There was an interesting news piece on the PBS News Hour last night that dealt with the need for housing in Great Britain. When I first looked at the news piece, I could see a definite parallel to the housing situation here in Albemarle County, but with a difference. If you take the time to look and listen closely, you’ll see their answer to the housing problem is not to continue to build suburban sprawl, but to develop new towns, in short developing the British version of Crozet. The planning for these towns comes complete with all the services including schools, business district and associated housing types. For those old timers here in Crozet you’ll hear much of the same bullshit, I mean development planning, that came with the first Master Plan, only to be forgotten even before the ink was dry. If any of you have access to Amazon Prime, there is a show called “Escape to the country”, which is actually about people who want to move to the country in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. To me the interesting part of the show was not so much the houses for sale, but the wide variety of small towns shown. If you get a chance what you’ll see is beautiful rolling countryside, very much like here in Albemarle County and you won’t be disappointed when those who oppose this new concept of development are called NIMBY’s, even across the pond. Here’s a link to the article on the PBS News Hour site: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/british-housing-crisis-creates-new-conflicts-as-developers-seek-to-build-homes
As many of you may know there is a growth option in the county’s AC44 plan to develop rural “cross road communities”. From the looks of it, this development would allow development for the purpose of supplying goods and services to the surrounding area. Examples of such uses are country stores, offices, day care facilities, doctor/dentist offices, and public institutional uses, such as post offices. It sounds good at first and it’s not that this proposal has not come up before, but the big problem has always been how big to build and how to supply sewer and water? Sure, there are wells and septic systems and even small scale treatment plants, but what happens when something goes wrong or they fail? Does this situation then become an invitation to extend sewer and water and if so does this begin a cycle of “if you build it they will come”?