The Agenda: Local government briefs for 6.1.20

Richmond joins counties in entering Phase One reopening

Following a two-week delay, the City of Richmond moved into Phase One of the state’s Forward Virginia reopening plan on Friday, with city government offices allowing limited in-person services starting today.

Non-essential retail businesses in the city can now operate at 50 percent capacity, as can restaurants and bars that can provide outdoor seating. Places of worship can reopen at 50 percent capacity, personal grooming businesses can operate by appointment, and outdoor classes are allowed for fitness and exercise businesses.

Entertainment and public amusement venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys remain closed, as do schools. Restaurants and bars are urged to keep a log of dine-in patrons for contact tracing, and places of worship are encouraged to continue digital gatherings and meet outdoors.

Face coverings that cover the mouth and nose remain encouraged, and are now required in public indoor spaces and workplaces per a state order. Six-foot social distancing also remains encouraged.

The city’s move into Phase One comes two weeks after area counties began the phased reopening. Mayor Levar Stoney requested a two-week delay for Richmond in light of the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the city. A second request for a modified opening plan for the city was denied by the governor’s office.

Updated guidance on reopening in Richmond is available here. City offices that are open to the public on a limited basis are listed here.

Chesterfield launches $5M grant program for businesses

Chesterfield County and the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce is launching “Back in Business,” a grant program to support small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19. The $10,000 grants are designed to provide immediate relief to businesses to help them remain in business through the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for reopening under the guidelines of Forward Virginia.

The $5 million dedicated for the grant program will come from the federal funding that the county received from the federal CARES Act. Eligibility criteria for the program and the application process were expected to be confirmed by the end of May, and applications are anticipated to be open in early June. Details on the program can be found here.

Courthouse Landing gets thumbs-up from Chesterfield commission

An earlier site plan of Courthouse Landing. The project has since been revised, with retention ponds removed. (Submitted file)

The Chesterfield County Planning Commission unanimously endorsed the latest version of the proposed Courthouse Landing development at its meeting last month. The $265 million development, proposed for 122 acres southeast of the Route 288-Iron Bridge Road interchange, now goes to county supervisors for final approval June 24.

The commission had given the project a thumbs-down to in December, but supervisors in January gave the developers more time to address concerns about projected traffic and school impacts, and the site’s proximity to Chesterfield County Airport.

The project has since been modified to remove retention ponds and limit water detention facilities to a 48-hour detention time, to prevent waterfowl from congregating in proximity to the airport. Building heights are restricted to 60 feet, and the project calls for a phased development to balance out residential and commercial construction.

Other changes include the addition of a sound suppression system for residential properties, and traffic improvements including additional turn lanes at the intersection of Iron Bridge and Courthouse roads. Plans call for a 120-room hotel, 365,000 square feet of retail and office space, 115,000 square feet of self-storage space, and 600 multifamily units split between apartments and condos.

Petersburg designates outdoor dining area for restaurants

The City of Petersburg established an outdoor dining area in its Old Towne district to allow for increased outdoor seating for restaurants.

A portion of Sycamore Street between Bank and Bollingbrook streets is closed off as “Old Towne Square,” in which participating restaurants can provide additional seating in compliance with Virginia ABC regulations and the governor’s Forward Virginia Phase One guidelines. The area will remain closed to vehicular traffic until Phase Three of the state reopening plan.

City Council committee, planning board meet Monday

The Richmond Planning Commission meets Monday at 1:30 p.m. Full agenda here.

Business on the agenda includes a request from Kemp Enterprises to modify its plans for a hybrid residential-and-storage development along Hull Street Road just east of Warwick Road. The project, which was approved last year, now calls for an initial phase consisting of a minimum of 240 age-restricted apartments, 157,000 square feet of self-storage space and four-story building heights.

City Council’s Organizational Development Standing Committee meets Monday at 5 p.m. The committee will receive an update on the Richmond 300 master plan, a draft of which was to be released that day, as well as a presentation on a new city website. It also will receive updates on third-quarter budget re-appropriations, and on one of two unsolicited offers the city has received for land once eyed for the Navy Hill project.

Goochland supervisors to discuss county administrator search

Goochland supervisors meet Tuesday at 2 p.m. Business on the agenda includes a closed session to discuss recruitment of a county administrator to replace John Budesky, who has been named the new administrator for Hanover County. Full agenda here.

Henrico energy-efficiency efforts recognized

Henrico County and the University of Virginia were recognized by the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council for innovation in their efforts to drive energy efficiency in schools, libraries, university construction and government buildings. The two green-building programs received the council’s fifth Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards last month.

Henrico’s program has involved building or renovating 16 government buildings and schools to LEED certification standards since 2011, and the county is pursuing certification of LEED Silver or higher on six current projects. The efforts are credited with reducing energy use by approximately 30 percent.

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