New Development Approved

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

August 23, 2005

A fight continued tonight over the development of a Western Albemarle County housing development. Old Trail, a development off of Route 250 near Western Albemarle High School was the focus of tonight's Planning Commission meeting. It drew a substantial crowd that brought both concerns and praise for this new community.

"You can't just take the neighborhood model and pick it up and plunk it down in a field a mile and a half from a small town," said Mary Rice.

"Even though some of the other planned communities in our county had been good ones, Old Trail seems to be the best of everything," said Edward Cusick.

People from both sides were represented in the final chance for the public to speak about the development of Old Trail. The normally quiet Planning Commission meeting was packed with observers eager to see if the 2200 unit complex would be approved. Concerns ranged from the future of downtown Crozet to the implementation of the infrastructure.

"The detriment to downtown Crozet that I see and I do worry about things. Downtown has challenges that Old Trail doesn't have," said Crozet resident Kathleen Jump.

"Crozet is gone. Now it is just Old Trail and this little town next to it," said Crozet resident Bill Sweeney.

But not all the feedback was negative. Some welcomed the expansion of the 257 acre site that will include over 36 acres of parks, six miles of walking trails, and up to 250,000 square feet of commercial use.

"Businesses will come to Crozet when enough people move into the area interested in having businesses in Crozet," said 48-year-resident Martha Armotto.

After intense debate, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the rezoning of Old Trail.

"We're very very pleased. We've been waiting three years. We participated in the master plan and we are very happy that the planning commissioners saw fit to implement the master plan," said Developer Gaylon Beights.

With the Planning Commission's approval came several recommended amendments, all of which the developers say are doable. The Board of Supervisors will take up the matter for final approval during its September 14th meeting. The development is expected to be completed by the year 2009.


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