Albemarle County Planning Commission

February 10, 2009

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a public hearing, meeting and work session on Tuesday, February 10, 2009, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Members attending were Marcia Joseph, Calvin Morris, Bill Edgerton, Linda Porterfield, Thomas Loach, Vice Chair and Eric Strucko, Chairman.  Bill Edgerton was absent.  Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was present. 

 

Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Judith Wiegand, Senior Planner; Ron Lilley, Project Manager Department of Office of Facilities Development; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; Bill Letteri, Director of Office of Facilities Development and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Mr. Strucko called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.

 

Other Matters Not Listed on the Agenda from the Public:

 

Mr. Strucko invited comment from the public on other matters not listed on the agenda. There being none, the meeting moved to the next item.

 

Review of Board of Supervisors Meeting – February 3, 2009

 

Mr. Cilimberg reviewed the actions taken by the Board of Supervisors on February 3, 2009. 

 

            Work Sessions:

 

Crozet Library Design Concepts

Planning Commission held a work session to gather input on work to date on the Crozet Library Design. (Bill Letteri)

 

Bill Letteri, Director of Office of Facilities Development, was present on behalf of the Crozet Library Steering Committee, which had been formed to oversee the schematic design process for the Library.  He presented a PowerPoint Presentation.  (Attachment A – Crozet Library Design Concepts Executive Summary and Attachment B – Planning Commission Meeting Progress Work Session February 10, 2009 PowerPoint Presentation)

 

·        They are all enthusiastic and excited about the work that has occurred to date and the way in which the project is coming forward.  He was excited about sharing that with the Commission this evening.  He recognized Ron Lilley as project manager for the project.  He introduced the design team Melanie Hennigan and her associate Todd Willoughby both representing the firm Grimm + Parker.  They are most fortunate to have a team with their caliber and experience in library projects in particular.  They are from Maryland and have had experience in doing very notable projects all along the east coast.  He acknowledged the members of the Steering Committee present tonight, including John Halliday, Director of the Thomas Jefferson Regional Library system and Wendy Saz, Manager of Crozet Library are also present.  There are many people present tonight that are part of this process.  It has been a tremendous process. 

·        This presentation is to highlight the principle goals of the project; describe the composition of the Steering Committee and what its functions are; and lastly, he would bring them up-to-date on where they are in the process.  This is a work session to obtain feedback since they are in the process of developing their final schematic. They are very appreciative of the opportunity to present this as a way of checking in and getting the Commission’s comments, thoughts and further guidance.  

·        The design team will talk a little bit about the development of their guiding principles.  As a team they identified what were the core issues and important objectives in developing this library.  They came to a consensus about what they were and frequently referred to them as they debated the various issues.  There were a number of site considerations and studies about how the building would be configured on the two pieces of property that they now own in Crozet.  Their designers will walk them through some of the options, constraints and opportunities that they saw as related to those sites.  They will then talk about the various building scenarios that were developed.  There were a number of different objectives about how this building would best sit on this site, how it best interfaces with the Crozet community and the street and how it best works as an operational facility. 

·        They believe they have a project that is very well balanced.  It serves a purpose of creating a wonderful public building for downtown Crozet, but also a world-class library.  They will talk about the evolution of how they have arrived to where they are today.  Then at the end they would talk about what the next steps are.  There will be a process of having continued public presentations on the project.  They will be back to the Planning Commission and later to the Board with a recommendation.

·        The Crozet Master Planning process identified a library in downtown Crozet as one of the key priorities for the community in downtown.  It was an important and needed asset for the downtown community.  There was strong feedback that this kind of facility would create a focal point for downtown and perhaps serve as a catalyst for activity and become a place of destination where people would come and want to be.  Hopefully that will create opportunities for further economic expansion downtown and for new businesses to occur. Of course, this is first and foremost a library.  They are trying to create a facility that will adequately serve the whole western Albemarle community as well as the town of Crozet.  This has been one of their core design objectives and guiding principles and that in the end they really need to have a world class functioning library for the community.

