The Agenda: Local government briefs for 8.3.20

A map of the B-3 zoning district in the city. (Submitted)

B-3 amendment, rezoning proposals on city planning agenda

The Richmond Planning Commission meets Monday at 1:30 p.m. Full agenda here. Business includes a pair of resolutions declaring the city’s intent to amend the B-3 General Business zoning district and to rezone certain properties within the district.

The amendment to B-3, found across the city but primarily south of the river along Midlothian Turnpike, Hull Street and Jefferson Davis Highway, is intended to remove uses considered incompatible with adjacent neighborhoods, improve aesthetics and walkability along such corridors, and allow for higher density and the creation of a sense of place, according to a staff report.

The amendment would remove adult entertainment businesses as a permitted principle use and would restrict so-called predatory lending businesses in B-3. Adult entertainment businesses then would only be allowed in M-1 and M-2 industrial districts. Permitted principle uses would be expanded to include breweries, dwelling units of any kind and small manufacturing uses.

Other changes would discourage parking lots, reduce building setbacks and decrease maximum signage limits.

The amendment was added to the commission’s July 20 agenda but was deferred to include the companion resolution concerning B-3 properties to be rezoned. Areas determined to be incompatible with B-3 would be identified and proposed for rezoning consistent with the Richmond 300 Master Plan, which is slated for adoption later this year.

Richmond disaster loan recipients can convert loans to grants

Businesses that have already received a loan through the Richmond Small Business Disaster Loan Program now have the option to convert those loans to grants, following a recent authorization by the city’s economic development authority.

The city has allocated $1 million of its $20.1 million federal CARES Act appropriation to the EDA to pay for the program. To date, the EDA has approved 48 loans totaling $934,920.

Created in April, the program provided loans of up to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in the city to help pay employee wages. Under the original program guidelines, payments were deferred for the first six months, with zero percent interest to repay the loan over four years. Economic development department staff is contacting all borrowers under the program to inform them of the grant option.

The city and EDA are finalizing plans to launch a new grant program, using $3 million in CARES Act funding, for small businesses that experienced financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hanover extends deadline for small business grant program

Hanover County has extended the application period for its Small Business Resiliency Grant program through Aug. 14. The program provides one-time, emergency funding up to $7,500 to for-profit small businesses in the county. Applications will be chosen for funding on a random basis until the funds are exhausted. For more information, click here.

Hanover launches local job search app

Hanover County Economic Development launched a local job search app. The “Hiring in Hanover, VA” app provides links to business’s job pages or job search websites with local listings of businesses based in the county. Businesses that want to be listed on the app can apply here.

Goochland refinances bond series

Goochland County announced it has completed a refinancing of the Virginia Resources Authority Series 2012 Tuckahoe Creek Service District Bonds, which will net $12.1 million in debt service savings. The county sold the bonds through the Virginia Resources Authority and closed on the sale July 29.

Goochland issued $61.3 million in new current-interest-rate bonds via the Virginia Resources Authority to replace the Series 2012 bonds. The sale resulted in $8.5 million (15.2 percent) in net present value debt service savings.

The Tuckahoe Creek Service District is a water-and-sewer service district created in 2002 to provide services in eastern Goochland in order to encourage economic development in the district, which includes the West Creek Business Park, and the Notch at West Creek.

Henrico appoints finance director after predecessor takes Powhatan job

Henrico County promoted deputy finance director Meghan Coates to director effective Aug. 1. Coates had been serving as acting director since previous director Edward (“Ned”) Smither took a job as county administrator for Powhatan County.

Meghan Coates

Coates joined Henrico in 2019 from Chesterfield County, where she was a budget analyst, manager and director. She has a bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College and a master’s from VCU. With her appointment, Coates also will serve as commissioner of revenue and treasurer for the county, as prescribed by state code.

Richmond mayor pledges funding for Black history projects

Mayor Levar Stoney announced that he would propose a budget amendment of between $25 million and $50 million in the city’s five-year capital improvement plan specifically for “commemoration and memorialization of Richmond’s complete history.”

Priority investments would include the Shockoe area, various African-American burial grounds and the Slave Trail, beginning with a $3.5 million investment in the Shockoe Area Memorial Park. Envisioned by the Shockoe Alliance advisory group, the park would encompass the African American Burial Ground, the Devil’s Half Acre site and two blocks east of the railroad tracks that may constitute a future archeological site.

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