bad to make the same mistake twice if they donít have to.

 

Mr. Morris fully endorsed staffís blueprint.

 

Ms. Catlin reiterated what she heard was that staff should proceed on this understanding and will be back to the Commission when they can put more of a timeline and schedule together.

 

Mr. Morris agreed that the Commission had a consensus on this.

 

Mr. Edgerton added that if because of the lack of staff resources they are never able to catch up with their ultimate community-wide responsibility, then they need to express that concern. 

 

Mr. Morris agreed with Mr. Edgerton that the entire community needs to be involved.

 

In summary, it was the consensus of the Planning Commission that staff should proceed with the understanding that this will be back to the Commission when staff can put more of a timeline and schedule together after confirmation from the Board of Supervisors. No formal action was taken.

 

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