·        The Board of Supervisors recognized that there were a great number of stakeholders in this process with perhaps differing interests and perspectives.  They felt that it was critical that all of those perspectives be heard, so they created a venue for doing that through the committee.  The Committee could hear the different perspectives and weigh them for everyone to hear in the same room and consider them in the context of the overall goals.  The function of the committee was to facilitate the public engagement process and to analyze and consider the various design schemes that were recommended by the architects and in the end to develop a preferred option that would then be presented to the Planning Commission and Board.  The Committee would conclude its work at the end of schematic design, which it is believed is not too far off.

·        He presented a PowerPoint presentation and explained the various members on the committee and the process. Board members Sally Thomas and Anne Mallek both served on the committee as a link to the Board through the process.  Tom Loach served on the committee to represent the Planning Commission. There were fourteen members on the committee that helped them through the process. 

·        In the summer they had developed the guiding principles.  They have reviewed a number of concept plans, which have been shared through Planning and Zoning for feedback.  There is a letter in the packet from Wayne Cilimberg that describes the Community Development perspectives.  They have shared the designs and options with the public on at least two occasions.  They have checked in with the Architectural Review Board as well to give them a sense of where they are going.  In all cases they received very positive feedback. 

·        There were opportunities and constraints as relate to the site. The two most significant ones had to do with having the street presence.  They had a balancing act in trying to create a library that very well connects to the streetscape, downtown and Crozet Avenue, but also functions well for the library by allowing patrons to park their cars in the parking lot and enter the library in that fashion.  They also wanted to maximize parking.  Their current configuration now provides three times the number of spaces required by zoning. 

·        Operational constraints that needed to be balanced also included things like staffing.  There are a number of models that they could have come forward with as it relates to a good library building, but some of them would involve significantly more staffing then others.  They had to be mindful of that as well as visual surveillance, adequate delivery and access for trucks and a drop off function for library users.     

 

Ms. Melanie Hennigan, architect, continued the PowerPoint presentation and explained the process.  She started with the aerial photo of Crozet and gave an overview of the design process for the Crozet Library.  (See PowerPoint Presentation)

·        The constraints on the site had to do with accessibility and the slope of the topography.  The site is actually quite steep.  From along Crozet up to the eastern end the site falls probably more than 30’.  Under the building itself the site is going to fall about 10’ to 15’ depending on where they stop and start the building.  She explained the proposed building plan schemes they looked at in August and why some schemes were selected for further development. There were staffing issues associated with the schemes involving two levels due to book deliveries and the need to construct two elevators. 

·        The library has expressed a desire to put as much of the library on one level as possible from day one.  To do their due-diligence as designers, they also looked at two-floor schemes, including the idea of designing 10,000 square feet over 10,000 square feet because that could be a very economical way to approach the construction of the building.  While one could argue that it would be a cost effective way to construct the building, it created a very challenging solution for operating and organizing the library.  So again they would have needed workspaces on two levels that would have doubled the staff

·        At the time they got the survey back they could understand what the actual grades of the site were.  It is a very challenging site since the site has a tremendous amount of grade change going up the hill.  One of the things that they had to figure out is where people and cars enter the site if they have a two-story building.  Everyone is acknowledging that they need to come in from Crozet Avenue and also from the upper parking level.  They have to leave enough space in the section to make that lower level the appropriate height whether it has library spaces or community spaces.  It has to be the right height, which is between 15’ and 20’. 

·        When they met with Planning staff there were four possible entrances that they studied.  One would line up directly across from the proposed alley in the Master Plan.  If they were to enter the site there they would not be able to make a building that was the size that they would like it to be on that upper level.  If they do enter there they would not be entering at a high enough elevation to get an appropriate height at the lower level.  Another option would move the entrance eastward (up Main Street) to 64.  Good site design requires that they line up entrances across from each other so that drivers can make eye contact with each other.  If they were to enter at entrance one they would have to relocate the alley.  That was deemed undesirable with respect to the Master Plan. 

