June 6, 2013
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors is trying to bring more visitors to Crozet, and they are considering creating a tourism zone that would give developers tax breaks to build hotels near Crozet.
There are currently no large hotels in the western portion of Albemarle County.
The only option for visitors is the bed and breakfasts that are scattered around the area.
Dina and Larry Cohen own the Rooster Hill Bed and Breakfast a few miles south of Crozet. They say they have people visiting about every weekend. And they get booked for the University of Virginia graduation weekend about a year in advance.
"We have to turn down people," said Dina. "Which is not a very pleasant thing to do."
The Cohens say they are fine with new hotels coming to town, as long as it is done responsibly.
"We wish that this would not become a suburb like Northern Virginia," said Dina.
There have been discussions about putting a hotel in Crozet's Old Trail neighborhood, but county leaders say there is nothing finalized in that plan.
The board of supervisors voted 4-1 on Wednesday to have a resolution written that would create the tourism zone and define the tax incentives.
Scott Hilles works at Over the Moon Bookstore in downtown Crozet. He says he is worried about keeping the area quaint.
"I've been here 13 years and the traffic here has quadrupled," Hilles said.
But he admits that a recent visitor to his store was surprised about the lack of lodging.
"He was biking through and he stopped in our store and he said, 'Where is the local hotel?'" said Hilles. "And we said, 'There isn't one.' And he's like, 'You mean this community doesn't have a hotel?'"
The Cohens hope that new hotels can arrive without forcing Crozet to lose its uniqueness.
"I hope that land does not become so valuable that they will take fields and orchards and turn them into subdivisions," said Dina.
Supervisor Duane Snow says, even if the tourism zone is created, the board will still have to approve each hotel project to make sure it is the right fit.