City ponders plan to extend TOD zoning westward along Broad Street

A map shows where TOD-1 zoning would be applied along Broad Street west of Interstate 195. The different colored areas reflect future land use recommendations from the Richmond 300 plan. (Images courtesy of the City of Richmond)

A plan to update zoning along another stretch of the GRTC Pulse bus line is making its way through City Hall, while recently approved zoning along another section of West Broad Street is getting a second look related to building height restrictions.

City planners last week presented their proposal for extending the city’s TOD-1 zoning along Broad from Interstate 195 to city limits at Staples Mill Road. The plan was requested in March by City Councilman Andreas Addison, whose First District includes the area.

The plan would change the corridor’s mishmash of business and residential-office designations to TOD-1, or Transit-Oriented Nodal District, which encourages higher-density, mixed-use and pedestrian-oriented development along the rapid transit bus line, in keeping with recommendations in the city’s Pulse Corridor Plan.

The changes also would follow the recommendations of the city’s Richmond 300 master plan for future land use along the corridor. That plan envisions the area of Broad and Malvern Avenue specifically as “no longer a ‘dead spot’ between Scott’s Addition and Willow Lawn; but rather a place with multifamily residential options mixed with retail and offices,” according to the presentation.

Existing zoning along the corridor consists of primarily business and residential-office districts.

The plan also anticipates a new Pulse station in the area of that intersection. In his presentation to the Planning Commission last week, city planner William Palmquist said funding is available for a new station at the nearby Kent Road intersection with construction and associated pedestrian improvements scheduled in fiscal year 2029-30.

Planners noted that, of about 86 acres that make up the proposed rezoning area, nearly half of that land — 42 acres — are devoted to parking or traffic circulation. Allowing more uses through potential redevelopment would add density to such properties, as well as add to the city’s tax base.

The changes also would add to allowable building heights along the corridor, with

TOD-1 generally allowing up to 12 stories, compared to about three stories under the existing zoning.

While 12 stories would be the maximum allowed, heights would be regulated according to an inclined plane originating from the third story of the rear of a structure if it’s adjacent to a residential district. The approach is meant to ensure a transition from shorter residential buildings to taller frontages along Broad.

Planners have scheduled a community meeting on the plan for Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually and precede a formal presentation to the Planning Commission and City Council, with potential adoption in January.

Zoning changes approved in July restricted building heights on the south side of Broad Street along the Fan District through B-5 and B-6 zoning. A new proposal would apply TOD-1 with an overlay district to maintain existing building height limits.

TOD with height overlay proposed along the Fan

Meanwhile, Pulse-driven zoning changes on another stretch of Broad could get reworked under a proposal that goes before the City Council at its meeting tonight.

Second District Councilwoman Katherine Jordan is requesting the change, which would add TOD-1 zoning along the south side of Broad adjacent to the Fan District, while restricting building heights through the addition of an overlay district.

Commercial properties fronting Broad on the Fan side of the street were rezoned B-5 Central Business and B-6 Mixed-Use Business districts in July, as part of a larger zoning change for properties across Broad in and around the Carver and Newtowne West neighborhoods.

The B-5 and B-6 zonings restrict heights to five and four stories, respectively, but Jordan said the change to TOD would allow for more uses than what’s permitted in those districts.

Katherine Jordan

By combining TOD with a building height restriction overlay, those same height restrictions would remain in effect while allowing more uses consistent with TOD zoning across the street, Jordan said last week while presenting the proposal to the city’s Land Use, Housing & Transportation Committee.

“When these two south side sections were zoned B-5 and B-6, the intent was to get it closer aligned with the Pulse Corridor study that council unanimously approved in 2017. We’ve worked with the planning office and feel like a TOD-1 with height overlay is actually more in keeping both with the Pulse Corridor Plan and with the goals of TOD-1 Richmond 300,” Jordan said.

“It allows for more uses, it’s less restrictive on parking and it more closely conforms with what the community had worked on with the planning office and what had been voted on,” she said. “We’re just trying to get things closer to that original plan than it is currently right now as B-5 and B-6.”

The south side of Broad in that stretch, between Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Ryland Street, had originally been targeted for TOD-1, but that change was withdrawn from an earlier proposal due to concerns from the West Grace Street Association and other neighborhood groups, which said the allowable building heights would dwarf adjacent residences in the Fan.

The City Council is slated to vote on the height overlay and TOD zoning change at its regular meeting at 6 p.m.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
15 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
21 days ago

Tall buildings on Broad Street are great.