·        A third option was entering still further west (slightly east of option 1) but they would actually lose some parking spaces and not have as efficient a parking lot flow.  The fourth option would continue Main Street to almost the eastern end of the site and enter there, which allows the appropriate handicap accessible fall to the parking area, an accessible entrance into the library, and a high enough elevation for the second floor to have a usable height for the lower level.  So that entrance location was chosen for future development. 

·        She explained the concept plan they chose. In September they started organizing the library on one major level.  They did look at a split-level scheme.  But, the split-level scheme would enter on both levels with library space on both levels.  But it would require two major entrances for the library and would double the staffing.  That was the deal breaker.  They had to find a way to have the library engage Crozet Avenue and Main Street, engage the parking, and work for all directions. 

·        She explained the vision for the library which had the majority of its space on the upper level.  The Master Plan calls for at least a two-story building.   From Crozet Avenue with the lower level and the taller one-story above it will look like it is two to three stories tall.  She explained the proposed layout as displayed on the slides and study model.  She presented a photo simulation of how the library would look like from the street. The corner would be very glassy and would draw people in. The tower elements act like small pavilions that break up the mass of what would otherwise be a very large building.  They introduce vertical proportions that are far more residential in character and help reduce the scale of the building. 

 

Mr. Strucko invited questions from the Commission.

 

Mr. Morris asked for further review of the interior and where things are going to be since the outside looks good.

 

Ms. Hennigan presented slides of the interior area or the floor plan of the library on the upper level.  They want a gracious entrance on the site plan so that they can receive buses, vans, cars and bicycles.  There is also a delivery function that the library engages in as many times as twice a day when a van arrives to deliver and pick up books. 

 

Mr. Morris said that the space seems grossly inadequate for young adults and the children’s programs, which are extremely popular at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library.  He thought the amount of space needs to be beefed up tremendously.  In talking with librarians in the area they would say another 10,000 square feet would do very nicely.

 

Ms. Hennigan said that she could not comment. 

 

Mr. Morris said on the lower level they have another almost 12,000 square feet.  He did not know how that could be incorporated with the upper area.

 

Ms. Hennigan said that the upper level is 18,000 square feet.  The lower level is about one-third of the upper level.  So it is not 12,000 square feet.  It is about 6,000 or 7,000 square feet downstairs.  

 

Mr. Morris noted that from what he had seen there was a very active young adult population out in Crozet that will eat up what is proposed right away.  They have a growing population that will increase the number of children that again will eat up the space.  They are talking about a retirement community that is very active.  He thought that they were building a structure that is obsolete before the first person gets in it.

 

Ms. Strucko invited the librarians to come forward and address this issue.

 

John Halliday, Director of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library, said that they have been pleased with the way this process has moved along.  As Mr. Letteri said they have top-rate architects working on this.  Also Mr. Letteri has done a good job of bringing them to this point.  To address Mr. Morris’ concern about the size of the library he noted that the footprint is about 18,000 square feet.  It is about 3,000 square feet larger than Northside Library.  The square footage does meet State standards for the size of the public library based on the population that it would be serving through about 2026.  He thought that they have sufficient square footage.  But, they do agree with the comment about the young adult area and he would let Wendy Saz address that.

 

Wendy Saz, manager of Crozet Library, noted that Mr. Morris was really on the ball and in tune with the community.  These are issues that they struggled with.  Todd Willoughby at their last meeting said that he was going to work on the teen section, between the children’s and the adults’ sections. They are envisioning bistro seating for teen computer stations, which will take up a little less space.  She hoped to put in some shelving that would designate it as a teen area rather than just different carpeting.  Another thing they wanted was a group study room that could be used for a conference room for adults or a small group study room for teens who like to get together and work on projects or to socialize keeping it quiet.  So they located the group study room in the adult area and the teen area would be very close to that glassed-in group study room.  It will be used by teens and adults.  She assumed that persons would sign up for its use.  They compromised on that. 

