about Crozet

A blog about what's happening in Crozet

In 1993 in response to the increase in development activity in Crozet representatives from the community formed a committee to work with the Albemarle County Planning Department to develop a format for future development in Crozet. At the end of the growth analysis and with the creation of a zoning designation map, a projected build out population of 5,993 was established. The development map essentially divided the Crozet growth area into two zoning major designations, one based on 2 units per acre and one based on 7 units per acre. The 7 unit designation was established in an effort to allow for the inclusion of affordable housing unit in Crozet. Unfortunately, the time and effort put into the report wasn’t worth the effort because the report was completely ignored. Fast forward to 2004 and the first Crozet Master Plan was approved after 2 years of effort on the part of the residents of Crozet and the Albemarle County Planning Department. In that new Master Plan it clearly states the projected population of Crozet would reach 11,200 -12,000 in a twenty year build-out. It seemed before the ink on the plan was dry, our Supervisor David Wyant, who ran on a plank stating the Crozet Master Plan allowed for too much growth voted to double the size of the Old Trail development above the recommended size found in the Master Plan. The Master Plan and all the work put into it was dead. So where does that leave us.

In the February 2020 issue of the Crozet Gazette in an article by Lisa Martin there was a table which made projections for the potential population of Crozet. In the population build out table it showed the “Estimated Population of Full Build-out on the low end would be 14,949 and the high end 16,1715. I have just received an update of projected population figures from the folks at Crozet United, who worked on the proposed Montclair development, which show a dramatically increased estimated population from those found in the Gazette. Here are the latest figures.

Crozet United Data:

 Adjusted 2020 population: 9610

Estimated 2023 population: 11,461

Already approved not built: 901

Proposed not yet approved: 582

Expected new developments:
Barnes Lumber site
Lot across from Pro Re Nata

Realistic population for Crozet 16,632


9 Responses

  1. Where is all of the infrastructure to support this? This crazy growth has got to stop. We need the infrastructure First!

  2. Two questions: Where are the 1543 unbuilt units in Old Trail going to be located? Hard to imagine that many units squeezed into remaining areas of both sides of Old Trail Dr. from Bishopgate to 250, and in the field across from the Village.
    Is the old ACME lot safe for building homes?

  3. With regard to Old Trail, it is already approved for 2,200 homes. I hear what you’re saying about the projected number and have some questions about the eventual total number of homes. I know several years ago the owners of Old Trail were looking to develop in the area up along, but set back from Rt 250. I assume it would look like another Bishopgate. As for ACME, it’s zone for light industry, but that can change

  4. Gene,

    I’m always interested in seeing the various projections and build-out analyses, and I had the same two initial thoughts you did when looking at the numbers:

    (1) That 1543 Old Trail number is probably far higher than what will actually be built. Specifically, it doesn’t seem to account for the fact that Old Trail’s developers have consistently reduced their build-out targets over the past 7-8 years, as noted in a Gazette piece from last summer:

    “Another concern with the analysis is that some of the currently “approved” units in the development pipeline, taken as fact by Kimley-Horn, are stale numbers. For instance, Old Trail’s initial approval of 2,200 units is still included in Crozet’s buildout estimate, even though Old Trail has said in recent years that it will likely only build out to 1,200 units.” (https://www.crozetgazette.com/2022/07/08/county-looks-at-20-year-buildout-vs-population-growth/)

    And a similar point from a few years before:

    “Old Trail will build fewer houses than it first got permission for after the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved a request by the developers to lower its minimum number of units at the board’s February 10 meeting. According to its 2004 rezoning conditions, Old Trail had been obliged to build at least 1,600 houses south of Lickinghole Creek but will now aim at a minimum of 1,000.” (https://www.crozetgazette.com/2016/03/04/old-trail-reduces-its-build-out-target/)

    I suppose it’s fair to use the larger number as a theoretical absolute maximum for projection purposes–since it’s approved for that. But just using that number, without the additional context, fails to capture the likelihood of that outcome.

