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East End News

Is this it for 401 North 27th?

The agenda for the next city council meeting (9/22) has items of local interest:

Ord. No. 2008-201 (Patron: Mayor Wilder) – To approve and adopt a Spot Blight Abatement Plan *** for the structure located at 401 North 27th Street.

Ord. No. 2008-202 (Patron: Mayor Wilder) – To declare that a public necessity exists and to authorize the acquisition of *** 401 North 27th Street for the public purpose of implementing a Spot Blight Abatement Plan ***.

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153 comments

Ryan Ramsey 09/20/2008 at 8:57 AM

I certainly hope this is it for 401 North 27th. The spot blight abatement plan will enable the City to find a qualified owner to rehabilitate the building and finally stop the deterioration of this historic structure. My hope is that City Council will be quick to act on this issue and approve the ordinance.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/20/2008 at 9:35 PM

For anyone who knows me knows that this building has been my pet project ever since I found out earlier this year it was slated for demolition. I was able to abort that and push forward with the city taking various actions as well as having the Historic Richmond Foundation interested in purchasing the building to restore.

We still have to go through the CAR meeting this coming Tuesday 9/23 but from what I can see and heard, the co-owner (Walter S. York III – York Construction) just got in under the wire with some sort of “plan” for the building BUT they only provided schematics and not design details, elevations, nor material lists. That in itself may throw this to yet another later meeting… which may be what they are hoping for?

There already is a Spot Blight on this building issued and is going to Planning Commission on 10/6 will not be halted no matter what CAR decides and the city wants to save rather than tear down this building if all possible and HRF is hoping to be the first to take it over if/when it gets to that point. HRF is also hoping that there won’t be any further delays beyond Tuesday since they fear this building may not fare well with yet another winter open and exposed to the elements.

The latest construction permit is showing “pending” and that is because the owner wishes to turn this into a eat-in restaurant but zoning denied it because of the building use change and inadequate parking space for it in this location.

One thing irks me that is shown on Page 4 of the Ordinance No. 2008-201 is that it says the building is “almost 90 years old”. That was a erroneous generic date used by the assessor’s office and since been changed. This building 401 section was built in 1815 and the wooden 2702 section attached in 1859 – hence being the “oldest commercial building in Richmond”. If someone goes to this public meeting on Monday, please point that out… it makes a difference!

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/20/2008 at 11:37 PM

A side note here…

This was built as a grocery store in 1815 and remained so until 1946 when the widow of Henry Hinton Hudson sold it to the Overcast family. They in turn opened it up in 1947 as a Laundry (Serve Your Self Laundry) and it remained that name until 1969 when Charlie J. Johnson, Jr. picked up the building and changed it to the 27th Street Laundromat until it was condemned and sold in 2004.

Question… prior to 1969, there was a building at 727 N 27th (corner of N 27th and Cedar Street) that was also called then the 27th Street Laundromat. Looking at the Virtual Earth map this lot was vacant until this year when a duplex was built there. Does anyone have a picture of the old 727 N 27th Street building before it was torn down or remembers what it looked like?

Thanks!

Eric

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Babar 09/21/2008 at 9:39 AM

What’s a Spot Blight Abatement Plan?

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/21/2008 at 9:22 PM

When a building becomes a health and/or physical hazard and the owner doesn’t correct the problem within a given amount of time, it goes into spot blight and the city can take posession of the property to do with what city council and planning comission decides on. The owner looses the property.

Here is a short description:

Under state authority, the Code Enforcement division can initiate action under the Spot Blight Abatement program. This program allows the repair, or acquisition of individual properties that meet certain criteria and which the owner fails to maintain. This allows us to address property that is vacant and/or in disrepair so that it can be improved and contribute to the neighborhood.

Eric

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Babar 09/22/2008 at 11:16 PM

thank ye!

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/23/2008 at 8:36 AM

For anyone interested, I understand after City Council was informed of the various hearings still pending on this property including the CAR this evening, they postponed hearing about the 401 building.

We have also heard that the building was sold to Walter Sylvester York III on September 18th but the last time I asked about deed transfers about that time there wasn’t one. I have since confirmed it was sold. That he has met with much opposition through the city over various ordinances and policies and not following up properly with him.

Since Walter York does indeed own this property, we can only hope he works with the community and enlighten us as to his intent with this historic landmark building rather than remain silent. If anyone reading this thread knows him or if he is watching, please chime in!!!

If sincere in restoring this piece of history then we want to be a part of it.