 

Ms. Saz continued that their dream for the children’s programming was to have a whole separate story time room for children.  While they could not fit that into the plan and have room for their stacks, regular meeting rooms, and work space, they located the general meeting room close to the lobby with two entrances.  For storytime purposes parents can enter from the children’s area or from an entrance closer to the lobby area.  There is going to be a wall that can be pulled out so the room can be separated into two rooms.  Actually they will have two spaces that can be used for children programs.  There will be a kitchen off of the area in case there is a children’s program that uses art so there will be a sink.  Adult programs will be able to utilize the kitchen for snacks.  It would be nice to have a children’s computer area separated from the teen and adult computer area.  They worked with the architects to get as much visibility as they can from their single service desk.  The stacks have been angled so that they can have visibility to all areas. There is a beautiful reading lounge that will have a fire place. 

 

Mr. Morris asked in the design stage how tall the stacks will be.  He was thinking about noise compression and so forth. 

 

Ms. Saz replied that it would be 42” for adults and 42” and 66” for the children.

 

Ms. Porterfield noted that as a follow-up to the size that it was stated that it is going to be okay until 2026. She asked if this was one of the projects that are going to be delayed due to the current economics.  She asked how long it is going to be delayed.

 

Mr. Letteri replied that it was about a two year delay.  It would commence July 1, 2011.

 

Ms. Porterfield assumed that it would take a couple of years to build it moving it to 2013.  She asked if now they were only to have 12 years and it is going to be too small.

 

Mr. Halliday replied that part of the plan is to have this expandable to 20,000 square feet so potentially the downstairs area could be used in the future.  Perhaps the meeting room upstairs could be moved downstairs in 2026.  There will be room downstairs for expansion, but he was not quite sure how that would be handled.  There is a hope to have more space downstairs than just the 2,000 square feet.  That all depends on what is downstairs and how much space will be there.  But, there is space for some expansion in this plan.

 

Ms. Porterfield asked if the current economic situation and the decisions of the Board of Supervisors could be taken into account with this particular design or can it be worked on a little bit to give it some more life at the end of 2026 in just knowing that it is not going to happen tomorrow. 

 

Mr. Strucko asked if the constraint was the terrain or budget.

 

Mr. Halliday replied that it was really the site.  To have parking and the library on the site he felt that they have the best plan that they can come up with.  The only way he knew to get more square footage with this plan would be to have more square footage downstairs. 

 

Ms. Hennigan said if the library floor (2nd floor) expanded, parking would be lost.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if there was a minimum parking requirement.

 

Mr. Letteri said that the plan provides for approximately 60 spaces, or about three times the required amount required by zoning.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if the intent is to use the parking for something other than the library or maybe a downtown overflow parking area.

 

Mr. Halliday replied that the parking will be shared.  They feel that most of the 60 spaces will be used for library purposes especially if there is a meeting going on.  From the library standpoint they would not want to see the parking given up for square footage.  However, maybe cars will be a lot smaller in 2026 and they won’t need as much.  At this point they feel that this is the best plan they could come up with this particular site. 

 

Ms. Monteith said that when they looked at the section that showed the building from Crozet Avenue back to the parking lot it looked like the grades were pretty high.  She assumed that the dashed line is the grade.

 

Ms. Hennigan said that is actually the Main Street grade.

 

Ms. Monteith asked if she was saying that in the future they would propose to have building expansion by going behind the meeting room area in the first floor and excavate.  She felt that is pretty unconventional.

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that they would not come back later and dig a bigger basement. What Mr. Halliday was saying is that the greatest opportunity for expansion right now with 60 parking spaces and with an 18,000 square foot upper level footprint is at the lower level.

 

Ms. Monteith said that basically it was a core and shell for a portion of the front level.

 

Ms. Hennigan said that if the question was if they had done 25,000 on the upper level and still does 6,000 or 7,000 square feet below or a partial basement that they could do a larger upper level, but it would reduce the parking.  It would be the idea of a bigger building, but fewer parking spaces.

 

Mr. Loach agreed with the other Commissioners that he could see the need to expand that lower level area.  The Steering Committee has talked about it. He sees the Planning Commission reinforcing what the committee has said - that it should be expanded.  He thought that the original intent of the library was 20,000 square feet.  To expand it would fall within the original parameters.

 

Ms. Hennigan said that it was actually in reverse.  The original library was 15,000 square feet and then it got expanded to 20,000 square feet when they signed their contract.