And all of Scott’s Addition should be TOD-1, rather than the current hodgepodge

Peter James
Peter James
21 days ago

100% agreed. Having that level of consistency (blanket TOD-1 zoning) for all of Scott’s would at least make it possible for developers to bring larger projects (for example buildings up to 12 stories) within the neighborhood (as opposed to only the perimeters) without having to go through the SUP process. Uniform TOD-1 regulations for the entire neighborhood is a good idea.

Last edited 21 days ago by Peter James
Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
21 days ago

These are terrific ideas, especially the extension of the TOD zone west to the County line. Many of the properties on the north side of the West Broad are split between the City and Henrico. The County has already made it clear it wants the Dabney area to be redeveloped along the lines of Scott’s Addition with heavier densities and mixed uses. By rezoning that side of the road into a more flexible category, it’ll spur redevelopment opportunities and save the Council from reviewing SUP requests for a plethora of properties. Some big ideas are already being bandied about on… Read more »

Gregg Johnson
Gregg Johnson
21 days ago

I think this plan is fine except for extending it over to Monument. The scale of Monument is pretty consistent between Stuart Circle and Willow Lawn, and I think anything more than three or four stories would be out of place.

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
21 days ago
Reply to  Gregg Johnson

Gregg, it doesn’t mention this plan going South to Monument Ave? The only properties South of W. Broad St impacted are those directly along W Broad that are non-Residentual. Residential areas are not receiving TOD zoning changes.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
21 days ago

Look again, It takes it down to Monument on either side of 195. But based on what is currently there on those properties I don’t have a problem with that limited area being included. It could created a nice node to offset the far end of Monument at Stuart Circle and also what exists and could be built at Willow Lawn and Monument.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
21 days ago

A new Pulse stop is planned for 2029-30; is that a joke! That is 8 years from now and not in any ACTUAL construction plan. City and GRTC only actually plan 5 years out. And no agency can bind the hand of future groups with spending. And what about improvements at Staples Mill. I dare anyone to try and cross Broad Street. No crosswalk, no signs, no signals. Many time you stand on the slim median once you get 1/2 across hoping a large truck doesn’t come by. Also, as others have said (on other platforms) WHERE are the Richmond… Read more »

Jerry Roane
Jerry Roane
21 days ago

Self-driving high speed guideways vehicles will do away with old transit ideas. Transit average speed was 17 mph where self driving EVs are clean and travel at 180 mph powered by only the sun’s radiation.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
19 days ago
Reply to  Jerry Roane

Beam me up!

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
19 days ago
Reply to  Jerry Roane

It’s unrealistic for something like that to be on Board Street. The City of Richmond could try asking Elon Musk to dig a subway tunnel under Board Street. But I really think Richmond would be great if they fixed the sidewalks first before going after pie in the Sky ideas that eat up lots of money.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
19 days ago

I really think the City of Richmond should get rid of 35 foot height limit across the whole city and replace it with 45 feet or 50 feet to raise the supply of housing. Also if homes are larger they could raise more taxes..

Mark Slater
Mark Slater
19 days ago

Certain bus lines and bus stops, many in predominantly black neighborhoods, were eliminated in order to make the Pulse possible. Recently, most of the big increases in assessments have occurred in predominantly black neighborhoods. It’s strange how annexation attempts by the city were called racist but taxing black people out of their homes and taking away their transit is considered progressive and commendable.

Roger Turner
Roger Turner
17 days ago
Reply to  Mark Slater

I am not sure I follow the point. Are you saying that “certain bus stop were eliminated…..in black neighborhoods to make way for the pulse” as being intentional or even discriminatory? You certainly can’t have “high speed” bus service with stops every 100 yards. I can’t imagine the criticism the Pulse project would have received if it bypassed black neighborhoods all together. It seems to me if you have an agenda you can make an argument about every single thing in life you don’t agree with. When you ask people what they want in their place to live almost all… Read more »

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
15 days ago
Reply to  Roger Turner

There was a ton of controversy with the Pulse routes and the disruptions it made to previously established routes many were reliant on. Amaxing how our amnesia works. GRTC has a hisyory plagued with inbedded racism. Lest we forget. And while they have progressed, we still have natural gas pipes recently installed right next to GRTC stops all along Chamberlayne. Seems unhealthy and just awful installation placement but GRTC hasn’t faught back and so people are now subjected to the fumes or whatever it may be coming out of these pipes right at their bus stops. Please spare us the… Read more »

Patrick Bedall
Patrick Bedall
11 days ago

I own a property in the rezoning area around Malvern and Broad. What would a rezoning mean for me?