A week after the city’s Planning Commission delayed weighing in on the future of the old Westhampton School site, the City Council has followed suit.
The council on Monday deferred its vote on Bon Secours Richmond’s plan to rezone the school and its 6-acre plot at the corner of Libbie and Patterson avenues.
Bon Secours spokeswoman Carol Billingsley said the rezoning request now will be heard at the July 2 Planning Commission meeting, with hopes to have it go before the City Council again on July 23.
The hospital system has been leasing the vacant property from the city since 2013 and is mulling over what to do with it. Since then, the health system has considered a number of uses for the century-old school, including moving its nursing school to the space.
A few weeks ago, Bon Secours filed a request to rezone the property from single-family residential to mixed-use business district, to allow it to build a medical office development on part of the site and to better field proposals from developers for the remaining pieces, including the school building.
Bon Secours has said it cannot guarantee that development plans will preserve the old school building, which has drawn concern from the surrounding neighborhood. At last week’s meeting, some Planning Commission members said a special-use permit for the property may be an alternative to rezoning.
Bon Secours said it has received 11 proposals from developers for the parcel, but has not provided any further details.
The council’s deferral comes a week after the Planning Commission voted to hold off on recommending a rezoning of the property.
Also potentially looming is a July 1 deadline set as part of the 2013 deal, which called for the future use of the property to be determined by that date.
The consequences of not meeting that deadline remain unclear. Bon Secours deferred to the Economic Development Authority on the matter. The city’s director of planning and development review Mark Olinger confirmed that those details are between the EDA and Bon Secours, noting that it’s not a part of the land use approvals process.
Bon Secours’ lease on the city-owned property dates to 2012, when the nonprofit got control of the land in exchange for helping bankroll the city’s deal to bring the Washington Redskins’ training camp to Richmond. Bon Secours has a 60-year lease on the site for $5,000 per year. The property was most recently assessed at $7.7 million.
On Monday, the City Council also delayed voting on an ordinance that would allow for Stone Brewing to destroy the former Intermediate Terminal Building at 3101 E. Main St. to make way for one of its Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens locations.
It was the sixth time the council has delayed voting on the Stone matter.