The Annotated City Council: Agenda for February 8th

Interesting stuff here…Housing, family help, the Virginia Union University and Chamberlayne corridor, and of course, transportation!

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

Hope you’ve got a comfortable couch and some snacks, because this is fixing to be a long meeting, what with two speaker lists (one from the last canceled meeting (PDF) and a fresh new one for this meeting (PDF). Topics include: Maggie Walker statue, schools, police…really there’s a million topics included. Topics don’t include: the BRT! We are shocked!

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Many of this week’s agenda items were continued to the next meeting, due to catching up with various altered committee schedules. Here are the agenda highlights!

ORD. 2015-233 aka “The Tax Exemption Incentive for Building Affordable Housing in Certain Rehabilitation Areas”

Sorry, there was simply no shorter nickname to be had for this one. Currently, residential developers in neighborhoods identified as being in rehabilitation (read: lower income) get a partial tax exemption in addition to some other perks. Ellen Robertson would like to tighten the requirements a little in order to incentivize those developers further: more affordable units, a maximum rent cap, and a couple of other things. But she’d also like to make it more of a golden egg by making the terms 10 years at 100% exemption.

ORD. 2016-001 aka “The Healthy Families Richmond Ordinance”

This $7,462 allotment from the Virginia Department of Social Services doesn’t look like much, but it won’t hurt. This money will go to the local chapter of Healthy Families, which visits new parents that might have trauma counseling needs, substance abuse issues, and other concerns.

ORD. 2016-002 aka “The VUU/Chamberlayne Master Plan”

Check out our What’s the Plan: VUU, Chamberlayne, and surrounding areas. Adopting this plan is what the Council will vote on, as recommended by the Land Use, Housing and Transportation Standing Committee.

ORD. 2016-008 aka “The Cadence Theatre and 1708 Gallery Ordinance”

The City received a grant through the Virginia Commission for the Arts of $5,000–the grant was initiated by 1708 Gallery and the Cadence Theatre Company. Each will get $2,500. Guess we’ve got some interviews to do, huh!

ORD. 2016-013 aka “The Bingo Hall Ordinance”

Say goodbye to bingo and hello to a five-story mixed used development at the corner of Broad and Sheppard if this ordinance passes. The new zoning requested (a change from B-3 to B-5) would allow for a taller building.

ORD. 2016-014 aka “The You Could Live Across from Movieland Ordinance”

There’s a currently vacant building directly across from Movieland, right before the railroad tracks. Urban Core Construction has requested a special use permit to allow them to build some mixed-use development on that property, which would give the tenants the most unbelievably easy access to the movie theater. You can see the plans for the 11-unit, 4-commercial space right here (PDF).

ORD. 2016-015 aka “The Building a Big Development on Hull Street Road Ordinance”

This ordinance would allow special use of a 16-acre property down on Hull Street Road for a bunch of multifamily, affordable housing. The plans (PDF) lay out four structures that would total 88 units.

RES. 2016-R002 aka “The 4th District Newsletter Reimbursement Resolution”

Councilwoman Kathy Graziano printed and mailed her 2016 winter newsletter. It cost her $2,935. The City will now reimburse her for that expense.

ORD. 2015-263 aka “The BRT Ordinance”

This is it! The only item on the regular agenda, the development agreement between the City, GRTC, Henrico County, VDOT, and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transit. This is the vote on Richmond’s Bus Rapid Transit plan. A yes vote and we move forward towards construction; a no vote–or a vote to delay–sends the project spinning off into a fog of unknowns, jeopardizing RVA’s first real step towards modernizing its transportation system in decades. If you’re all “What the heck is a BRT?”, get your questions answered by our BRT FAQ. It’ll take you a good portion of your day to read through, so best get started!

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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