Crozet Citizens Want to Stop Population Growth

Crozet Hardware
Crozet Hardware. By Charlottesville Tomorrow. / CC BY 2.0

Crozetians believe overwhelmingly that their #1 priority is limiting growth, WCAV reports. The county surveyed Crozet’s citizens about the Master Plan—which currently calls for the population to more than double—and it was in that context that they volunteered their concerns about population growth. Specifically, they’re also looking to stop the 250 corridor from sprawling out, and instead build up downtown. A 2006 county report forecast a maximum Crozet population of 24,000 in 15 years, a number that left many Crozet residents horrified, no doubt spurring contributing to the strong support for a sustainable population that this survey has shown.

30 thoughts on “Crozet Citizens Want to Stop Population Growth”

  1. Curious how many that moved there in last 5 years are now screaming to keep everyone else out.

  2. The people of Crozet should not outright oppose growth. Growth will help the local economy, which I imagine is having just as much trouble as it is elsewhere. Instead, they should fight for the infrastructure improvements, especially in terms of roads, that will be necessary for the population that will likely be coming. That is the main problem here in Northern Virginia. By the time any road construction project finishes up, it does little to alleviate the problem it was intended for.

    Of course, Richmond redirecting tax money intended for roads in northern Virginia did not help.

  3. The people of Crozet should not outright oppose growth. Growth will help the local economy, which I imagine is having just as much trouble as it is elsewhere.

    An economy can grow without the population growing. Population growth, as we know, is actually a money-loser for Albemarle, since we spend more on each citizen than we take in via taxes. For instance, Crozet might choose to grow their economy via tourism, whether in the traditional sense (people from elsewhere in the state or out of state visiting Starr Hill Brewery, or eating in the restaurants or staying in a B&B after visiting the SNP), or in a local sense (me driving to Crozet to have dinner and shop at the Farmer’s Market).

    Growth is entirely possible while maintaining a stable population.

  4. I speak to the tendency of people to want freedom for their own choices, that once made, they wish to deny others. The NIMBY thought process which determines that their right to move somewhere and enjoy something should not also be the right of others.

    We looked at Crozet when we first moved to Cville and thought the 89K ranch houses within walking distance of the Crozet Downtown area were pretty nice, but I was concerned about the drive, so we bought in central Cville. I like a 3 minute work commute.

  5. If anyone has been around Cville and Albemarle for any length of time it should have become quite clear
    that the developers in this area do pretty much what they want. Both city and county sqwak occassionaly
    but mostly just for show. When push comes to shuv,
    the fat cats get their way and we end up the mess. And
    as far as proffers go, their just for show also, they
    amount to a pittance.If you live in Crozet and the housing market ever takes off again, just try and stop

  6. The NIMBY thought process which determines that their right to move somewhere and enjoy something should not also be the right of others.

    So do those of us who grew up here get to determine when we’re done growing? Or was is it only people who were born here? What’s the threshold before one is permitted input as to growth limitations?

    I guess I’m just puzzled as to who, exactly, gets to establish when we’re done subsidizing all of these new residents? Must I pay more taxes to build roads and extend sewer lines for the people who are going to live in Biscuit Run, people who currently live in New Jersey? That is, are we the community collectively obligated to subsidize the cost of people moving here who are not currently part of the community? If so, is there any way to stop that, or are we basically just running a huge Ponzi scheme that we’re all powerless to stop?

  7. Exactly. Tough questions.

    I guess the final decisions are with the Native Americans, and if they saw the growth in Crozet they likely would have stopped the whole mess a few centuries ago!

    And yes, ultimately, from a philosophical ethics POV, pretty much everyone has infringed on the space and habitat of something else from the get go.

    Who gets to draw that line and what exactly gives them the right rather than others before them with less resources and influence?

    Is there anyone from the mid 80s, before the explosive growth out there with thoughts on what has happened since it was really slow and cheap to live in Crozet?

    ULitimatly, these questions are on a much larger scale. China’s desire for growth vs. the worlds need to stop pollution, global warming, natural resources etc. Now that the USA has industrialized and done its damage to the environment do we have the right to tell China to stop. It was good for us, but not you…? Would we have stopped? Have we?

