The Annotated City Council: Agenda for March 14th

Taber Bain breaks down all the goings-on at tonight’s City Council meeting, in true Taber Bain style! (That style equals fun and informative, btw).

Phew and boy howdy, do we ever have a bunch of stuff ready to go at this March 14th meeting of Richmond City Council! Some of it will probably be continued off into outer space, but odds are excellent that some of these things will be voted on.

So let’s see what’s in store!

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.

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ORD. 2015-245 & Ord. 2015-246 AKA “The Rezone Land at the Eastern Edge of Shockoe Bottom Ordinance”

Developer Louis Salomonsky owns two little chunks of land, one 0.746 acre chunk and another 0.765 acre chunk at Main and Pear in Shockoe Bottom, and they are currently zoned as M-1 Light Industrial and M-2 Heavy Industrial respectively. However, Mr. Salomonsky would like to build some apartments or condos there, and this is not a thing that M-1 or M-2 permits, so he has requested to have them rezoned to B-5C Central Business District, which is what most of the rest of Tobacco Row is zoned as.

Staff in the city’s planning department recommend approving rezoning for both the 0.746 acre and the 0.765 acre plots because it’s consistent with the general surrounding area and the Master Plan’s recommendation that this spot actually be a mixed-use property instead of a place for industrial things to happen. The applicant also has put up some proffers (Parcel One, Parcel Two) to sweeten the pot: he guarantees that each apartment will have a parking spot and a window, and that the exterior of the building will be “glass and brick.” The developer also binds himself to a maximum building height of 38 feet, in deference to concerns about potential views from Libby Hill, and the condition that rooftop mechanical equipment will be screened from view.

Ord. 2016-030 AKA “The Loose Livestock Law Modernization Ordinance”

This is a clarification of existing law on what happens when farm animals are running loose in the city. City Code 4-91 says that if loose livestock is found in the city–specifically, only cattle, horses, mules, or goats–the Chief of Police is supposed to direct said livestock to be stabled and advertised in the newspaper, and after six days, the animal is supposed to be sold at auction.

This ordinance broadens that from the narrow language of specifying exactly which animals count as animals. Instead, it just says that “animals other than dogs and cats” can’t be allowed to run at large, so this way it covers emus, alpacas, and whatever other insane thing somebody might set loose within city limits. It transfers the authority for managing these stray critters from the Chief of Police to the Director of Animal Care and Control, and provides for them to not only be sold as in current law, but also to be put up for adoption.

Ord. 2016-032 AKA “The Make Sure the Auditor is Included When the City Spends Huge Amounts of Money on Information Technology Things Ordinance”

City officials have blamed a large portion of the recent, extreme difficulties in preparing accurate and timely financial reports on what they describe as a horrifically botched rollout of a new electronic reporting system called RAPIDS, which cost many millions of dollars and by most accounts does not seem to do the things it is intended to do.

2nd District councilperson Charles Samuels has drafted and introduced this ordinance, which would require the city to include a representative from the well-respected Office of the City Auditor whenever they would like to implement any information technology projects with an estimated budget of $1 million or more.

This is presumably an attempt to make sure someone who is sane is involved in such things, which seems like a good idea! It’s scheduled for consent agenda, suggesting that it will pass easily.

Ord. 2016-034 AKA “The Let the CAO Designate Representatives to the RRTPO Technical Advisory Committee Ordinance”

This is a case where the brief title says it all. The Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RRTPO) has a Technical Advisory Committee which includes both a member and an alternate from localities in the Richmond region and agencies that provide transportation services, and this thing just says it’s the city CAO’s job to name the two people that will fill these spots for the City of Richmond.

Ord. 2016-035 AKA “The 3410 Cutshaw Special Use Permit Ordinance”

Developers have a parcel at Cutshaw & Thompson, at the far western edge of the Museum District, and they would like to put some new houses on this parcel. The R-48 zoning right now allows them to do this, but the developers would like to make the lots slightly narrower than this zone would normally allow, so they’ve got to get a Special Use Permit to do what they want.

Staff of the city planning department say it’s fine to approve this, and the Museum District Association says they do not oppose it, so it should be approved without a hiccup.

Ord. 2016-078 AKA “The Yes, Carillon Civic Association, We Will Take Your Money to Fix Your Playground Ordinance”

This is another very easy one to explain! The Carillon Civic Association has $50,830 that they would like to spend to replace and spiff up the playground equipment in Byrd Park, but they need the city’s approval to let them do this. There are few reasons to suspect that the city would not be thrilled to accept free money to remodel a playground, so they will accept this.

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

So this is kind of a neat idea: this ordinance would lead to a feasibility study to see if Richmond could create a program like one currently being run in Albuquerque, New Mexico in which the city would try proactively to get panhandlers connected with day jobs doing landscaping and other simple work. It sounds cool and pretty cheap, and officials in the New Mexico city seem happy with how it’s been going for them so far.

Charles Samuels and Parker Agelasto are listed as patrons of the paper, which surfaced for the first time in November and has since been bounced back and forth between council agendas and the Education and Human Services Standing Committee agendas many times, but this time, it may actually become a thing, since the committee finally forwarded it to the full body, with no specific recommendation.

Stay tuned, and let’s see if we can get a feasibility study going!

Res. 2015-R068 AKA “The Enhanced Speeding Penalties on Dove Street Ordinance”

City traffic surveys have found that people seem to speed a lot on Dove Street between North Avenue and 1st Avenue, so 6th District councilperson Ellen Robertson has requested that the city, through its usual process, makes this stretch of street subject to “Enhanced Speeding Penalties.”

These are a thing that the Code of Virginia authorizes localities to enact at their discretion in places where there are documented speeding problems, and they mean a few specific things for someone who is charged with speeding within them:

  • The administrative fee attached to the fine remains $62, as normal
  • Instead of $5 per mile per hour over the speed limit, the fine will add $7 per mile per hour over the speed limit
  • Additionally, the fine will include, in Richmond, a $200 penalty.

So if this passes, you should be even more careful than you usually are (we hope) to keep your speed down while driving through this area!

Res. 2015-R069 AKA “The Enhanced Speeding Penalties on Newell Road Ordinance”

This would be the same thing as above, but for Newell Road on the Southside, between Westower Drive and Jahnke Road. This road connects Jahnke to a bunch of apartment complexes in the Cedarhurst area, and if you are in the habit of driving fast through here and this ordinance passes, you’d be well advised to knock it off!

Res. 2016-R012 AKA “The Fund Exercise Classes in the East End Ordinance”

Patron Cynthia Newbille has requested $4,000 from her 7th Council District Funds to help pay for weekly Zumba and “Fit to Go” exercise classes at the East District Family Resource Center. These sound like fun! You should probably be going to these if you live in the 7th District, and your councilperson is helping to pay for them, so thank her!

Res. 2016-R013 AKA “The Print Kathy Graziano’s Newsletter Ordinance”

Kathy Graziano would like to spend $2,465 of her Council District Funds so that she can send her constituents a nice newsletter.

Ord. 2015-192 AKA “The Ordinance That Will Maybe Never Be Voted Upon Ordinance”

This is on the Regular Agenda, so maybe it will be voted upon! I think we have written about this ordinance approximately one billion times, but maybe – just maybe – it might become a thing this time.

It would compel the city to, as we have said one skillion times, create one place to keep all the internet documents on projects the city is doing, and we think you will like this, so we hope it becomes a thing!

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Taber Bain

Taber Andrew Bain would like to know your happy hour specials. He
lives in Jackson Ward.

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