Supervisors fail to reach conclusion on dog parks

Following its second work session on the topic, the Henrico Board of Supervisors remains undecided about whether to alter a county ordinance in order to permit private dog parks.

Board members discussed the matter Dec. 11 but failed to reach a consensus about whether to move forward with it. The matter arose initially when the Wyndham Foundation inquired about the possibility of building such a park within its community, citing interest from residents who responded to a survey.

County officials do not recommend that the board authorize the establishment of private dog parks, County Manager Virgil Hazelett told the board. But if the board chooses to permit them, officials recommend that it does so with the same standards that apply to public dog parks – except within multi-family housing communities, where standards could be relaxed.

During the Dec. 11 work session, county planners told supervisors that they would recommend private dog parks in single-family communities be at least one acre in size with 400-foot setbacks on all sides and a five-foot fence around the perimeter of the park.

But within multi-family communities, planners would recommend that such parks need be only a half-acre at minimum and be located within the interior of the development, though not necessarily subject to setback requirements.

The Wyndham Foundation felt that the standards proposed by planners were too restrictive and not appropriate for their concept of a dog park, Henrico principal planner Ben Blankenship told the board.

Henrico’s first public dog park opened in October 2011 at Dorey Park. Another one is being considered at Short Pump Park, Three Chopt District Supervisor Dave Kaechele said.

Board Chair Dick Glover appeared visibly agitated during the discussion last week, suggesting on several occasions that the board should either act or quit talking about the matter.

“This is, what, the third meeting that we’ve had on this?” Glover said. “And we’re no farther along than we were when we started.”

Kaechele is expected to meet with Wyndham officials again to determine whether supervisors will take any action on the matter or not.
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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The 13th annual Gallmeyer Farms Strawberry Fields Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Berry Patch, 3622 Darbytown Ct. in Varina. The festival features fresh local strawberries (pick your own or pre-picked), live music, food and craft vendors, free hay rides, pony rides ($5) and more. Coolers, chairs and picnics welcome. Admission and parking are free. No pets. For details, visit http://www.gallmeyerfarms.com. Full text

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