Downtown Crozet to lose its main parking lot over RR fears

news-csxtrainIn 1994, a nursing home receptionist and the elderly walker-using woman she was trying to save were struck and killed by one of these in Crozet.

Turns out it's owned by the CSX railroad, and the leasing RR, the Buckingham Branch, doesn't want the liability of cars on the property, according to the Crozet Gazette.

–last updated 9:52am


I guess Ill ride a horse to pick up my chinese food .

Personally, I think that any new housing development not connected to a city center by public transportation (rail) and public paths and bike trails should be illegal and any govt official supporting zoning allowing sprawl sent packing.

Anything to preserve and rebuild from the city center is the right path.

Crozet should follow the London example and charge cars a toll based on traffic counts inside the town border. That might make the horse riding solution more realistic, as it should be.

why can't I actually post a response?

CJW said:

"And what exactly are the business suppose to do - this will kill them because there is very little parking nearby anyway - and who ever cussed at the RR workers - THANKS ALOT!"

I guess they are either going to have to buy the lot, change their business model, move, or go out of business, won't they? I never cease to be amazed at how people react when people with private property are supposed to change their own lifestyles or subsidize the activities of businesses and the concenience of the clients, who themselves seem unwilling to inconvenience themselves.

This is what markets and economics are all about. Too bad so many of you who want to be in a small town like Crozet can't wait to get back to your suburbanite commuter drive and park for everything mode.

Dear Go Figure:

Please reread the one sentence blurb again. It states that CSX is leasing the property to Buckingham Branch. It then states that Buckingham Branch dislikes the liability.

CSX has nothing to do with it-- according to the Hook.

I believe BB has a very legitimate concern. Let me explain.

I was at the edge of C-ville going east on Old Ivy Road just ready to go under the railroad where it joins 250/Ivy Road (yeah the place that floods easily) when the traffic light stopped the cars ahead. I was stopped just clear of being hought the world was ending. Turns out a BB work car was going down the track lickety-split throwing rocks/ballast out. A big error! They obviously were not aware the car door was open.

It was quite a hassle for us, and the person that I originally spoke with in their Staunton office was quite adamant as to who was going to fix my vehicle and what they would pay. They said they were paying out of pocket rather than insurance...

I had to get my insurance to pay up front, and was without my vehicle and could not get a similar as my insurance would not cover it for the 5 weeks that it took for repair. I had to use a little Toyota.

Later I got an official written apology from the man who stated that the man who gave me the hard time was not "authorized" you can see I don't have a fondess for them...however int this closure, seems like they are thinking ahead.

Albemarle could push to condemn the property (tricky), or obtain it through adverse possession (trickier than flat-out condemning it).

@smedley, don't believe much in property rights, eh? Maybe I'll borrow your car through adverse possession.

Why did the county do nothing about it back in 1999. CSX or BB stopped the lease with Albemarle county and the county advised the area tenants to stop paying for their use of the land. What a way kill "old downtown" Crozet and move it to the new improved master plan Main Street.

Took a little motorcycle ride through Crozet a couple weeks ago . Has been some time since I was in that area and was I shocked at how the place has grown . Cookie cutter vinyl houses EVERYWHERE .

Houses on top of houses ! I can see where losing any parking could be a problem on the horizon .


I'll start off saying I've only been in the lot one time, but couldn't they have fenced off the the lot closer to the tracks? Parking would be kept, and track crossing would be eliminated.

I wonder if it's just coincidence that the parking situation in the Square has gotten more and more crowded and crazy in the past few months, partly owing to the success of Mudhouse, partly to Crozet growth in general. Something had to give, maybe, but this is the worst possible solution I can imagine.

It comes down B.S. lawsuits against the RRs. Remember, only one way to get hit by a train. Yet they still sue and win. So this is what the RR have to do. "wasn't my fault I walked the track and got hit" RR 0 Lawyer $998,000 plaintiff $1,000.

"The county, businesses, customers and residents need to make the case that the parking lot should remain open to the public." Then they'd better plan to come up with some money. Is Buckingham Branch renting it for free?
@smedley, are you saying that Buckingham Branch received a land grant? Are you saying that every entity that has received a land grant should allow the public to use the land in any way it wishes? What exactly are you saying?

And what exactly are the business suppose to do - this will kill them because there is very little parking nearby anyway - and who ever cussed at the RR workers - THANKS ALOT!

There's a need for more reporting on this story. What exactly led to Buckingham's threat to ban parking on the site? Was there a casual relationship between the railroad workers being "cussed" and Buckingham's action? Is Buckingham's threat to gain more concessions/money/considerations so as to not ban parking? How long has parking been allowed on the site, and how many liability claims have been filed against either Buckingham or CSX? Some reporters need to dig further.

To ban parking at the site would jeopardize several businesses, including the Mudhouse, Crozet Hardward, Fardowners, the Chinese restaurant and the pharmacy.

The county, businesses, customers and residents need to make the case that the parking lot should remain open to the public.

I would like to see just what are the liability issues that so worries Buckingham at this time. Did not those issues exist last year, and the year before that. Why now? Why here in Crozet?

How does the Square in Crozet compare to other locales along the railroad right-of-way, and how have those liability issues been handled elsewhere?

Back to my original point, more reporting needs to be done to answer these questions.

Who's paying for the fence. It seems the problem was actually that some of the downtown merchants wanted to "negotiate" and needed to be shown that they are not in a position to negotiate over the use of somebody else's private property. It's similar to my appropriated something from their store and want to talk about returning it.

