After a delay in the mailing of a survey to gauge the Crozet community’s thoughts on growth and development, both the public and a scientific sample of households are being invited to submit their responses by Aug. 20.
The Crozet Community Association originally expected the survey to go live in May, but ultimately had to delay its opening until June. A random sample of 3,000 households — 2,000 in the Crozet growth area and 1,000 in Census blocks that touch Crozet — were mailed invitations to complete the survey as part of a scientific sample. A separate survey with the same questions was then opened for the general public.
“It also took us longer to [mail] the initial letters than we hoped,” CCA President Tim Tolson said. “The process took several weeks longer than the mail firm we used said it would, or that we understood they said it would.”
A committee — which included members of numerous civic groups, including the CCA, the Crozet Board of Trade and the Downtown Crozet Initiative — worked to develop the survey over the course of several months.
Tolson said the committee also consulted with the University of Virginia’s Center for Survey Research in selecting the random sample.
Survey organizers said they hope the data gathered from both the public and scientific sample will inform a future update of the Crozet Master Plan.
The master plan provides guidance for future development in the 4.6-square-mile growth area, located in western Albemarle County. The plan was first adopted in 2004 and updated in 2010. A similar survey effort was undertaken in 2009, although it did not include a scientific sample.
Although the plan is supposed to be reviewed every five years, this process has been delayed as the county works on other projects. Additionally, other growth areas in the county have master plans awaiting updates. The Pantops Master Plan was adopted in 2008 and has not been revised since.
“Pantops would have been the next plan for an update, but the Rio-29 Small Area Plan took priority. The Board [of Supervisors’] work program shows Pantops next,” Elaine Echols, a principal planner for the county, said in an email. “After that, they could choose another small area plan or a master plan.”
The country is currently developing the Rio-29 Small Area Plan, which will offer a vision for future development near the intersection U.S. 29 and Rio Road.
Tolson said he hopes the Crozet survey results can be used to frame town hall meetings in the fall.
The 39-question survey covers a range of topics, from development near the U.S. 250-Interstate 64 interchange at exit 107 to whether the boundaries of the Crozet growth area should be expanded.
Tolson said two important areas covered in the survey are growth along the U.S. 250 corridor and in the downtown area of Crozet.
Density along U.S. 250 previously has proven to be a contentious issue. Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors denied a proposed rezoning near the Cory Farm neighborhood that would have allowed for a new development with 80 residential units. Some community members opposed the development, known as Adelaide, on the grounds that density should be limited on 250. A 35-unit development known as Sparrow Hill is now being planned for the property by-right.
As for the survey, Tolson said, “We’ve had a really good response so far. We’ve had about 780 [responses] ... on the scientific sample, and about 500 or so on the public sample.”
They were aiming to get at least 600 responses for the scientific sample. Tolson said they want to collect more responses to lower the margin of error of the results.
“The bigger response rate that we get, the easier it is to make assertions about what the population of Crozet thinks based on this survey,” Tolson said.
Reminder postcards recently were sent to households that were selected for the scientific sample.
The Crozet Board of Trade has raised funds to pay for the survey efforts, the costs of which included mailing the letters and postcards.
Mike Marshall, president of the Crozet Board of Trade, said it was originally thought that the survey could cost as much as $5,000 or $6,000, but it has ended up being closer to $3,400.
The survey is available on the Crozet Community Association’s website, cca.avenue.org.