  8. It’s seems silly to argue about stopping growth in the growth area. If they want to stop growth then they need to get Crozet taken out of the growth area. There really is little they can do to change that unless they can get the supervisors to change Crozet current designation

    The article actually says “Vote for Limiting Growth” not stopping it. There is a difference.

  9. The survey results came from almost 700 people who responded. When it comes to limiting growth, the question for many in Crozet is not stopping growth, but to get the county to agree on the population limit of about 12,000, which was set in the original Master Plan. The 12,000 population was a number that was not selected by the people of Crozet, but was the result of a report from the consulting group retained by the county to study growth. It was only after the master plan was approved by the board of supervisors that the county decided to “recalculate” the land use plan and came up with a population to 24,000. The recalculation was done outside the guidelines in the plan and without any consultation with the community despite having a community steering committee in place to deal with the implementation of the plan.
    An excellent review of the survey can be found in the recent issue of the Crozet Gazette, which contains not only the raw data, but all of the comments people submitted with the survey.

  10. I lived in crozet “metro area” from 76 to 89. Then I built my house in scottsville area figuring it would be the last area of the county to get screwed up by development.
    what’s up with the line between “come heres” and “born heres” ? I moved to the county 33 yrs ago, my 2 kids were born here. are you suggesting they should have more standing as native county residents ?
    I think the real issue is how much growth is desirable for crozet. where will the water come from? who will pay for the additional schools, roads, emergency services that will be required ?. In a different discussion, I suggested graduated sewer hook up fees as a way to have folks who didn’t help pay for initial infrastructure help finance the improvements and was pretty much hooted off the board. But it seems wrong that developers take the money and run, leaving residents holding the bag for these upgrades required to service developments they don’t want.
    A review of how the 24,000 figure was chosen, and by who would be a good thing. And next election for county supervisor ask the candidates where they stand on the issue of growth and how to pay for it.

  11. The article actually says “Vote for Limiting Growth” not stopping it. There is a difference.

    With that phrasing, it’s not actually clear. (The article is awfully brief, which means that we’re both arguing from ignorance here. :) You’re mentally inserting “rate,” as in “vote for limiting the rate of growth.” If that is how the question in the survey was phrased, then you’d be absolutely right, there’s a huge difference. If the current growth rate is 2% annually (which would be very high), then limiting the rate to, say, 0.5% would mean that these people believe that the population of Crozet should be 24,000, just not quite so soon. On the other hand, if “growth” is a noun (in the sense that having cancer is having a “growth”), then limiting growth would mean to cap the population at some number—whether 5,500 or 12,000 or 24,000—which would be the only way to keep Crozet a small town. But, again, it’s really not clear which is meant, although I’m obviously inclined to believe the latter, because that would at least be consistent.

    Debates about limiting the rate of growth aren’t debates about population, just debates about how soon we want to have an enormous population. If I want 0.5% and you want 2%, then we’re both agreeing that Charlottesville should have a population of 500,000, we’re just disagreeing as to how soon that should be so. And, besides, that’s not really how most humans consider this topic. What people are really talking about is total population. Some folks liked Charlottesville and Albemarle better when it had a joint population of 80,000, and they might want no growth (or negative growth). Some folks might like it now, and they’d want no growth. And some folks might think it’d be better with a doubling of population density in Charlottesville’s ten square miles, but Albemarle kept the same, in which case they’d want growth, but presumably no faster than is safe to add another 40,000 people—70 years at 1%, 35 years at 2%, etc.

  12. With regard to total population and the rate of growth, the answer to both is the ability to supply the required infrastructure, which can be tied to either a specific population number or a specific time period based on projected population growth. This is another reason, at least for Crozet, that master planning was so important, since the infrastructure to support the 12,000 population was built into the plan. What we found out is even with the infrastructure spelled out in the plan it did not mean we would actually see the infrastructure when it was scheduled. Add to the this the current situation where the state is not funding new roads and planning becomes almost a moot point.
    The current Places 29 is as much of a transportation plan as a land use plan and it doesn’t matter if you like the grade separated interchanges or want to see the Western Bypass back in the mix, the fact is there is NO money for either. So you tell me, what do we with a plan that adds more people to an already congested road system and no money for new roads? In fact, transportation planning or the lack of it may be the weak point in the Crozet master plan. If you look at 250 west you already see the intersection by the Belaire Market at a failing status at certain times of the day. Knowing there is no money for improvements and the fact we’ve only seen the beginning of the build out of Crozet, getting into town will only get worse for everyone who takes 250 west.

