Crozetians, Incorporate

After seeing yet another story about how Crozet residents don’t want to be the county’s growth dumping ground, I have to ask: Why doesn’t Crozet take their destiny into their own hands and incorporate as a town? It would require an act of the General Assembly, but I suspect that Sen. Emmett Hanger or Del. Steve Landes would be willing to introduce that bill. It would be interesting to hear what the two candidates for the White Hall district — incumbent Republican David Wyant and Democratic challenger Ann Huckle Mallek — each think about Crozet taking their destiny into their own hands.

25 Responses to “Crozetians, Incorporate”


  • The same idea was run up the flagpole in the Village of Rivanna. Didn’t fly. TOO BAD! For some reason people find the concept of incorporating frightening. Actually it’s a lot of hard work and many people are afraid of that. There’s a nice draft of a town charter lying around if someone wants to replace “Village of Rivanna” with “Town of Crozet.”

    Waldo is right, the Growth Areas are slated as sacrificial dumping grounds — with high density, increasing crime rates and inadequate infrastructure, services and amenities. Think Blade Runner. It’s been really easy for the Planning Commissars (NO ONE lives in a Growth Area) and the Board of “Dupervisors” (only SLUTZKY lives in one)to approve development they don’t have to live with and see everyday or in most cases won’t have to pay for. Land Use Taxation is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

    GADS — Growth Areas Demanding Services — was formed almost two years ago to call for the County to provide and developers and Rural Area residents to pay for infrastructure, services and amenities necessitated by growth and to be a pain in the rear for the “Dupervisors” and Planning Commissars — the latter objective being more fun. Tried the consultative approach first, but we all know how well that works with these local politicians and bureaucrats. Segued into attacking the “Albemarle Sensibility” which has allowed the “Dupervisors” to act the way they do — ignoring the will of the people. That “disagree, but don’t be disagreeable” BS is designed to keep opposition and open confrontation to a minimum. Playing the game by their rules won’t change a thing. Voting them out will.

    If you’d like to get on GADS’ email list and join 600 other concerned citizens, email gadflize@yahoo.com.

  • Waldo, you have to remember that the Crozet Master Plan was supposed to plan for the future of Crozet, but thanks to the board, including the three members up for reelection they decided to kill the plan. Last week at the Crozet Community Association Kenneth Schwartz, Professor at UVA and the Architect for the Crozet Master Plan admitted his plan was designed around a population of 12,000. Finally, the truth and right from the horses mouth. But now that we know the truth, we have more questions than answers.
    For instance, why, if there was a question of whether the Master Plan population was 12,000 or 24,000 didn’t the board simply ask Mr. Schwartz for clarification?
    Why didn’t Mr. Schwartz, knowing there was a question of the population the plan was built around come forward and tell the truth? Did he have a professional responsibility toward his clients who were the citizens of Crozet?
    Why didn’t Mr. Wyant, who represents Crozet do the required due diligence before voting for Old Trail, which was twice the size of the development in the Master Plan? Remember, Mr. Wyant ran on a platform that stated the Master Plan was too big would lead to sprawl and on and on vote to double the size of the plan?
    How did the board get away with defrauding an entire community?

    It is truly sad that in a county that so frequently quotes Mr. Jefferson about the virtues of honor and truth, we have a board who feels more comfortable quoting Joseph Goebbels who said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

  • Crozet is simply on a trajectory that makes becoming a town the next logical step. I don’t think it’s a clever trick (which, honestly, I think that the notion of a “Village of Rivanna” would be) — it just plain makes sense. Crozet should have been a town a century ago. It’s long been substantially self-sufficient, its population is distinct from Charlottesville’s, it’s compact with (relatively) easily defined borders, and its citizens’ beliefs appear to differ significant from the county’s governing bodies. It’s ripe for township.

  • Interesting idea. Don’t towns impose property taxes over and above what its residents alreadly pay to the county? So in exchange for a greater say in running their own affairs, home and business owners in Crozet would be required to pay their Albemarle County taxes at the full rate and then their new town taxes at what one guesses is a lower rate than that charged by the county. Please correct me if I’ve got it wrong, but that doesn’t sound like such a great deal to me.

  • Falstaff, given your thinking, can you envision any circumstances under which a town should ever be formed?

  • I’m sure there are circumstances under which incorporating as a town may be the thing to do. I don’t think they exist in Crozet though. The benefits of greater autonomy are outweighed by the tax burden on residents and what would undoubtedly be the town’s ever-growing thirst for revenue. Before long you’d have the Crozet Town Police force issuing speeding tickets to folks for doin’ 41 in a 35 since the town gets a cut of the fines. Who needs it?

