The boom is back

(RECAP: While the final numbers aren’t in, Albemarle director of community development Mark Graham says permits for residential units in 2016 could be around 850, a level not seen since 2007’s 831 permits and far exceeding the 514 issued in 2015. Albemarle encourages higher-density development in the 5 percent of the county designated as a growth area in an attempt to keep sprawl from blanketing the rural areas. And the pedestrian-oriented neighborhood model with commercial use thrown in tries to create urbanish centers—even if the development is in the middle of a former cow pasture. “People are buying into the growth area,” says Graham. “We’re not seeing the same amount of rural area development.” Currently about 20 percent of development is taking place in rural areas, down from about one-third in 2007. Crozet, says Graham, is “hot and heavy,” with almost one-third of last year’s residential building permits issued there. The largest of those developments is Old Trail, which is zoned for 2,200 units.)