  13. The county should establish a negative growth policy. Anyone that has moved here from New York or New Jersey will be required to relocate. Less growth, less terrible drivers (Marylanders can go too)! Win-win.

  14. Danpri, I’m probably side with the Monacans on that one. What Europeans did was genocide. Many native people were content to share the land, as long as they weren’t kicked off theirs.

    I think if the folks from NOVA and elsewhere came down and started distributing blankets with Hemorrhagic Fever to residents, or forcably relocating existing locals so they could occupy their homes, then that might be an apt metaphor.

    The real truth is that current growth policies only amount to other folks buying up our land, using up our water and other resources, and generally making it too expensive for many of us who grew up here to continue to live here. That’s still bad, but it’s nowhere near genocide, and I think many native people would be offended by the analogy.

  15. Dirt Worshiper: “The real truth is that current growth policies only amount to other folks buying up our land, using up our water and other resources, and generally making it too expensive for many of us who grew up here to continue to live here.”

    If you think its expensive living here, I don’t think further limiting growth is the answer you’re looking for. Supply and Demand definitely applies. Some of the most successful no-growth localities in America are also the most exclusive and expensive. People in this thread have commented on the County letting developers do whatever they want, but in reality, development approvals in Albemarle are much tougher to navigate than most which is part of the reason that real estate in the County is as expensive as it is.

    Another question I have is how much stock we should put in a citizen survey. I conducted these surveys in a previous job. Citizens always said they wanted more and better services, as well as no new growth and lower taxes. These things don’t go together. Why conduct a survey and THEN invite residents to attend a work session? I’d rather see them get people to an information / education session and THEN give them the survey. Most people just don;t understand the implications of saying “let’s stop growth”

  16. Urbanitas,
    In Crozet I believe we had at least 2 work session on the Master Plan revision before doing the survey. Additionally, the master plan revision has been the subject of discussion at the Crozet Community Association as well as the Crozet Advisory Committee, which is a committee of citizens appointed by the board of supervisors to follow the implementation of the master plan. Add to this a number of articles in our local paper The Crozet Gazette regarding the master plan and I believe most residents in Crozet have been given more then enough information/education in order to make intelligent survey selections.
    That said, I would point out again what many Crozetians are asking is to not stop growth, but to limit it to the original number found in the Master Plan.

  17. Urbanitas, I question your economics.

    If the new developments were being populated by local people then I’d agree; however, they are being poulated by people outside of Charlottesville. That clearly indicates that the market is not a local market at all, but rather a national one. We simply can never build enough homes to satisfy a national demand for housing. Furthermore, As the housing crashed showed, the only thing that will bring down the cost of housing locally is a crash in the national demand. You can’t build yourself to lower home prices on a local level (and if you could, then developers themselves would be asking for limits on growth!) After all, everyone claims to want affordable housing, but when they sell their home then they don’t want to sell it at an “affordable” price!

    Okay, so can local policies make the housing cost issue worse? Absolutely. If you have policies in place that encourage land speculation, or if you have policies that are seen as “development friendly”, or if existing residents are responsible for paying for the infrastructure costs of new residents, then you can definitely create a situation that prices locals out of the market. In these situations, large development corporations will target the locality and create their own demand for their product. If the local housing market collapses, or if the water runs out, then they don’t care because they’ve already moved on to other projects.

    Also, can your policies for limiting growth be “too successful?” Absolutely. By limiting growth you can create a more attractive place that people want to live in, thus inflating demand. What’s the alternative though? (Anyone want to sell their home at a loss?) I think the solution is to maintain a diverse mix of properties. Having areas that can only be used for farmland makes it affordable for those areas to still be farmed (since development is off the table). Having a mix of different kinds of housing means that as housing gets more expensive, people can choose to buy smaller.

  18. I wish this came up 10 years ago, I agree I bet the majority of people complaining are newbies

  19. Waldo: “Population growth, as we know, is actually a money-loser for Albemarle, since we spend more on each citizen than we take in via taxes.”

