City Council Recap - July 27, 2015

In its last meeting until September, the council unanimously passed a consent agenda, though one item stirred emotions on both sides. Most notably, the council once again delayed a decision on the fate of the North Boulevard site near the Diamond.

Highlights

Awards

Children, Vision and Health

Council President Mosby and Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn sponsored a proclamation making August Richmond Children’s Vision and Learning Month. The proclamation aims to raise awareness about the dependence of vision on children’s learning.

Little League Globalization

The council commemorated the 21 year relationships with sister city, Saitama, Japan, in recognition of the biannual little league baseball game between the two cities. A Richmond little league team will travel to Saitama and play a local team.

Adopted Legislation

Patio on Monument Avenue – Ord. No. 2014-221

This item received the most attention during citizen comments period, drawing both supporters and opponents. The ordinance authorizes an outdoor patio for My Noodle & Bar. Opponents mentioned that the historic Monument Avenue, where the restaurant is located, would lose some of its beauty if outdoor seating was allowed. In addition, they were very concerned about noise levels and the safety of the patio given the current state of sidewalks. Conversely, proponents explained that people they had asked had not complained about noise levels, and that the establishment owners would not tolerate disruptive behavior. Ultimately they carried the day.

Early Education Grant – Ord. No. 2015-141

The ordinance authorizes the CAO to accept $300,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support early childhood education. This ordinance was mentioned at the last school board meeting and seemed to prompt excitement.

Kanawha Plaza Improvement Grant – Ord. No. 2015-142

The ordinance authorizes the CAO to accept a $6,000,000 gift from the Enrichmond Foundation for improvements in the plaza. In doing so, it seems to conclude an ongoing process that has raised concerns over a lack of community input.

Stone Brewery – Ord. No. 2015-149

The ordinance authorizes the CAO to accept $5,000,000 in funds from the Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund for the development of Stone Brewery.

Extended Flying Squirrel’s Lease – Res. No. 2015-R44

The resolution gives notice that the City desires to extend the Flying Squirrel’s lease for a year, with the lease ending on December 31, 2017.

Delayed Legislation

Children’s Hospital and the Boulevard – Res. No. 2015-R44

The biggest surprise of the night was that, in spite of recent developments suggesting a final decision being reached regarding this resolution, council decided once again to delay a formal vote on whether or not to obtain a requests for proposals about possible development on North Boulevard by the Diamond. Many are still advocating the space be used for the construction of a free-standing children’s hospital; in fact many supporters, around fifty at the very least, attended the meeting to signal their presence as support for the project. The resolution failed to be considered under expedited consideration, which would have made the council settle the matter that night. Instead, the “No” votes from councilmen Baliles, Samuels, and Agelasto, as well as councilwoman Trammell’s vote rescheduled the vote to September 14th. Councilwoman Trammell added that she was dissatisfied with the handling of the expedited consideration, and that she remains a supporter of the project.

For more information about the Children’s Hospital vote, read the full Richmond-Times Dispatch article here.

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