You seriously have to be kidding me. All along Railroad Ave, the land that is on the side of the railroad tracks is owned by CSX. They let people do what they want with the land. There are junk cars, empty 55 gallon containers, pieces of wood, and CSX does noting. They are a joke. Somebody is trying to make an honest living, and pay rent to them and they shut them down.

BB is a scam. The state offered incentives to short-line RRs, so CSX "sold" everything to BB, which gobbled up all the inncective money for that year for all short-lines. I read that in the Hook.

Testing testing does this let me post.

Caesonia, there's often a difference between what a property owner has a legal right to do and what the ethics of the situation suggest. In this case, several of the businesses on the Square are way older than the Buckingham Branch Railroad, which was formed in 1989. Crozet Hardware has been on the Square since the 1970s and has existed as a business since, what, the 1940s? BBRR may not have a legal obligation to try to cooperate with its neighbors, but if it wants to be a good corporate citizen it should try to help work out a solution that won't cripple the affected small businesses. And in fact, based on yesterday's Daily Progress Story, it sounds like they, CSX, and the County are working toward some kind of reasonable compromise that will preserve as much parking as possible while accomodating the railroad's needs.

I wouldn't be surprised if no one can answer this question: What are the long-term plans for providing adequate parking in downtown Crozet in the future?

cville eye go to one of the master plan meetings and you'll see there are none .its all yahda yahda yahda meeting over lets get in our Volvo's and talk about it next time ,just like the city the ten year plan for doing nothing

Croesite I don't really disagree with the idea of finding a solution, my point is that no one ever takes thigns like parking and lifestyles into account when 'growth' is going on. All you'll hear about is business business business, we need more business and growth not how it impacts the community, the neighborhood, and even other older businesses.

Crozet had the option of developing smarter, encouraging more pedestrian small town growth, instead of relying on suburban type homes were people insist on driving their cars for even a cup of coffee.

Instead they wait and now its a crisis and the RR should be ethical about it. How about the consumers being ethical about it? Nope. Not me. i need to drive here. Nope, not me, I need to use your neighborhood for my business parking lot. Not me. i shouldn't have to adapt. Not me. Uh uh.

The fact is, the Railroads have been subsidizing the parking for a long time, and now people realize it had some real value.

How much was the lease?

The County has known about this forever and I agree with the conspiracy theorists who believe the County would like nothing more than for these businesses to abandon the downtown and for all Crozet folk to "accept" their fate of becoming a suburb and no longer a town at all.

Condemnation is the only solution and has been the action of choice by municipalities who need to take control of land that is critical to their future. The lack of a condemnation plan for the Square betrays the real interest of Albemarle County Govt - to create a new Downtown known as Greater Harris Teeter.

Caesonia - you are missing the point that a downtown with small locally owned small businesses IS the sustainable solution, not the Harris Teeter culture we're infected with. You CAN bike or walk downtown Crozet today and that is exactly what Albemarle County ought to be encouraging by helping the local folks at The Square.

"Caesonia - you are missing the point that a downtown with small locally owned small businesses IS the sustainable solution,..." obviously not if they can't provide a parking lot.

Yikes I am not missing anything at all. I remember Crozet back in the early and mid 70's, and it really was a small independent town then. I used to get hunting and fishing licenses there and Crozet Pizza was mighty good. People worked at Con Agra.

The fact is it didn't look anything like it has looked for the last 10 years and what has been going on is anything but about keeping Crozet it's own independent center. It looks like suburbia with all the developments and sure enough a Starbucks pops up. And gosh gee willakers everybody's got to drive there and get their coffee.

The point you are missing is that when all the developing was going on no one was planning for parking. They just kept up the same same old with the park and drive model, not the bike and walk model, as Crozet grew. Now the one little piece of parking might evaporate and there is a panic. People are just going to have to start rethinking their lifestyle.

Believe me, I don't want the Hardware Store to close, but I think it's time for people to get over using their cars for everything.

moderator why delete a whole opinion not even "a deleted by moderator " Thanks for trying to be what your not .An open minded (and I use this loosely ) news paper . Date line "Warsaw 1939"
I guess if you want "OUR OPINIONS YOU"LL GIVE IT TO US"

Caesonia - I believe that the neighborhood model used in Old Trail is exactly what you are espousing - a neighborhood with its own walkable shopping. I do NOT live in Old Trail, but in a 50-year-old house in a rural area of Crozet, so walking in to town would not work at those distances, and I don't drive in to town just for a cup of coffee. I do agree that the county allowed/encouraged development like Gray Rock and Old Trail without ever requiring that infrastructure be in place to support that growth. "Old Crozet" i.e. downtown, is now paying the price for that lack of planning.

STG Lack of planning in Albemarle county ! That's the ticket all along every project is a 10 year plan .Just level the "Square" and make it a real "square" That old health food store the insurance place the dry cleaners .Sh#t They own the property where the library was to go.Just cut the B.S. planning talk and rebuild the place with benches sidewalks parking that wont get you run over trying to get to. Maybe our county representative (Malick) Can take charge like she said she was going to do in her campaign run!Well maybe that asking for to much! Just get it going get it done .we cant afford another 10 year plan like the jarmans gap widening

Yikes !!! Get off the pipe .This is 2010 not 1910 . put on your hemp jacket and go for a long walk til the drugs where off.

Yikes, Yikes ! Then you'll be ranting and raging about horse sh....manure in your bike wheels and on your shoes !! Come on.

@Cville Eye: With railroads? Rights of way were government grants or outright land grabs back when the tracks were laid, so not so much.