I was delighted when all three candidates for the 5th District City Council seat attended last week’s neighborhood association meeting. Meanwhile, rvanews.com is doing a valiant job of collecting responses to questions: If you support the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what specifically will you do to ensure the plan is implemented? […]
I was delighted when all three candidates for the 5th District City Council seat attended last week’s neighborhood association meeting.
If you support the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what specifically will you do to ensure the plan is implemented? If you oppose the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what steps will you take to correct, change, or modify the plan?
Mark Brandon: (2/4)
I have been involved in this master plan process from the beginning. As a civic association president in the West Main/ Cary/ Parkwood Ave area we lead the rezoning’s in the area using many of the same principals now at play in the Downtown Master Plan. Working closely with VCU dept of Urban Studies and Planning we passed at city council the West Main Street Corridor Plan in 1998. In 1996 I took a lead role with the West Cary Street Revitalization Plan, which has changed the face of Cary Street, from Meadow toward VCU. Still using those same urban design principals, I was a founding member of this local chapter of the Sierra Club’s Restore The Core Committee. My nine years in New York City as a business operator and mass transit patron I understand “the new urbanism” principals that should shape master plans in all areas of our city.
The downtown plan needs no more changing and needs to be passed NOW ! Richmond no longer needs to accommodate the needs of a few would be developers. Our Downtown is hot and on the move; let’s pass this plan and get back to work on the rest of our town.
Marty Jewell (incumbent): (0/4)
Lee Shewmake: (2/4)
I support the Downtown Master Plan. Implementing the plan will involve a great deal of marketing to developers to ensure we get the projects we want. Richmond has historically fallen short in the marketing of itself and this must change. I would also support a streamlined approval process for development at a location that matches the Master Plan goal for that location. I would also ensure that any proposed changes or deviations from the plan were well advertised to the public and meetings held for the public’s input and approval. The Master Plan is only useful if the city government approves projects that match closely to the plan. Unfortunately in the past, projects not fitting with or remotely similar to the previous Master Plan have been permitted, which to me defeats the purpose of expending significant time, effort and money to develop a plan. Arbitrary set asides to encourage development for development’s sake is in stark contrast to the purpose of developing a plan, which is about deciding ahead of time generally what you want and where you want it. As most agree, our existing old and historic neighborhoods, whether they possess an actual designation or not, are one of Richmond’s greatest assets. One of the few that distinguishes the city from surrounding localities. The impact to these areas and the people and businesses currently there must be the priority when considering altering or deviating from the Master Plan.