The Annotated City Council: Agenda for March 28th

Many ORDs! Many RESs! Empty lots becoming things, various groups getting money, Main Street Station progress, and more!

This agenda is so massive as to be a little ludicrous–guys, everything is going to end up being continued! And plenty of things won’t be consented upon! Can we just go in and do it ourselves?

Check out the full agenda straight from the source.

Don’t forget, this all could be changed in whatever magic process they do just before the meeting starts that changes what the agenda is.

Citizen Comments

The discussion will be almost entirely about the mayor’s proposed budget, specifically how it’s going to affect schools. Hold onto your chalk and erasers!

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ORD. 2016-031 AKA “The Open Data Relationship Ordinance”

Open data is pretty cool, and the City has made some progress towards opening up their various data sources (poke around on data.richmondgov.com to see what all is available at the moment). Of course, there’s much left to be done. After the City’s intense pushback last week over putting project plans up the internet, it’s hard to be skeptical about this ordinance which would require the “release of all publishable data in an open format with no legal encumbrance.”

ORD. 2016-036 AKA “The We Need an Auditor Ordinance”

If this were a jellybean jar, we’d ask you to guess the amount of jellybeans with the word “auditor” printed on them to possibly win a prize!

To amend Ord. No. 2015-73-84, adopted May 15, 2015, which adopted a General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 and made appropriations pursuant thereto, to transfer funds in the amount of $223,329.00 from the Debt Service agency and to appropriate the transferred funds to the Office of the City Auditor agency for the purpose of providing funds for the performance of auditing services by an external auditor and by internal auditors within the Office of the City Auditor.

Basically, they’re hiring people to help with auditing. Before, it was Cherry Bekaert, who wanted less money. Now, it’s Grant Thornton. There’s some other math in there, but basically the City has to pay $223,329 more.

ORD. 2016-038 AKA “The BRT Preemptive Strike Ordinance”

If passed, the CAO will have to work up a report about potential adverse effects caused by Bus Rapid Transit construction and outline ways to mitigate these adverse effects. Whoa, we described that in way fewer words than they did.

ORD. 2016-039 AKA “The Lawson Street Special Use Home Building Ordinance”

Four more houses going up in a row on Southside (3303 Lawson Street). Here’s hoping they are affordable and well-made!

ORD. 2016-040 AKA “The Chamberlayne Avenue Artist Studios and Offices Ordinance”

At 3210 Chamberlayne “offices and artist studios” are going up (presumably), which the Ginter Park Residents Association supports.

ORD. 2016-041 AKA “The W. Cary Street Duplex Ordinance”

Looks like a duplex will happen at 1610 W. Cary, which means that some lucky souls will be super close to our office! The Uptown Association supports this. It’ll remove a little blight and produce some taxes, so everyone will likely be on board.

ORD. 2016-042 AKA “The Maple Avenue Houses and Private Street Ordinance”

Now this is interesting! From the Google Street View, it appears that some of the older and more dilapidated houses on 501 and 503 Maple Street were knocked down, and now their lots will be divided in half to provide for four houses and “a private street” according to the ordinance request. The Staff Report says that no letters of support or condemnation have been received, but then the ordinance comes with a healthy attachment of citizen concern letters, citing lack of green space and differences in architectural aesthetic to the existing homes (which are little Cape Cod types, fairly different from the townhome properties proposed). Although, if you look more closely, you will see that it’s multiple letters from the same person. “It will forever negatively impact the area” says she.

ORD. 2016-043 AKA “The Leigh and Catherine Streets Housing Ordinance”

Three different lots are slated to become dwellings for 11 different people (or small families). 1401 and 1405 W. Leigh as well as 1400 Catherine Street will be more densely populated, which is in keeping with the Master Plan and how it describes that area (medium density). The Carver Area Civic Improvement League is in support.

ORD. 2016-079 AKA “The Main Street Station Phase 3 Funding Ordinance”

The state’s about to donate $2,000,000 to help complete Main Street Station’s current transition into a Useful Thing. KEEP SMILING OR THEY MIGHT DECIDE NOT TO.

ORD. 2016-080 AKA “The Did You Know There Was an Allen Avenue Common Ordinance”

The Friends of Allen Avenue Common is giving the City $75,000 to finish up beautifying the southeast median on Allen Avenue (between Park and Monument). While the idea of there being a group that cares that much about this already pretty attractive median tickles me–you guys raised $75,000 for THAT!?