    Not true. You only get that result if you look at direct taxation. Localities get a lot of revenue indirectly from residents by way of the businesses they patronize through meal taxes, for example. In areas with more diversity of jurisdictions like Richmond or Tidewater that revenue might go to a different locality than that of the new residents’ homes, but in Albemarle County that seems unlikely.

    Do you think the U.S. would be justified in establishing a negative growth policy by drastically reducing immigration? If not, how is that different?

    (For the record, I think unrestricted growth is a bad thing too.)

  20. Waldo: “Population growth, as we know, is actually a money-loser for Albemarle, since we spend more on each citizen than we take in via taxes.”

    Not true. You only get that result if you look at direct taxation.

    That’s not the result of my math—the county conducted a fiscal study a few years ago and came to that conclusion. They looked at all of the things that the county spends money on and all of the methods that the county uses to generate revenue and found that we lose money—and lots of it—on every new resident.

    This is one of those topics for which I curse Media General’s decision to abandon their web archives. I’d track down and link to the story from the time, but it’s no longer on the web.

  21. I noticed this article from the Daily Progress website today titled : County seeks residents’ input on Crozet plan”.

    My most immediate thought – “What part of They don’t want it did you NOT understand?!”

    Looks like even after the Supervisor election upset last go around, the BoS still just does not get it.

    This is the BoS way of saying, “Look people it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. Get used to it. Sit down, and shut up.”

    It’s math. 1 + 1 = 2 and 24,000 isn’t any more palatable then it was when the hoopla started. Talking it to death won’t make peoples opinions change on the subject.

  22. If the residents of Albemarle County continue to vote pro- growth candidates out of office eventually the BoS will get the message.
    Only wish it worked as well in the city where it seems the liberals cannot get enough of taking from the haves and giving to the have not’s who won’t even try to help themselves.

  23. Increased population growth only costs more if it’s low-density greenfield development. New infill or revitalization, particularly sites within walking or transit reach of jobs, has a minimal impact on infrastructure, and it can be a net gain in terms of government revenue. Just because past development has more often than not taken the form of sprawl doesn’t mean these numbers hold for all types of development.

    Also, I’m not following your economic analysis, Dirt Worshiper. You are assuming that demand for housing is tightly linked to the creation of new housing in the region, but this is obviously not true. People are not moving here because we are building houses for them; they are moving here on account of jobs and/or quality of life. In reality, the demand-creation effects of infrastructure improvements are minimal (or even negative).

    In other words, we can’t turn off the faucet by simply not building houses. The pressure will either accumulate by jacking housing costs up or pushing the development outward (Greene, Fluvanna), and probably both. The answer is smart growth, which is exactly what that BOS is at least trying to do in Crozet.

  24. Costs of Growth, said “they are moving here on account of jobs and/or quality of life. In reality, the demand-creation effects of infrastructure improvements are minimal (or even negative).”

    Here’s where that’s mistaken. A significant number of people coming to the Albemarle area are retired baby boomers. They aren’t coming here for jobs, but literally came here because they heard it’d be easy to get a McMansion in the suburbs, compared with other areas like NOVA.

    Think about it, how many jobs at UVa can pay for 500k homes? …and yet, How many 500k homes are there? Also, where are all the jobs that the folk are going to work at who will live at Biscuit Run? That’s a lot of new jobs (3100-6200) and the current number of jobs is 105,000. Hollymead will add another 1200 to that number.

    So, in other words, those retired boomers could have moved anywhere, but they wanted the shiny new home at Glenmore beside the golf course. If we never built that development, they very well may not have moved here. In fact, with a tougher policy on growth, they may not have found the amenities or type of community they wanted and that retirement community demand would evaporate. Think of as “Don’t build it and they won’t come”. After all, the people who want a gated community and private golf course probably aren’t going to just pick a home in Belmont or Woolen Mills instead.

    Now taking all this into consideration, if we build ourselves up as a boomer economy, what happens when they all move into apartments or assisted living facilities all at once? Who’s going to occupy those 500k homes? If you think the housing market is bad now…

  25. Forget the McMansions, look what happened to the price of football tickets. All those new people coming here and moving into their 500k plus homes now want football tickets and are willing to pay big money for them. Uva, never one to miss an opportunity to make an extra buck, sees a new revenue source and puts a new ticket system in place. If you don’t cough up extra you loose your tickets.
    Another casualty of growth!

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