  • A simple Google turned up the Amherst town charter:

    http://www.amherstva.gov/menu/departments/forms/Microsoft Word – 2005 Code – Charter.pdf

    and also their tax rates:

    http://www.amherstva.gov/menu/departments/tax & utility rates/index.asp

    It looks like towns levy taxes, fees, etc instead of (rather than in addition to) the county.

    I didn’t look closely enough to figure out what they do about schools, which could be a very expensive little item…

  • The benefits of greater autonomy are outweighed by the tax burden on residents

    What would be that tax burden? I don’t have the faintest idea of what it costs to run a town.

    the town’s ever-growing thirst for revenue. Before long you’d have the Crozet Town Police force issuing speeding tickets to folks for doin’ 41 in a 35 since the town gets a cut of the fines.

    If this is an inherent problem, why doesn’t Scottsville experience these difficulties?

    I didn’t look closely enough to figure out what they do about schools, which could be a very expensive little item…

    Virginia towns are under no obligation to provide their own education system. Crozetians would go to the same schools that they go to right now.

  • Hey Falstaff,

    Towns don’t really have to do much. They do have to have Board of Supervisors, a Planning Commission, a Zoning Ordinance and a Comprehensive Plan. Yes, they would still pay County property taxes, but they could issue their own vehicle stickers in lieu of the County’s. Residents wouldn’t have to have a County sticker at all. Towns can charge for business licenses, cable franchise fees, scavengers, etc. There are some revenue options and towns can go after all sorts of grants. All you basically need is a town clerk and a CPA and lawyer on retainer. If the County won’t provide police protection, the Sheriff’s Office will. Kids would still go to County schools.

    Even if it costs a few extra dollars each year, do your want the Board of “Dupervisors” shoving something done your throat and telling you lies, or do you want to control your own destiny?

    As for Waldo’s comment about the “Village of Rivanna.” The primary purpose was to thwart the developers of Rivanna Village at Glenmore — you know that mixed use development that was shoved down their throats while their “Dupervisor” and Planning Commissar sat MUTE! You know the commercial development that was NEVER supposed to take place there. The one the real estate agents didn’t bother to disclose to prospective buyers in Glenmore. The County is hell-bent on creating an artifical community out there despite vociferous (Rooker’s characterization)complaints of the people who are going to have to live with it everyday.

  • I live in the Town of Scottsville (in the Town limits).

    Real Estate taxes get paid to the County of Albemarle (or Fluvanna if you live in that part of the Town). In Scottsville the “City Sticker” or locality decal which you’d normally pay for in Albemarle with your personal property tax, is purchased from the Town and that fee (25 dollars) is rebated from your personal property tax bill- lowering the amount you pay directly to the county. We pay for weekly garbage pick up at 18 dollars a month (billed to property owners). There is a small police department and a Volunteer Fire and Rescue. I think the Police Department is funded by the Town (as are a few other town government positions). Students go to schools funded by the county. And while I’m not certain, I think most of the revenue used to operate the town comes from the County of Albemarle.

    In all it’s a great arrangement because it puts a buffer inbetween the Town residents and the County Board of Supervisors. That buffer of course being the Town Council who are all elected residents that live within the town limits. Which keeps the BoS from running roughshod over the area like they’re doing in Crozet.

    The downside- it doesn’t always stop elected leaders from making bad decisions. They’re still planning to allow a Foodlion to be built, which will probably put the locally owned and operated IGA out of business.

    And if I’m wrong about any of the info I’ve given I’m sure someone will correct me.

  • Incorporating Crozet would create a new bureaucracy. Pretty soon you’d have a mayor, a treasurer, a town council, a police force, administration, and God knows what else. Anyone who doesn’t think this would demand revenue in the form of “town taxes” is nuts.

    The nature of a bureaucracy is always to grow, never to contract. Let’s go ahead and put it on the ballot. I’m pretty sure the folks in Crozet would make the right decision.

  • So it’s fair to say that your opposition isn’t related to Crozet or its current situation but that, rather, you’re fundamentally opposed to all new municipal entities?

  • Becoming a town is a tough one. In Crozet there are now as many new residents as old. Most of the new have bought homes that us old residents could never afford. There is certainly enough disposable income in Crozet now to support a town and there’s no question that a new local government could ever screw up things more then the current BOS has. That said, many of the older residents are already suffering under the double digit tax raises the current board has piled on them and another layer of taxation would push some over the edge.

