Concern Grows About Ord. 2012-74
C. Wayne Taylor has more City government news to share: Ordinance 2012-74 is scheduled to go before Richmond City Council on June 11th. The ordinance would give the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) additional authority to grant exceptions to the city’s zoning regulations. The ordinance was discussed at the Council’s informal meeting held on May […]
C. Wayne Taylor has more City government news to share:
Ordinance 2012-74 is scheduled to go before Richmond City Council on June 11th. The ordinance would give the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) additional authority to grant exceptions to the city’s zoning regulations.
The ordinance was discussed at the Council’s informal meeting held on May 29th. Councilor Samuels stated that he was getting many phone calls about the ordinance. The administration was pushing very hard for Council to adopt the ordinance without delay.
The administration kept the preparation of the ordinance a secret and did not tell the Planning Commission about it until the Commission was asked to initiate a code amendment. One commissioner is recorded in the minutes as surprised by the request.
The administration gave the Planning Commission false and misleading information. For instance, the Commission was told that it takes 4 to 6 months to get a Special Use Permit approved by City Council. The actual time is closer to 2 months. Another example: the Commission was told that the BZA cannot grant a variance under the existing standard except under very extraordinary circumstances. Actually, about 20% of the BZA approvals are for variances.
The administration repeated the “4 to 6 month” claim to City Council on May 29th. The administration also told Council that the ordinance does nothing more than expand on existing provisions. In fact, it adds several totally new subsections.
The administration repeatedly told Council that the changes are no big deal. New sub-section 17 in the proposed ordinance gives the BZA control over building heights. The BZA would be given authority to allow a building of any height in all but a few districts. Given that the BZA approved 90% of the requests it considered it 2011, one should expect most requests for additional building height will be approved. (City Council approved a 160’ tall building at the Dominion Resources site along the riverfront. The BZA would certainly refer to that.)
The Council agreed to Mr. Samuels request for a delay. Mr. Samuels wants the administration to attend a neighborhood association meeting to address citizens’ concerns.
A brief summary of the May 29th meeting can be seen by clicking here.
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