 

Mr. Halliday said that they would like to have the largest library they can afford.  He thought that the plan was to have an alternative in the bid to have a larger downstairs.  They would like to see as much downstairs space as possible.  Again, that is future library expansion space.

 

Mr. Loach noted that they will only get one shot at this.

 

Mr. Letteri said that the overriding objective of the Board was to construct a library based upon the studies that were done and the population growth which would provide adequate space for the foreseeable future and expansion space for the future.  That was what really governed the budget and how they came about it.  There were offers from the Crozet Library Fund Raising Community to raise additional funds so that they can expand the shell size that would allow for this expansion space.  One of the things that the committee is really looking at right now is that, given that this configuration for the one floor that wants to be 18,000 square feet is to make for a functional operational library, there is an opportunity in that lower level to excavate further into the building, create shell space at a lower cost that could be later expanded and used by the library exceeding even some of the original estimates for what the library might need in the long term.

 

Mr., Strucko asked how many people this proposed library would serve.

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that it was 0.7 square foot per person. She noted that there are options for the lower level for 2,500, 4,700 and 7,700 square feet.  The current picture shows the middle number, or the 4,700 square feet.  If they build a 20,000 square foot total, with 18,300 upstairs, the lower level would only go to where the dashed line is, which is too skinny and not enough useable space.  So they went out to the next structural bay, which is 4,700 square feet.  If they go to the next structural bay they could get a lower level that is 7,700 square feet.  They are all saying that it is worth on bid day asking the contractor to price out the lower level to several of these different structural bays just to see how much they can afford.

 

Mr. Loach asked if the 4,700 square feet is being proposed with the potential on bid day for 7,000 square feet and not the lower 2,500 square feet.

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that is the thing they are recommending.  She could not say that it is being proposed yet because it would take the base square footage of the building over the 20,000 square feet that has been approved.  It would be 18,000 plus 4,000 square feet, which is 22,000 square feet.  But, it is the direction they are recommending.

 

Mr. Strucko said that the functional library space is the upper floor, which is 18,000 square feet.

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that it was the 18,300 square feet.

 

Mr. Strucko noted that if the metric is correct 0.7 citizens per square foot is about 25,000 people.

 

Mr. Morris noted that a lot of the 18,000 square feet is staff area, which is needed.  But, it takes away from patron space.  It is not really 18,300 square feet for patrons, which is what the 0.7/person should provide.  It is a lot less than that.

 

Mr. Halliday noted that the 0.7 square foot per person, which is the State standard, does include the staff area.

 

Ms. Joseph asked why some of the space on the lower level was designated tenant space.  She asked if the space would be rented out to different commercial entities to have revenue, possibly to use for books.

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that is something the county has been studying.  It is not their domain.

 

Mr. Letteri noted that it was expansion space.  They are entertaining any number of possible uses.  Their objective is to make for an attractive and active space downstairs so that on opening day it can make for an active two-story library.  It may be meeting rooms.  It could be possible offices for various government type or non-profit type arrangements.  It might be a tenant arrangement.  They have not explored that fully yet.

 

Ms. Joseph noted that was a possibility.

 

Mr. Letteri agreed.  In whatever use is decided it would certainly want to be such that it could be quickly rendered library space if indeed they need that space and could afford to expand to it.

 

Ms. Joseph said that it also says that they are building Main Street back to the entrance to the parking area.  She asked what standards they are building Main Street to.  Is it going to be more like a driveway and access way or a full blown Main Street?

 

Mr. Letteri replied that it would be built to State specifications.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if it would be up to that point and then whoever comes behind us will finish up.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if the budget includes developing Main Street and stubbing it out to the entrance to the parking lot.

 

Mr. Letteri replied that it does.

 

Mr. Cilimberg commented that because of our understanding that operationally the library would prefer using one floor or the 18,000 square feet planning staff has been concerned that they would have a first floor on Crozet Avenue that would essentially just be space and nothing more and not a connected piece to the library on the main floor.  So that is one of the reasons why investigating potential uses of the space should include engaging Crozet Avenue.  It ought not to be a wall or an open and vacant space.