    The sad part of this, at least for Crozet, is it didn’t have to be. The community put its faith in Mr. Schwartz, the County Staff, Planning Commission and Board and all of them decided to screw the town. I just wonder what makes the people on 29 North and Pantops think they will fair any better then Crozet. What we need is a change in the Board in November and hopefully new members will be more response to growth area residents. More importantly growth area citizens had better get their head out of the sand and notices the current board views their neighborhoods as nothing more then human landfills and their mindset is pile them higher and deeper. Vote Change!

  • Like I said earlier, I’m sure there are situations where incorporating a town makes sense. IMO. Crozet in 2007 is not one of them.

  • Township creation may be seen in a different light once the population grows closer to 12,000 in Crozet. The view will certainly change when it approaches 24,000.

  • I think the idea is a very good idea … Waldo has had this itch for a while, and I did not know what to think about it then. But the time might be right.

    Fundamentaly an area with a certain level of density has completly differnt needs and interest in areas more rural. As I understand it that is why the state of Virginia has historical given towns and cities differnt taxing authorties and what not, mainly because a “town” is a place of commerace

    I think the idea is a very good idea … Waldo has had this itch for a while, and I did not know what to think about it then. But the time might be right.

    Fundamentally an area with a certain level of density has completely different needs and interest in areas more rural. As I understand it that is why the state of Virginia has historical given towns and cities different taxing authorities and what not, mainly because a “town” is a place of commerce

    Now Falstaf may have a point about “Crozet in 2007”,and as Cville Eye points out but Crozet in 2010 is a different matter.

    But I think one could make an argument that it is now, now the iron is hot, now it is time for Crozet to take charge of its destiny, because now you have a BOS that is imposing its well on an entity that already on some level sees itself as autonomous.

    I do not know how strong that argument is, but it is where I am leaning . . .

    And as far as all Old Trail and Biscuit Run, could we simply ask as citizens, “NO MORE REZONING!”, switch from rezoning bribes, whoops I mean proffers, to across the board impact fees,and just be done with the whole mess!?

    Just an idea, because I am still trying to figure out where I stand on this issue.

  • THIS IS SAD, I DO THIS ALL THE TIME, I POSTED MY NON-SPELL CHECKED VERSION, this is better:

    I think the idea is a very good idea … Waldo has had this itch for a while, and I did not know what to think about it then. But the time might be right.

    Fundamentally an area with a certain level of density has completely different needs and interest in areas more rural. As I understand it that is why the state of Virginia has historical given towns and cities different taxing authorities and what not, mainly because a “town” is a place of commerce

    Now Falstaf may have a point about “Crozet in 2007”,and as Cville Eye points out but Crozet in 2010 is a different matter.

    But I think one could make an argument that it is now, now the iron is hot, now it is time for Crozet to take charge of its destiny, because now you have a BOS that is imposing its well on an entity that already on some level sees itself as autonomous.

    I do not know how strong that argument is, but it is where I am leaning . . .

    And as far as all Old Trail and Biscuit Run, could we simply ask as citizens, “NO MORE REZONING!”, switch from rezoning bribes, whoops I mean proffers to across the board impact fees,and just be done with the whole mess!?

    Just an idea, because I am still trying to figure out where I stand on this issue.

  • Sorry, I didn’t mean to appear to be giving advice as such. I was just trying to make a point that people may view the issue differently when the roads began to fill up and there’s an increase in police response times. I think a more thorough examination of the tax provisions may be in order; however, I would not rely upon the county’s staff to take the initiative (this is a word of advice). Somehow Scottsville has remained a town and I know everybody living there is not well-heeled, so there must be some trade offs.

  • Cville Eye wrote:

    Somehow Scottsville has remained a town and I know everybody living there is not well-heeled, so there must be some trade offs.

    Please elaborate on that thought. What do you mean by “trade offs”?

    Because it was a Town, Scottsville had the ability to say no (and did) to a developers request to rezone a tract of land within town limits to allow for higher density. Something that probably wouldn’t have happened had it been left up to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

    And regarding the “Additional taxes” that everyone seems to think inherent in Crozet becoming a town I found this bit of Info in the Town of Scottsville’s Comprehensive Plan (pdf):

    Scottsville, like other incorporated towns in the Commonwealth of Virginia, remains a part of its host county – in Scottsville’s case, two counties: Albemarle and Fluvanna. The portion to the northwest of the Albemarle/Fluvanna County boundary line, wholly within Albemarle County, comprises approximately 961 acres and 536 residents; the portion to the southeast of the Albemarle/Fluvanna County line that lies within Fluvanna County includes approximately 18 acres and 19 residents.

