Part 1/ - Drainage Improvement Update - Land Use Committee - Jan. 17, 2012 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.
Robert "Bob" Steidel [Director of Public Utilities] and Rosemary Green [Deputy Director, Technical Services, Dept. of Public Utilities] (pictured above) gave a presentation on the "South Kinsley and Leake Avenues Drainage Improvement Projects" to Council members Doug Conner, Ellen Robertson, and Marty Jewell.
Part 2/ - Papers for Consideration - Land Use Committee - Jan. 17, 2012 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.
During discussion of the first paper, I objected to Mr. Conner's intention to forward a paper to Council without opening the discussion to Citizen Comment. I asserted that Citizens are entitled to comment on all legislation that comes before the committee. When Mr. Conner called for a public hearing there was no one there to speech in favor or opposition to the paper, Ord. 2012-3 [Patrons: Conner & Robertson] City to donate $10,000 to the Partnership for Smarter Growth to assist in applying for a grant for the James River Branch Rail-to-Trails and Cannon Creek Greenway projects.
During the Citizen Comment Period, I raised the issue I have raised many times in the past that holding meetings at 3 PM, precludes 85% of working people from attending Committee meetings.
Pamela Porter [Real Estate Specialist, Dept. of Public Works] presented on a couple of papers dealing with cellphone companies leasing tower space. Another paper to requested the RMA install mile markers on the Powhite Parkway and the Downtown Expressway.
Eggleston Hotel Special Use Permit @ LAND USE - Jan. 17, 2012 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.
Discussion of Ord. 2011-211. More to come soon.
Part 4/5 - Discussion about Kanawha Plaza - Land Use Committee - Jan. 17, 2012 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.
The last two papers for consideration were Resolution 2011-R165 and Ordinance 2011-206. Res. 2011-R165 would reverse a decision of the Commission of Architectural Review [CAR] which denied a Certificate of Appropriateness for the painting scheme of a home located at 402 N. Allen Ave.
Ord. 2011-206 would add a new section to the City Code concerning Kanawha Plaza removing the prohibition on camping, and allow the park to be open 24 hours a day. Currently all city parks prohibit camping and all parks close at sunset.
Charles Samuels [2nd District] introduced the resolution to overturn the Commission of Architectural Review's decision but requested he wanted to continue the paper 30 days.
Catherine Easterling, Secretary of CAR, informed the Committee that the Commission was planning to discuss the issue the following day.
Minutes from the previous meeting were approved. [4:45]
Marty Jewell introduced Ord. 2011-206 with a ten-minute speech [6:00]. Representing Mayor Dwight Jone's administration, Carolyn Graham, Deputy CAO, Dept. of Human Service [17:38], Norman Merrifield, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities [23:45], and Larry Miller, also from Parks and Rec. [24:41], spoke in opposition to the ordinance and argued that protracted camping in public space "would be problematic from a health and safety standpoint."
Alan Schintzius [28:04] and I, Silver Persinger [31:34], spoke in support of the paper. I offered an amendment that would require tents to be removed by 9 AM to prevent "visual blight" downtown. Thinking back on that now, I regret saying that. Perhaps, I was trying to accomodate the official position but realize now I was advocating a half-measure. Oh well, live and learn. I also talked about Occupy Richmond and other things.
After much discussion, Mr. Jewell proposed to continue his paper with amendments, though no specific amendments were proposed at the time [47:55].
Council President Kathy Graziano commented that this paper was not about Occupy Richmond, but was about allowing camping in the park [51:07].
My Two Cents - Comment Period, Time of Meetings, Eggleston Hotel, Free Speech Park - Jan. 17, 2012 @ Land Use from Silver Persinger.
I spoke upon a range of issues at Richmond City Council's Land Use, Housing, and Transportation Standing Committee on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.
During discussion of the first paper, I objected to Mr. Conner's intention to forward a paper to Council without opening the discussion to Citizen Comment. I asserted that Citizens were entitled to comment on all legislation that came before the committee. When Mr. Conner called for a public hearing there was no one there to speak in favor or opposition to the paper, Ord. 2012-3 [Patrons: Conner & Robertson] City to donate $10,000 to the Partnership for Smarter Growth to assist in applying for a grant for the James River Branch Rail-to-Trails and Cannon Creek Greenway projects.
During the Citizen Comment Period, I raised the issue I have raised many times in the past that holding meetings at 3 PM, precludes 85% of working people from attending Committee meetings. [2:41]
I spoke in opposition to Ord. 2011-211, a Special Use Permit for the Eggleston Hotel project in Jackson Ward by developer Kelvin Hanson. My opposition is based in Council's disregard for the Planning Commission's recommendations, the lack of parking spaces the developer will have to provide, and that this paper is being rushed through with lack of public input. [4:31]
Also notable is that the biggest supporter of the project, Ellen Robertson, has not yet disclosed that she has received $1000 cash campaign contribution from the developer in 2004. I feel she should recuse herself from the discussion and the vote. I feel that she hasn't because it would appear "unseemly."
Finally, I spoke in support of Mr. Jewell's paper, Ord. 2011-206, to allow Kanawha Plaza to be a 24 hour park for free speech and camping [7:46]. I expressed my concern that it could lead to a permanent encampment, as a compromise I offered that tents should be removed daily by 9 AM. I went on to talk about my participation with Occupy Richmond, invited Council members to attend a General Assembly, and told them I felt like "a part-time slave" because "I need money to exist."