 

Ms. Joseph felt that was very important.  She had heard statement upon statement that they had to design it this way because they have a small staff.  They can’t have the downstairs because their staff is too small.  In essence the building itself is almost designed around the fact that they have a very lean staff.  She kept thinking how much more it would cost to utilize this bottom by hiring a number of staff people that they might need to actually use this building.

 

Mr. Halliday said that it does cost a lot, which was part of the Steering Committee’s discussion, especially with the split level arrangement that they all liked.  That was their top choice.  But, it would have driven up the operating cost over $100,000 a year.  That really adds up over the life of the building.  Maybe by the year 2026 the county will have a lot more money for the library staff and they can have two floors.

 

Ms. Joseph noted that they were doing LEED Certification.  She asked if they were doing anything with solar panels or anything else on the side of the building.

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that solar panels are a good idea, but was an expensive first cost.  They can leave space on the roof for them.  There are grants out there that the county and library could apply for.  They have other libraries like in Howard County, Maryland that have actually received the grants to get the solar panels.

 

Ms. Porterfield asked if they use the lower level as non-related business will they secure the library itself.

 

Ms. Hennigan referred to the plan that they could operate the library from in the first several years.  If the county has more money to staff the library, then they could afford to connect to the lower level. When they do connect to the lower level they are going to design a knock-out panel in the floor so that they can create a stair that connects down.  They are going to design a shaft that will exist from day one.  But they are not going to necessarily pay for or buy the elevator on day one. An elevator is going to be $60,000 to $70,000.  The idea is that right now in the short term the lower level would operate fairly distinct and separate from the library.  It is not like there is no connection.  There is a connection with a fire stair, which the staff could easily use in order to use the lower level.  If the county envisions a use for downstairs that user group could connect to the library through the fire stair.  If there is money in the budget they could easily put the elevator in the contract as an alternative to be added.  She felt if they could afford it on day one that would be terrific.  There are a lot of things that are competing for the same dollars.

 

Mr. Strucko asked if there were additional questions for the presenters.

 

Ms. Monteith said she was trying to understand what would be the primary entrance in the first phase of the library.

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that the primary entrance would be accessed from a sidewalk connection to Main Street for pedestrians, going to the doorway in the middle of the east side of the building.  The parking lot would use the same doorway. The entrance to the lower level is another entity which the library can’t control right now, but is envisioned at the Crozet Avenue site of the building.

 

Ms. Monteith asked if she was saying if you entered from Crozet Avenue as a pedestrian that you would not be able to get to the second floor.

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that right now that is the idea.  What they are seeing is a future stair and a future elevator.

 

Ms. Monteith expressed concern about that since it does not seem very pedestrian friendly.  To make the primary entrance serviceable mainly to cars just seems like it is not going to serve the building very well. 

 

Mr. Halliday said that was a major topic of discussion by the Steering Committee.  There were a number of reasons why they decided on this configuration.  One was that actually they think that in this plan Main Street is the main entrance.  The future plans for Crozet plan to have Main Street as the main street.  It is not a very far walk from the corner of Crozet Avenue and Main Street to the stairway that leads to the main entrance.  From that standpoint they think that it is pedestrian friendly. Probably the main reason for not having the connection between the Crozet entrance and the library is because the Committee looked at studies that were done nationwide on library buildings, listened to expert opinions on how libraries should be designed and found that really the general rule for libraries is that there should be one entrance.  If you think of libraries you have been in probably 99 percent of them did have just one entrance.  There are a number of reasons for that.  One is for security.

 

Ms. Monteith noted that she knew that well because she had been involved with the design of many libraries.  Her concern was that they were saying that Main Street is the main entrance of the building, but they don’t have a main entrance of the building on Main Street.  Secondly, she felt that it was a missed opportunity to put the primary entrance for the building against the parking lot.

 

Ms. Hennigan said that there was a canopy that comes out along the library. There will be an entry canopy right there with the words “LIBRARY” on it.  They believe that will be a main entrance off of Main Street. 

