CityLogo112Monthly Update December 2009

Dwight Jones, Mayor
Rachel Flynn, Director, Community Development

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C.A.R. Meetings
The Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) Taskforce is holding meetings to review its process and guidelines.
The next meeting is scheduled for Thur., Dec. 3 at 4:00PM. All meetings are open to the public.
Census 2010
Census 2010 
Census Feature of the Month
Are you a teacher or a parent?
Teach your kids the importance of participating in the Census with these learning materials, tools, games, and web pages.
Upcoming Meetings
Unless noted, all meetings take place in City Hall, 5th Floor Conf. Room.
CAR Task Force
Thursday, Dec. 3
4:00 p.m.
Richmond Fire
200 W. Franklin St.
Board of Zoning Appeals
Wednesday, Dec. 2
Wednesday, Jan. 6 
1:00 p.m.
Planning Commission
Monday, Dec. 7
Monday, Jan. 4
1:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 10
Thursday, Jan. 7 
10:00 a.m.

3:30 p.m.
Quick Links
To report a property maintenance violation or to make a request,
please use the Citizens' Request System.
Quick Resources
Newsletter Archives
 Click below to read a previous issue.
Manchester Rezoning Meeting Recap
DCD Staff held its third public meeting concerning the Manchester Rezoning as part of the Downtown Master Plan process. More than 50 people turned out for the open house and meeting at the Sacred Heart Center on Perry Street to review the rezoning proposal, ask questions, and provide feedback. The rezoning proposal was developed by City staff working collaboratively with the community.

Presentations for suggested changes in Manchester both east and west of Commerce Road were given and received support from most residents and property owners in attendance. Feedback that was provided that evening will be presented to the City Planning Commission as it considers authorizing staff to draft an ordinance to rezone the area. Opportunities for additional feedback will be provided at formal public hearings in front of the City Planning Commission and City Council in early 2010.
City staff concluded the public meeting by offering to provide presentations to interested civic and business associations in the area. A presentation was provided to the Hull Street Merchants Association on November 24th and a presentation to the Manchester Alliance is scheduled for December 9th.
Union Hill Old & Historic District
City Council voted on Nov. 23 to establish Union Hill as Richmond's newest Old & Historic District. The process was vetted and discussed through a special public hearing of the Commission of Architectural Review, as well as regular meetings of the Planning Commission, City Council Land Use & Housing Committee, and the entire City Council.  
The Old & Historic District requires property owners to seek approval from the city's Commission of Architectural Review (CAR), which assists and advises property owners in matters involving historic resources, renovations, and demolitions.
A Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) is required when any proposed work alters the exterior appearance of the property as it is viewed from a public street or alley and approval must be obtained before work can begin. A CoA is also required prior to any work that requires a building permit and is required for the main structure on a lot as well as accessory buildings, fences, exterior lighting, driveways and walks, and any other features visible to the public.

You can download a copy of the Old & Historic District Handbook and Design Review Guidelines or visit the CAR Home Page. The guide is a useful resource for property owners, occupants, landlords, members of the design and construction professions and anyone wishing to alter a property within any of the city's Old and Historic Districts.

The CAR was established in 1957 and oversees 16 multiple-property districts and some 30 individual property districts comprising nearly 4,000 properties.

The CAR meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month except in November and/or December, when the meeting is held on the third Tuesday. Visit the CAR web page for a list of current meeting dates and submission deadlines.
Defining Blight and State Code Requirements
The legal definition of a "blighted property" refers to any individual commercial, industrial, or residential structure or improvement that endangers the public's health, safety, or welfare because the structure or improvement upon the property is dilapidated, deteriorated, or violates minimum health and safety standards, or any structure or improvement previously designated as blighted pursuant to 36-49.1:1, under the process for determination of "spot blight." 
A property is generally considered to be blighted if it meets the above definition and also meets the following conditions:
- Vacant and/or boarded for at least one year.
- The subject of complaints.
- No longer being maintained for useful occupancy.
- In a dilapidated condition or lacks normal maintenance or upkeep.
The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) establishes minimum regulations to govern the construction and maintenance of buildings and structures.

The provisions of the USBC are based on nationally recognized model building and fire codes published by the International Code Council, Inc. The USBC also contains administrative provisions governing the use of the model codes and establishing requirements for the enforcement of the code by the local building departments and other code enforcement agencies.

You can view the Virginia Maintenance Code here.
Fighting Blight Makes A Difference
Code Enforcement inspectors are always on the lookout for violations that can make a big difference in the asthetics and safety of your neighborhood.
Take for example the house below, located in the Fan District. Before and after pictures demonstrate how even the little things such as paint and presentation can make a big difference.

1309 Before