Jahnke Road, schools funding calculations, parks, conservation areas in the East End…many things going on with the City!
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. Follow along tonight at 6:00 PM, on WCVW (channel 57) or #rvacouncil on Twitter.
CITIZEN COMMENTS ON THE AGENDA
Only eight speakers scheduled this week, with varying topics on their mind (PDF). Wait, no, it’s almost entirely the Richmond Public Schools budget that they want to chat about. One speaker will talk about procurement for an African American media provider, and another will be discussing the Maggie Walker statue–maybe to be like “Guys, I am really into this whole idea!” You never know!
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Here are the agenda highlights!
The National Recreation and Park Association would like to give Richmond Parks and Rec $5,000 to help them implement the NRPA’s new “Commit to Health” family education initiative. Because I feel bad about just having eaten an entire jelly doughnut while working in bed, I feel doubly supportive of this initiative.
Ord. 2016-018, 019, 020, 021, 022, 023, 024, and 025 aka “The Jahnke Road Property Acquisition Ordinances”
The City is paying a bunch of property owners on and around the area of Jahnke Road between Forest Hill and Blakemore so that it may do some drainage and transportation improvements. They’re voting to authorize the City to “acquire by condemnation” a portion of these properties, according to City Charter § 18.03. That language basically says that the City can give property owners money for the part of the property and take it, if it’s for the public good.
This ordinance modifies the City Code so that building bicycle corrals and parklets (little parks with public seating and maybe some bike racks and greenery!) can legally be in our way. Is this in preparation for the Bike Share? Maybe! Let’s say “parklets” again! Parklets!
The City will also be grabbing some bits of property along Commerce Road between Bells and Mellemeade to do some drainage improvements and make it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. See the staff report (PDF) for more detailed information.
Council is striking and replacing a bunch of sections from the existing performance agreement (for a mixed-use development at 201 W. Brookland Park Boulevard (PDF)) between itself and the Dixon/Lee Development Group.
Back in 2010 the city government and Richmond Public Schools bought their insurance separately, which was probably super inefficient. Since then they’ve been buying them with their powers combined (yay!) but without a formal agreement (boo!). This ordinance formalizes things.
A “Conservation Area” designation allows the City to focus its housing efforts. This means removal of blight, clearing up some title situations, and start just yelling “EMINENT DOMAIN!!” to everybody who stands in their way. That’s a joke, hopefully. This resolution defines the Church Hill Conservation Area as “in the area bounded by Nine Mile Road, North 31st Street, Kuhn Street, North 33rd Street, S Street, and North 27th Street.” For more detailed plans and information, check this lengthy plan out (PDF).
The above, but for this region: “the area bounded by Fairfield Avenue, Interstate 64, Nine Mile Road, and North 27th Street, and including Tuxedo Boulevard.” So, basically, right next to the Church Hill Conservation Area.
Council wants to know, direct from the School Board horse’s mouth, what percentage of the city’s real estate tax rate would be required to cover the “costs of operations for the school divisions.” School Board must show their work or will lose points (the resolution specifies “with supporting calculations”). School Board may want to plead the fifth on this one, because the percentage they end up with is going to be super high and will serve as an excellent talking point for those that do not want to fully fund our dilapidated school system and underpaid teachers.
We’re into this ordinance, which would require any significant city project to have its plans, reports, studies, and financial information posted on the internet. Right now the best (only?) way to find that information is to search through Planning Commission and Urban Design Committee agendas for PDFs. This is…not the best.
The RRHA and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation want to partner together to build 182 multi-family dwellings up on 1st Street in Jackson Ward. Part of those (72 units) will serve as a replacement for the Fay Towers in Gilpin Court–you can learn about some of the back story over at the Richmond Free Press. This Special Use Permit would adjust parking requirements, building materials, and limit which and when alcohol can be sold in some of the commercial spaces. Here’s the massive plan that gives you a feel for what it all would look like.