 

Ms. Joseph asked if they had an elevation of the east side of this where the actual entrance is off the parking area.   

 

Ms. Hennigan replied that they have not developed that elevation yet – only thru street elevations.

 

Mr. Strucko reiterated that the Commission collectively has a concern about where this entrance is.   He invited public comment.

 

Bill Schrader said that he serves on the Crozet Community Advisory Council and the Library Steering Committee.  He has been involved with the library since they did the site selection and the architect selection. He had sat through a lot of meetings and listened to a lot of discussion about the library.  He would like to reinforce the idea that the concept seen tonight presents the best opportunity to give us a world-class library in Crozet considering the elevations and topography that they had to work with.  The Steering Committee spent several meetings regarding what to do with the lower level and how they invite people into the library with an entrance off the parking lot versus an entrance off Crozet Avenue.  Even though Crozet Avenue is the main street as opposed to the new Main Street there will be no parking in front of that building.  There will be no turn offs.  It is just a two lane road with a new streetscape.  There will be no temporary parking area.  People will either be walking from the post office, restaurants or other shopping areas to get to the library coming up Crozet Avenue and turning onto Main Street or they will be parking in the parking lot.  His feeling is that most people will be parking in the parking lot as they do their work and shopping around town.   In their minds that will be the main entrance to the library.  He would hope that the Commission would support the concept they have seen tonight so that they can deliver this library without delay, hopefully even getting some (Federal) stimulus money in order to get it sooner than 2013 and to meet their concerns.

 

There being no further public comment, Mr. Strucko closed the public comment and asked the Planning Commission to provide feedback and comment.  He asked how they should proceed.

 

Mr. Letteri said that they will proceed by considering the general feedback.  They welcome other comments.  Staff will bring the comments back to Steering Committee for further discussion and evaluation and try to incorporate them to the degree that they can into their preferred option. They would also be sharing the information with the community in Crozet in an Open House on February 19 at which time they will have an opportunity to received public comments.  This will also be shared with the Board of Supervisors on March 4 to gain their insight and feedback. Then perhaps in March or April they will be back with the final recommended plan to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. 

 

Mr. Strucko noted that Mr. Morris’ concern was the adequacy of space particularly in serving a community that could potentially expand to the full build-out capacity of Crozet.  Also, there was some concern about the entrance or pedestrian access from the rear parking lot versus more from Main Street.  He asked if there were other concerns expressed.

 

Ms. Joseph added the following comments on the proposed library design:

 

·        Bike racks should be located somewhere on the site.

·        Acknowledging the problem with money and the site constraints, it was a disappointment not to see the main entrance off of Crozet Avenue.  One of the elevations along Crozet Avenue makes it look like the entrance where the pedestrian would want to walk in to see the library, particularly with the glass.  It was a disappointment and not very pedestrian-friendly to have to go around to the back door to get into the library entrance. 

·        She agreed with Mr. Cilimberg’s written comments, which speak to activity on the street.  For a fully functional two-story building design at a minimum, the building should provide two functioning, accessible floors as viewed from Crozet Avenue with visible, accessible and usable space on the Crozet Avenue level. 

 

The Planning Commission provided input on the design concepts to date, as summarized below:

·        There was a concern about the adequacy of the space being proposed, especially considering the potential full build-out capacity of Crozet. 

·        Acknowledging the problem with funding and the site constraints, the Commission was disappointed not to see the main library entrance off of Crozet Avenue.  It was noted that one of the elevations along Crozet Avenue makes it look like the entrance where the pedestrian would want to walk into the library, particularly with the glass.   It was not very pedestrian friendly to have to go around to the back of the building to a more vehicular-oriented entrance from a parking lot off of Main Street. 

·        Bike racks should be located somewhere on the site.

·        A fully functional two-story building design is preferable.  At a minimum, the building should provide two functioning, connecting and accessible floors as viewed from Crozet Avenue with visible, accessible and usable space on the Crozet Avenue level. 

 

·        Staff will take the Commission comments back to Library Design Steering Committee for their consideration in the continuing design work.

 

The Planning Commission took a break at 7:19 p.m.

 

 

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