C. Wayne Taylor, who has been doing a lot of digging’ on behalf of the neighborhood, recently sent this missive: PLANNING COMMISSION To the Honorable Council of the City of Richmond, Virginia April 3, 2012 At its meeting of April 2, 2012, the Planning Commission voted (7-0) to APPROVE of: Resolution of Intent: To Amend […]
To the Honorable Council of the City of Richmond, Virginia
April 3, 2012
At its meeting of April 2, 2012, the Planning Commission voted (7-0) to APPROVE of:
Resolution of Intent:
To Amend the Zoning Ordinance Special Exception Provisions for the Purpose of
Reducing Reliance on the Special Use Process. All Council Districts
Proposed Council paper introduction: April 23, 2012
Proposed Planning Commission public hearing: May 21,2012
Proposed City Council public hearing: May 29,2012
I recommend that all of you who are interested in sound land use policies for the city make sure you understand this proposal. While the title of the resolution sounds as if the proposal would move the city toward a more rules-based system, it would actual give the Board of Zoning Appeals broader authority to waive existing zoning and subdivision rules.
You should note that the BZA members are appoint the circuit court and can only be removed by the circuit court. Decisions of the BZA are not reviewable by City Council. The only course of action to challenge a BZA waiver would be a circuit court suit.
In my view, this is a very bad proposal. Richmond City Council is the only municipality in the Commonwealth of Virginia that has been given the authority to grant a special use permit that waives zoning and subdivision rules for a property owner. Over the years, City Council has granted thousands of waivers. As a result, the city has thousands of sets of rules for properties in the city and has failed to follow sound land use planning practices. The proposed ordinance perpetuates this situation and moves the process further from the citizens.
I submit that the fair and wise course of action is to have a set of rules that apply to everyone the way it is in all other municipalities. The city should stop granting special use permits. Unfortunately, this would require a charter amendment by the General Assembly. In the meantime, we appear poised to move further away from a rule-based system.
Please make sure you understand the immediate and long-term repercussions of this proposed ordinance. If you are concerned, please forward this information to your friends.
C. Wayne Taylor
1. Planning Commission “Letters” with notice of adopted resolution.
2. Planning Commission Agenda with full text of draft ordinance.
3. Code of Virginia § 15.2-2309. Powers and duties of boards of zoning appeals.
Read more on his blog at CityHallReview.com