    (2) I also agree that the Acme Records property probably shouldn’t be listed. First, the property hasn’t been remediated to the point where the Virginia DEQ would approve it for residential development–and almost certainly won’t be. Again, from the Gazette (https://www.crozetgazette.com/2019/07/05/crozets-former-acme-site-a-long-road-to-redemption/):

    Though the land will not be remediated to a level that would allow for residential development, a potential buyer could apply to the county for heavy industrial use. Tolson suggested that one of Crozet’s historic and iconic features—the railroad line running through it—could be well-utilized by an industrial enterprise. “They could use that railroad to ship out their product,” said Tolson. “That’s why it runs through there. There’s actually a siding that runs behind the Starr Hill building to a concrete pad behind Acme.”


    The DEQ’s Kelly said that the property could be sold and built on right now, if the owner was willing. “We don’t have any restrictions on it if they want to redevelop the site as long as it’s industrial or commercial use,” he said.

    Second, even if the property were, somehow, remediated to make it safe for residential development, the zoning and Master Plan wouldn’t allow for it. The current zoning, as Tom notes, is light industrial, and the Master Plan clearly designates that property and the surrounding area as Office/R&D/Flex/Light Industrial, and specifies it as an “Employment District.” So the chances of residential development seem far too small to include it on this list.

    1. The importance of Old Trail is the fact that in the initial master plan it was limited to 1,250 homes and ended up being approved for 2,200. What this vote meant for Crozet is the fact the county was now free to ignore any of the data in Master Plan including the 12,000 population limit, which it did. It should also be mentioned that beside the increase in the number of homes, it also doubled the size of allowable commercial space above that found in the original master plan. An article in the Crozet Gazette and its prediction for a buildout population of 14,849 to 16,715 was written in February 2020, long before the county came in and changed the master plan update to include the new middle density zoning, which allows for up to 18 homes per acre, which could have a significant effect on the 2020 Gazette data. The 2020 article also points out that there are several adjacent developments not in the growth area and not included in the Crozet population number such as Emerald Ridge, Fox Chase and Laurel Hills where many of the residents, if asked, feel they live in Crozet. As for Acme Visible we’ll just have to wait, but keep our eye on the prize.

  5. Interesting. We have been learning about and observing the local development politics since moving here in 2020. While we’re clearly a participant in auto traffic, spending power, and infrastructure pressure facing the area, I don’t believe our location (off Miller School) technically considers us part of Crozet.

  6. After much discussion and review Crozet United has adjusted their estimates or the buildout population for Crozet based on current data and with some estimate of growth for the downtown area. The new estimate is a population of 16,632, which is about 33 percent over the 12,000 buildout population in the first Crozet Master Plan. This new estimate is within the same range as that found in the Crozet Gazette article from Feb 2020. Still uncertain is the potential effect of the middle density zoning enforced in the newest master plan update.

  7. The couple of paragraphs outlining the history of population development at the beginning of this blog were sketchy at best. There was mention of affordable, i.e., low-income, housing in the first projection the community-at-large put together and then all mention of that disappeared. From what I’ve seen of the housing that has appeared, however, no “affordable” housing has been built, which somehow doesn’t surprise me. If ever there was a plan for a white, middle-class community, Crozet is it. As long as you don’t yearn for much diversity in your community, you’ll enjoy Crozet enormously.

    1. I’m not sure what your definition of “sketchy” is, but I believe it was clear in my blog that one of the elements of the original Crozet Community Plan, was the incorporation of affordable housing in Crozet using land use design, which is why the community worked with Professor Mark Schimmenti from UVa one of the early adapter’s of New Urbanism. Additionally, since 1993 the community has supported the inclusion of the 15 percent affordable housing proffer with each rezoning that occurred in Crozet. The fact the County failed in its obligation to insure these proffers were conformed to is not a failing of the community. There should have been 300 affordable units available in Crozet or one affordable home per every 7.8 acres within the growth area, fully supported by the Crozet community. I suggest if you’re going to cast aspersions on the Crozet community you at least present some actual data rather than mindless dribble.

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