ORD. 2016-081 AKA “The Jefferson Park Fitness Stuff Ordinance”

Meanwhile, the Friends of Jefferson Park are giving the City $61,591-worth of fitness equipment to replace the Rocky-style equipment that is already there. Please note that this is $15,000 less than the Allen Avenue Common.

ORD. 2016-082 and ORD. 2016-083 AKA “The Four-for-Life Ordinances”

Four-for-Life comes from Code of Virginia, § 46.2-694 and regards a $4.25 fee that some motor vehicles get charged as part of their registration. $4 of that fee goes into a fund for emergency services (fascinating!). There are various ways it has to be distributed.

Here are three rules I found about it!

  1. Funds shall only be provided to licensed, nonprofit emergency medical service agencies for the purpose of training and purchase of necessary equipment and supplies.
  2. Non-supplanting funds, and
  3. Failure to report the use of funds by any local governing body will result in funds being retained.

Long story short, Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad are each getting $30,000.

ORD. 2016-084 AKA “The Main Street Station Phase 3 Agreement Ordinance”

Hope you’re still smiling about that $2,000,000 from the state for Main Street Station, because now they have to vote to execute a Project Agreement between the City of Richmond and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation to make sure the way the funds are used is legit and on paper and such. Why are there a bunch of ordinances between this and Ord. 2016-079? Who can know these things!?

ORD. 2016-085, 2016-086, 2016-087, 2016-088, 2016-089 AKA “The Revolving Loan Fund Program Ordinance”

The Revolving Loan Fund provides smallish loans (less than $500,000) to business in the City of Richmond that satisfy a variety of requirements. This stack of ordinances continues and expands that program.

RES. 2016-R014 AKA “The Date with Dad Dinner and Dance Resolution”

$1,000 to Girls for a Change for their 2016 Date with Dad Dinner and Dance.

RES. 2016-R015 AKA “The 5th District Shipping and Handling Resolution”

$3,968.67 for Councilman Agelasto’s Spring/Summer 2016 newsletter.

RES. 2016-R018 AKA “The Wait, Don’t We Already Support This? Resolution.”

The summary for this resolution is “To support the Broad Street Bus Rapid Transit project,” but really its purpose is to set the expectation that GRTC will conduct some studies about how to connect the Pulse to East End neighborhoods (something they’ve already begun work on.

RES. 2016-R019 AKA “The Know Your Lane Miles Ordinance”

Did you know that the state pays each locality $19,958 for every moving lane mile of arterial street and $11,719 for every moving lane mile of local street? To collect that money, you’ve got to have an accurate inventory of all your lane miles, and this resolution adopts the most up-to-date lane mile totals VDOT can offer. Spoiler: Richmond lost $404,538.63 in lane-mile money this year.

RES. 2016-R021 AKA “TTYL Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee Resolution”

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee exists. If this resolution passes, it will no longer. From the Staff report: “At present all fifteen positions on the committee are vacant. The committee has not met in recent years, and no meetings are scheduled.”

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The regular agenda!

ORD. 2015-192 AKA “The Putting PDFs on the Internet Ordinance”

Oh ORD. 2015-192! Sweet, sweet ORD. 2015-192. Last Council meeting, members of the City administration were on hand to list out all the reasons why putting public information online is super duper hard. Council ended up continuing the ordinance to tonight’s meeting, where it may meet its untimely demise. If you’re interested in all the exact reasons why the City’s against an ordinance that’s basically about putting PDFs on the internet, you can read this PDF that…we put on the internet.

RES. 2015-R064 AKA “The Let’s See if We Can Get Panhandlers Jobs Ordinance”

If this passes, a feasibility study would be done to see if Richmond could create a program, like one in Albuquerque, which helps connect panhandlers to day jobs.

RES. 2016-R016, RES. 2016-R017 AKA “The Changes Are Coming to the RRHA Board Resolutions”

We don’t know exactly what, but something is going on with the RRHA board. Several council meetings ago an appointment, which normally pass smoothly without comment, generated a bit of discussion. Now a resolution which would prevent folks form serving more than two consecutive terms and one requiring six nominations for each vacancy. Hmmm.

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