    Scottsville property owners, residents, and business owners pay real estate and property taxes to that county in which their property lies at the tax rate charged throughout their respective counties. For their part, the counties are obliged to provide to Scottsville residents and property owners the same level of service provided to other county residents and property owners, including primary and secondary education, police protection (supplemental to the Town’s Police Department), fire and rescue protection, social services, library services, park and recreational services, and the like.

    The Code of Virginia also permits towns to collect both real estate and property taxes. Although this authorization provides a potential additional source of revenues, Scottsville ceased collecting these taxes once the boundary adjustment took effect on January 1, 1994. Scottsville derives most of its revenues from utility taxes, meals tax, business license taxes, bank franchise tax, locality share of sales taxes collected by the state, transient occupancy tax, and the sale of automobile decals to residents. These are taxes that would otherwise be collected by Albemarle County and Fluvanna County; therefore, collection of these taxes by the Town imposes no added tax burden on the taxpayers of Scottsville. Currently, Scottsville taxpayers enjoy the benefits of having their own local government without having to pay any additional taxes.

    It can be done and it doesn’t have to mean more taxes. There is a saying- if you want it done right you have to do it yourself. If Crozet is tired of inadequate representation by the BoS then I think they should roll up their sleeves and do the work necessary to achieve self determination.

  • As a Crozet Resident I appreciate all of you trying to throw us a lifeline to save us from the murky waters we now find ourselves in, but wouldn’t be better for all of us to realize the only way things are going to be different is with a different board?

    Vote For Change in November!

  • The trade off is that those taxes you listed in “utility taxes … automobile decals.” You state these monies go directly to the town coffers rather than to the county’s and have the BoS determine how much of the revenue will be returned to the town and how it is to be spent. I assume the BoS determines the rates and fees for this range and not the town. I also assume the town could add another layer of real estate and property taxes if it chooses to do so and that it hasn’t since 1994(?). Does the town have to negotiate with the county as to who receives the BPOL and parking fines, speeding tickets, and code violation penalties? I’m thinking that people in the 24,000 area will one day want a certain amount of police dedicated to that area solely on a full time basis. The city, with a population of 40,000 has slots for over 110, so I estimate that Crozet will one day need somewhere between 25 and 50.
    I also assume that the county is requiring the developers to foot the bill for water and sewer lines and sidewalks – expensive items here in the city.

  • You state these monies go directly to the town coffers rather than to the county’s…

    Does the town have to negotiate with the county as to who receives the BPOL and parking fines, speeding tickets, and code violation penalties?

    As a clarification: the information I quoted in my previous post is taken unaltered from the Town of Scottsville’s comprehensive plan. It’s not me simply stating it.

    I’m not sure how revenue from the others (speeding tickets, parking fines, etc.) are divided (if at all) but according to the Scottsville Chamber of Commerce the BPOL is paid to the Town of Scottsville if the business is within Town limits and to Albemarle County if the business is outside of Town Limits.

    I assume the rates for those other taxes (Meals Tax, Auto Decals, locality share of sales taxes collected by the state) are set by the County and State. With the caveat that my understanding of the fine details are admittedly imperfect (and subject to possible error- except where sourced by other documents) where revenues are spent, within the town of Scottsville, is decided by Town Council when they adopt their annual budget.

    And I believe (although I’m not certain) that if the town of Scottsville did not have it’s own Police Department the County would be obligated to provide police protection via the County PD. Which is one of the many services provided by the County in exchange for the property taxes Scottsville land owners pay to the County.

    …the counties are obliged to provide to Scottsville residents and property owners the same level of service provided to other county residents and property owners, including primary and secondary education, police protection (supplemental to the Town’s Police Department), fire and rescue protection, social services, library services, park and recreational services, and the like.

  • I envision one day the CITY of Crozet. All the remaining folks with any means will flee to the West and leave Charlottesville a broken shell of it’s former self surrounding a fancy university. It would be amusing to observe City Council then. “Gee, wonder what happened”? We were so busy building useless transit stations, placing useless art in the medians,sipping our lattes, and developing Bulgarian sister cities that we forgot the BASICS.

  • Heh. That’s a pretty good one, jeeperman. Perhaps junkets to the Balkans to see how Srebencia manages to provide low-income housing is not where the focus ought to be.

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