UPDATED: The Annotated City Council: Agenda for January 11th

The easy-to-read results are in! Here’s what passed and what was continued, deferred, or whatevered from the January 11th Council meeting.

Update #1 — January 12, 2016; 10:54 AM

Yesterday’s meeting has come and gone! We’ve updated the below agenda by moving anything to the bottom that was either continued, withdrawn, or subjected to another such action that means it was not passed. Happy reading! Or skimming! Or skipping entirely!

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Original — January 11, 2016

Photo by: Marc Tomik

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

These fine people (PDF) are taking the time to speak at a City Council meeting, so that all may hear and some may possibly act!

On the citizen agenda, the Richmond Public Schools budget, the Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority and its lack of resident representative, the re-appointment of the resident commissioner for the RRHA, the Coalition Against Violence, the Maggie Walker Statue, and just the “State of the City of Richmond.” I’m not sure whether that means a general “here is the City as I see it” from this citizen, or whether it’s about the Mayor’s actual State of the City address, which has yet to happen?

Either way, there are bound to be some choice quotes.

Other sticky situations

You may remember that the December 14th meeting was fraught with controversy. To sum up: The Maggie Walker Tree Debate took up much time, pushing the meeting very late indeed, and by the time the Council got to voting on Boulevard stuff, no citizens were around to comment. To top it off, they had basically agreed earlier to NOT vote on it, which affected their votes on some other things. Anyway they voted to begin laying out the proposal-accepting process for developing the City-owned property on the Boulevard, according to the Mayor’s most recent plan–with Jon Baliles saying “Hell no” and Kathy Graziano saying “Wonderful yes!” That is literally what they said!

Prepare for some good times when the minutes from that meeting are approved, testily!

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ORD. 2015-189 aka “The Fire Inspection Ordinance”

If you or your firm are conducting fire safety tests of buildings and businesses, you’ve gotta submit a report to the fire code official, who has the authority to reject it. This is because we have no process for certifying third-party fire inspectors, and we’re not trying to have Richmond burn down again.

ORD. 2015-190 aka “The Open Burning Ordinance”

For the same reasons as above (no interest in having the city reduced to ashes), the fire code official will be given more authority at fires and other emergencies for the specific purpose of pwning people who are openly burning things. #stevenavery

ORD. 2015-191 aka “The Overgrowth Ordinance”

Listen up, this one may affect you. If The Overgrowth Ordinance passes, you’re now breaking the law if you let your weeds get to be more than 12 inches high–this does not include “trees, shrubbery, agricultural plants, garden vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants.” You’re ALSO breaking the law if (assuming you own your property), your vegetation gets in anyone else’s way. This includes stuff protruding into alleys and sidewalks. If branches and stuff fall and accumulate, you’re also breaking the law, as such an accumulation is “offensive, unwholesome, and unsightly.” This ordinance, however justified, makes me laugh. Although I’m sure my laughing will cease when my neighbor starts turning me in for violations. You can get fined up to $3,000 in a 12-month period for successive violations, so get trimming.

This brings to mind a question: Do we get to fine the City for excessive overgrowth on areas such as the “land around the Arthur Ashe statue” or “all those steep embankments leading up to all sides of Church Hill?”

ORD. 2015-205 aka “The Wild Fire Hose Prevention Ordinance”

Apparently if building owners set their fire standpipe outlet water pressure too high (greater than 125 psi), they cause fire hoses to be even more difficult to maneuver than they already are. City infrastructure is vastly complex! Anyway, this ordinance, if passed, will mandate that building owners set their standpipe psi accordingly.

ORD. 2015-207 aka “The Fire Escape Ordinance”

If a building you own has a fire escape, you must maintain it. You must also have it inspected every five years–although I can’t tell what exactly the process will be for enforcing this. So many buildings are grandfathered in with old fire escapes that could impede our progress out of a building if there’s a fire, say, from someone openly burning leaves in the alley and it catches the building on fire because the building was inspected by some bogus third-party official and is actually covered in some highly flammable substance. Suppose the firefighters are dealing with crazy over-pressured hoses and they can’t fight the fire effectively, and we’re inside wondering how we’re going to get down this broken fire escape staircase.

