about Crozet

A blog about what's happening in Crozet

Once again the clouds have parted and a voice came from above, not from the almighty, but from Frank Stoner giving an update on the building of Crozet Plaza. In a crowded room in the library, we once again viewed illustrations of what the future Crozet Plaza will look like. For a better look a the plans here’s a link to the Downtown Crozet Initiative, where you can see the illustrations and continue to get updates on the project. To tell the truth, not much has changed from 2015, when we saw the first renderings. That said, there seems to be progress in the permitting process, especially when it comes to VDOT approval, where there’s hope that within 30 days VDOT will give its blessing to the final road design. Aside from the Plaza, we also were informed the county will be improving “The Square”, with improvement in parking and drainage. So what’s planned for phase one? Of course there’s the Plaza, with all it amenities, including a large lawn and a water feature. Then there’s a hotel and another larger commercial building, which will contain a community performance arts center. Road construction is expected to start in 2024, with a completion date sometime toward the end of 2025. Projected cost for phase one is estimated to be in the range of 14 million dollars. Moving on to phase two, there will be the construction of additional commercial and about 4 acres going to residential development. The development group is currently working on developing architectural guidelines for that phase of construction. The good news, was the announcement that Warren Byrd, a noted landscape architect is part of the design team. Mr. Byrd has been an asset to planning in Crozet for years and his involvement can only mean that someone with Crozet ties will be a guiding force for future development. Another plus, as far as I can see, is the fact Mr. Stoner will be looking to work with local developers to work on the build out of phase two, rather than a single development group from who knows where. One more improvement also mentioned will be the removal of the old buildings on the Barnes Lumber site which will start to come down next year as the necessary utility infrastructure is installed. The only cloud on the horizon, and it’s a big thunder head, is the question of traffic. According to Mr. Stoner, the build out of the project will take from 10 to 15 years. On the other side of the coin is the fact when VDOT presented their road plan improvements for downtown Crozet to the Crozet Community Advisory Committee, the time frame for completion was 20 to 25 years. As they always say, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news, which do you want to hear first”.

2 Responses

  1. Does it really take 7+ years to clean up unused and unsafe buildings on the Barnes Lumber property? As you know, Tom, I have lived here with my family since the fall of 2014. If the Crozet Square was going to be developed by Frank’s ‘silent’ money backer, they would have done it many years ago. No prime property owner with any good reputation that truly cares about the community, lets it’s property fall into such horrible disrepair and leaves unsafe structures. I remember an employee of Perrone Robotics telling me about 2 years ago about how an entire side of the cider block building they occupied fell down one day.. And Mr. Stoner’s silent partner rented that unsafe structure to that technology company. Perrone Robotics moved for a number of reasons, some safety and building conditions and some longer term plans.. I don’t blame them for moving.

    I have said from the beginning in 2015, if my company or any other reputable company has purchased any of those track of lands at auction, the first thing that would have been done, is completely clean them up and maintain them BEFORE any development or use. I also remember driving back to one of the buildings back in 2017 and saw needles from drug use around one of the buildings. And if I remember a few years ago, graffiti was sprayed on the second floor of one of the run down partial building structures. If I remember correctly, the fire department volunteered to clean up the graffiti for the property owner (Frank Stoner’s silent money partner). That is sad to me.. The property owner saw the graffiti there for God knows how long (3-6 months or more) and did nothing to remove it, until showing up one day for a photo op to bring a ladder (at least that what is the Gazette stated in the picture). Do I want to see the Crozet Plaza developed into something we can be proud of? Of course I do, as you know.. from my plans we previously have discussed. Personally, I think this VDOT approval could have been handled many years ago. As I have said before. My opinion of Frank Stoner.. is he is a Tom Sawyer type. “Come pay for my owner’s development plans”. The CCAC is just an extension of the County. I completely agree there. Frank Stoner is also an extension of the CCAC. or this “Crozet Initiative” group. How many drawing versions does it take to cut down the trees growing up on top of all the old concrete slabs?

    I remember the first time I met Frank Stoner at his offices in Cville back in 2015. The first thing he told me is his …..””developer” might never do anything with this property and just sell it in 5 years” . From my perspective, and most developers I know personally.. We will be fortunate if they cut the trees down (coming from around the concrete building slabs in 12 months. The whole development will take 10-15 years to build out?? That is not normal for such a relatively small plot of land in town.

    I was very happy to see your write up in the March issue of the Crozet Gazette. I will certainly dig into the content on your blog website and will contribute to useful constructive discussion around other topics.. This topic of the Square feels more and more like a dead horse.. I really feel bad for the businesses in the square that have waited years for an improved parking lot. I will believe that “project”, when I see the county actually block it off and rebuild and line those parking lot areas.

  2. I’m sorry. What’s so exciting about a plan that is a hotel and parking lot? Crozet like to claim to be a walkable city, but at the same time, it invests very little into walking/ biking infrastructure and so much in being a car centric area.

    This area has clearly been designed for tourists and not for residents. I prefer the run down lot because at least the local birds get to enjoy it.

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