Bill to change local rezoning processes shelved by subcommittee

The Virginia Association of Counties received its wish when a bill to change local governments’ rezoning process was killed in a House subcommittee last week.

House Bill 2262, proposed by Del. Rick L. Morris, R-Carrollton, would have required the staff of the local planning commission to advise rezoning applicants about the feasibility of their requests and possibly grant preliminary approval.

On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns voted to table the bill for this legislative session.

That was a relief to VACo, which the day before asked its members to call legislators and urge them to vote against the bill. Gage Harter, the association’s director of communications, wrote on the group’s website that VACo objected to the bill for two reasons.

First, Harter said, it would put the staff of the local planning commission “in the inappropriate position of having to provide the preliminary approvals of rezoning requests.” Moreover, “the bill circumvents the local land use process that all concerned citizens have a chance to comment on rezoning requests in a public hearing before planning commissions and local governing bodies grant or deny rezoning requests,” Harter wrote.

VACo officials were pleased that the subcommittee agreed to put off the bill until legislators can study it after their regular session.

“We really appreciated the delegates, the patrons agreeing to consider that bill in the housing commission during the off season and take a look at the issue in a broader sense,” said Erik Johnston, the association’s director of government affairs.

Besides HB 2262, the General Assembly this session has considered several other bills involving zoning issues. They include:

• SB 889, which would add the city of Fairfax to the list of localities whose governing bodies are authorized to adopt zoning ordinances that provide for an affordable housing dwelling unit program. The bill has passed the Senate and is in the House.

• SB 1248, which would add Charlottesville to the list of cities that may use volunteers to issue notices of noncompliance with certain ordinances related to property maintenance and zoning. It has been approved by a Senate committee and is being considered by the full Senate.

• SB 1355, which would apply certain provisions, including a 60-day time limit, to the process of approval by any local planning commission of a plat or site plan that solely involves commercial real estate. Currently, these provisions apply only in cities with more than 90,000 residents. This bill also has been endorsed by a Senate committee and is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.

– Janeal Downs is a reporter for the Capital News Service.
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

McShin Academy expanding to St. Joseph’s Villa

Two Lakeside-area nonprofits are partnering to create what is believed to be the first recovery high school in Virginia.

The McShin Academy will be a joint effort of the McShin Foundation (a recovery community organization based at Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church in Lakeside) and St. Joseph's Villa (a 183-year-old nonprofit on Brook Road that provides a variety of services for children with special needs). > Read more.

Reynolds CC dedicates student center

Reynolds Community College recently celebrated the dedication of the Jerry and Mary Owen Student Center, named for longtime supporters of the college who have made numerous investments in it.

Jerry Owen served on the Reynolds College Board from 1984 to 1988, and he and his wife support the college’s scholarship fund and created an endowment for the Reynolds Middle College, which helps students earn a high school equivalency and transition into a degree or workforce credential program. > Read more.

Capital One sponsors ‘Coders Experience’

Capital One hosted its “Coders Experience” event in Richmond and a number of other state locations Oct. 14. The events attracted hundreds of middle school girls, who learned how to create their own mobile apps, hone problem-solving skills and gain software development knowledge. A second day of Coders Experience events will take place Oct. 21. More than 500 Capital One volunteers are participating in the 10 events. > Read more.

Hermitage band member named All-American

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Presented by American Family Insurance Selection Tour will visit Hermitage H.S. Oct. 19 to recognize Truman Chancy as a 2018 U.S. Army All-American. Hermitage High School will honor Chancy before his classmates, bandmates, family and friends at the high school’s band room during band practice, and he will be presented with his honorary All-American Marching Band jacket. > Read more.

Crime Stoppers’ Crime of the Week: Oct. 16, 2017

This week, Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers is asking for the public to assist the Richmond Police Department in the identification of wayward artists that were using buildings as their canvas.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 14, four people were recorded on security cameras vandalizing multiple properties in the area of the 2500 blocks of West Main Street and Floyd Avenue. The suspects (pictured) were walking north on Robinson Street and spray painting the properties as they meandered along. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

October 2017

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