Of course, this is all moot if we get down a perfectly maintained fire escape but we’re blocked from escaping the scene because someone’s dang weeds are obstructing the alley.

everything between this and #11 are to be continued

ORD. 2015-252 aka “The 2% Ordinance”

Basically, the State Compensation Board will give the City more than $300,000 to give constitutional officers and their employees a 2% pay raise. That is…not very much money, so don’t freak out.

ORD 2015-253 aka “The Renaming Ordinance” and ORD 2015-254 aka “The Dominion Arts Center Ordinance”

These were expressly put together in order to facilitate the renaming of Richmond CenterStage to the Dominion Arts Center. It allows the City to transfer naming rights to the Richmond Performing Arts Center (i.e. the tenants of CenterStage, er, Dominion Arts Center), so that they may rename as they wish! To Dominion Arts Center! Because they gave a lot of money!

It’s interesting to know that a renaming law (PDF) exists, so we know that it is possible to change various street names and such–the ones named after people whose canonization indicates a commitment to racism. Just a thought.

ORD 2015-255 aka “The Fulton Hill Ordinance”

Is this normal practice? We’re really interested in this, which gets the Performance Agreement going between the City and Fulton Hill Properties, who are planning to develop some housing up in Fulton, who sorely need it. The City’s throwing in some cash so that there will be some affordable housing in there. But now, they’re voting on a Performance Agreement that isn’t included in any of the attachments–so tonight it’ll be voted on “as amended,” but who knows what those amendments are? Somebody, I guess.

Here’s the City ROI report on this project (PDF), if you’re interested.

ORD 2015-256, ORD 2015-257, ORD 2015-258, ORD 2015-259, and ORD. 2015-264.

These guys clear the way for the construction and development of the above Fulton Hill development. There are various letters of opposition and support in there that are worth reading.

ORD 2015-260 aka “The Barton Mansion Ordinance”.

The home is definitely haunted, says this Style Weekly article about the Barton Mansion on Northside. Sorry, ghosts, you’ll now have to haunt “The Apartments at Terrace Springs.” 2112 Monteiro Avenue will be getting a redo.

ORD 2015-261 aka “The 3100 East Marshall Street Carriage House Ordinance”

Marie B. Assouan will be converting a carriage house in Church Hill to a single-family dwelling, which seems like a smart thing to do!

ORD 2015-262 aka “The OARdinance”

The folks at OAR of Richmond, a group that offers “post-release services…to persons with adult criminal convictions who had been previously incarcerated,” are requesting a special use permit for 3111 W. Clay Street. Since that area (Scott’s Addition) is zoned for mostly industrial uses, OAR needs the permit to conduct what the city classifies as “social service delivery.”

ORD. 2015-269 aka “The Underground Tank Ordinance”

State fire code relating to underground tanks that once contained hazardous liquids has changed, and now so must city code.

ORD. 2015-270 aka “The Bed Bug Hotness Ordinance”

Heating up your living space to 135 °F turns out to be a great way of both killing bed bugs and burning down your house. If this is your business, you now need a permit that’ll cost you $40.00.

ORD. 2015-271 aka “The Know Where to Vote Ordinance”

Citizens of voter precinct 911, you now have a new place to vote: the Community Building at the Southside Regional Park (6255 Old Warwick Road).

ORD. 2015-035 aka “The Audit Ordinance”

Having almost sat on the agenda for a full year at this point, this ordinance would require the city auditor to post up all their audits on the internet.

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Continued, withdrawn, whatevered

ORD. 2014-217 aka “The Downtown Tourism Zone Ordinance”

Well, this is interesting! This ordinance, which would designate a big chunk of Downtown as an official Tourism Zone according to State code, has been bounced back and forth between the Finance committee and the Council since fall 2014. It’s not clear what the amendments have been, exactly, but the benefits of having your business being located within a tourism zone are many–exemptions from some other pesky ordinances and acts, rebates on various things, a smoother path for permit-getting, and more.

ORD. 2015-192 aka “The What’s the Plan Ordinance”

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.

RES. 2014-R184 aka “The Other Boulevard Development Resolution”

See way above for a quick background on last month’s Boulevard Development shenanigans. With the mayor’s version of a path forward already approved, I’m not sure why this is still on the agenda–but here it sits! If it survives until Monday night, I’ll be interested to hear Council’s discussion.

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