The Agenda: Local government briefs for 9.13.21

A rendering of the building planned for 1518 W. Main St. (Courtesy of John Conrad)

Proposed technology zone, BPOL tax exemptions on City Council agenda

The Richmond City Council meets Monday starting with an informal session at 4 p.m. Mayor Levar Stoney will present his proposed spending plan for the city’s COVID-19 federal stimulus funds. The council also will discuss next steps for finalizing a related funding plan and receive recommendations from the task force for establishing a civilian review board.

The consent agenda for the 6 p.m. regular meeting includes approval of a plan to redevelop Creighton Court as a residential community of up to 700 dwelling units, and a special-use permit for a 126-unit apartment building planned at 1508 Belleville St. in Scott’s Addition.

Larson Development seeks to rezone 3.4 acres at 1003 Commerce Road from industrial to TOD-1 Transit-Oriented Nodal District to construct a mixed-use development.

John Conrad

Also on the consent agenda is former Councilmember John Conrad’s plan to build two three-story mixed-use buildings at 1505 and 1518 W. Main St. Each building would replace existing parking lots and house up to six one-bedroom apartments and about 1,200 square feet of commercial space. Conrad also plans to renovate the Stonewall Jackson Professional Center building adjacent to 1518 to include five residential condos.

Business on the regular agenda includes a long-deferred technology zone program proposed for the city. First introduced two years ago by Councilmember Andreas Addison, the program is aimed at fostering development and location of tech businesses in the city by exempting qualified businesses from paying the city’s Business, Professional and Occupational License tax for up to five years. The zone would cover the whole city and mirror a similar program adopted in Norfolk.

Addison also is proposing to cut off BPOL tax receipts collected in fiscal year 2022 at about $32.71 million and put excess receipts into a special reserve, or otherwise reduce the BPOL tax. The proposal is aimed at bringing the city’s BPOL tax rate in line with other localities in the region. Councilmember Ann-Frances Lambert is co-sponsoring both of Addison’s proposals.

Full agendas for the meetings can be found here.

The Richmond Planning Commission recommended against a special-use permit for a planned mixed-use conversion of a duplex at 3101-3105 E. Marshall St. in Church Hill. (BizSense file)

Church Hill mixed-use rehab hits snag; bus transfer station advances

At its meeting last week, the Richmond Planning Commission recommended against a special-use permit for a planned mixed-use conversion of a duplex at 3101-3105 E. Marshall St. in Church Hill. Commissioners voted 4-3 against the request, with some members not participating in the vote.

The request had the support of planning staff but received about two dozen letters of opposition from citizens. Commissioners who voted against the project cited concerns about density, parking challenges and loss of green space.

The request now goes to the City Council, which was scheduled to consider the case at its meeting this week but is slated to defer it to its Oct. 11 meeting.

The commission voted 6-2 in support of a temporary GRTC transfer station planned in the city-owned parking lot between Eighth and Ninth streets and between Leigh and Clay streets. The station would replace the current setup on Ninth Street, and the property would be leased on a five-year term with an option for the city to terminate the lease if the property is sold for private development.

A conceptual rendering of Highwoods Properties’ development site. (BizSense file)

Glenwood Golf Course, Highwoods Innsbrook projects on Henrico agenda

Henrico supervisors meet in regular session Tuesday at 7 p.m. Business on the agenda includes a vote on Highwoods Properties’ proposed mixed-use development on about 34 acres at Innsbrook’s northern entrance at Nuckols Road and Interstate 295.

The board is scheduled to vote on Godsey Properties’ reworked proposal to develop Glenwood Golf Course with two residential subdivisions totaling 290 homes. The proposal, reduced from 320 homes, was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission in July.

Also on the agenda, Starbucks Corp. seeks a rezoning to convert the former BB&T branch at 6201 River Road into a new store that would feature a drive-thru. Full agenda here.

‘Build Henrico’ website expands, adds permitting and inspection applications

Henrico County has launched the second phase of its Build Henrico online platform with services related to permitting and building inspections. Henrico residents and the development community now can use the platform to apply for construction permits, request inspections and conduct other business.

Customers can apply for, amend and check the status of building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and other permits; estimate and pay fees; schedule construction inspections; obtain certificates of occupancy; and access other services. Builders and other users will maintain a personal account through a customer portal to manage their activities.

Build Henrico launched in February with an online reporting system for zoning code enforcement and neighborhood concerns, such as potholes and properties with tall grass and weeds. The new section includes a help page with training videos, guidance documents with step-by-step instructions and other resources to assist customers as they create an account and navigate features on the site.

Chesterfield considering construction of two middle schools

Chesterfield County officials are weighing whether to issue $130 million in bonds to bankroll two new middle schools: one in “Upper Magnolia” and another to replace Falling Creek Middle School.

The Upper Magnolia middle school would be built on county-owned land along Route 360’s west corridor to address overcrowding at Tomahawk Creek Middle School and handle the anticipated growth in the area’s student population, according to a county news release.

The bonds would also cover the construction of a new Falling Creek Middle School to be built on the site of the existing school.

Both Tomahawk Creek and Falling Creek middle schools operated at more than 120 percent design capacity during the 2020-21 school year.

The county plans to have both schools open by the beginning of the 2024-25 school year. Each new school would cost about $65 million.

The School Board is expected to vote on the middle school construction Sept. 14. The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and vote on the proposal on Sept. 22.

The proposal would increase the school district’s portion of the November 2022 bond referendum by another $130 million, according to the release.

Hanover seeking grant to help cover costs of broadband expansion project

Hanover County is hoping for a helping hand from the state in its bid to expand broadband access.

Hanover plans to submit an application by Tuesday for grant funding through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative program. The grant would support the Connect Hanover program, a push by the county, CenturyLink and All Points Broadband to provide broadband access to roughly 8,900 houses and businesses, according to a county news release.

The project is expected to cost a total of $60 million. County supervisors previously agreed to put about $17 million received through the American Rescue Plan Act toward the project.

The amount of funding the county plans to apply for via the grant program was still being determined last week, Hanover Information Technology Director Kevin Nelson said in an email Friday. The Board of Supervisors gave permission to the county administrator to finalize the application for the grant last week.

The county expects to learn whether it receives the grant by January. Grant funding would become available in July, and construction on the project would follow, according to the release.

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