Eric

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Chewbacca 09/23/2008 at 9:04 AM

I cant immagine restoring this eyesore could be even remotely cost effective. After all, it has been open to the elements for almost a year. Prior to that, it housed a crappy laundromat, and I am sure that it experienced its share of leaky pipes.

Yes, the building is very very old, but I bet there are other buildings in Richmond that are within 10 to 20 years its age that are better candidates for restoration.

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UnionHill RVA 09/23/2008 at 10:46 AM

It is my understanding that Mr. York has been hog-tied by City Hall red tape, inter-departmental contradictions and the usual totally inept handling of all the paperwork that goes into restoring a building and opening a new business in Richmond.

The biggest thing holding up this project is PARKING.

Just when are we gonna get over this, neighbors? We say we want businesses up here, but we don’t want to let up on the off-street parking requirements.

Parking is at the root of everything preventing Mr. York from going forth with his plans to restore the building and open a restaurant at 27th and Marshall.

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Ron 09/23/2008 at 11:06 AM

Chewbacca,
Sometimes the restoration of property isn’t about being cost effective, it’s about saving part of history. Once this building is torn completely down, there’s no longer any history there accept a vacant lot or a new building.
I being the owner 403 there’s nothing more I’d like to see than this building saved.
However, the idea of a restuarant is a great concern of mine. There’s a bus-stop on the corner and parking would be a disaster. What rating would the restuarant be, four star,three,two, I am completely against the idea of a restuarant.( An upscale mkt. such as the one that used to be planned for 29th. and Broad.)
This building has cost me thousands of dollars in rental income due to it’s condition. I’ve never been able to top $1500 for rent on my house due to this building.
My main concern is that we watch every step taken to retore this great old piece of history. All four corners have been an eye sore in my opinion for more years than I’ve been in church hill. Although, I will point out when Charlie did have the sub-standard laundry, he kept the sidewalks clear of trash.
The question is what do we all want as property owners in this great block. This building could be a great introduction of what people could expect when approaching the corner.
However, I’ll say as said earlier a restuarant would be a disaster, the parking is already a problem. It would force the residents of both the 300 and 400 blocks of 27th. to possibly park blocks from their homes.
We need to fight for a proper use and for the true renovation of this great old piece of history.

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Ron 09/23/2008 at 11:15 AM

Eric,
Where does this new owner live? Is he local or does he live outside the Richmond area?
Thanks,
Ron

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Bill Hartsock 09/23/2008 at 11:16 AM

I agree with Ron. The size of the property would not allow a lot of seats that would produce income enough to cover overhead. The renovation costs would be a lot less and permiting would be easier if the space was used as retail, such as a wine and cheese shop. I hear that Barrel Thief is looking in the area.

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Justin Nelson 09/23/2008 at 11:39 AM

I might be interested in that building for my business, as the picture appears to have the space given it is on a corner. I would need to convert the back to house vehicles, which I doubt the city would like; I don’t know if you the neighbors would mind or not. I look forward to hearing more about it.
Justin
President
Dominion Heating & Air Conditioning

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/23/2008 at 11:59 AM

Ron, Walter York is local.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/23/2008 at 12:59 PM

Chewbacca… it isn’t about “close but no cigar” concerning the age of the building but being THE oldest commercial building in Richmond. That in itself deserves respect and special consideration.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/23/2008 at 1:42 PM

Bill,

I think that Murray and now York is using The Hill Cafe as an example of a restaurant of the same size and also on a corner. I am not sure how they were zoned but at the same time they are on Broad Street where as this is a block inward further in a residential area.

Or maybe they are looking at something along the line of Buzzy’s “ALSO” only a block away?

Has the Hill always been a restaurant unlike 401 having been a grocery store from 1815-1946 and then a Laundromat from 1947-2004?

Ron, do you still have my home email address? If so, contact me there about your concerns on 401… thanks.

Eric

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Ramzi 09/23/2008 at 3:29 PM

If that structure were to disappear it would be a tremendous loss as well as a waste. Restoring that building shouldn’t be any worse than what a lot of owners have gone through on the Hill, at least it’s masonry and not framed. I don’t see why parking should be that big of a deal either, there are practically no residences on Marshall, and Pritchard Bros. has tons of people show up for their auctions with no major problem.

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Chewbacca 09/23/2008 at 3:39 PM

There is nothing, except for its age, to distunguish it. It was never architecturally significant. It was always a box. And not even a very attractive one.

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Bill Hartsock 09/23/2008 at 7:41 PM

The Hill Cafe used to be called The Rendezvous. It was not quite what you would call a restaurant – more in the business of beverages. Old timers in the neighborhood should remember when there was a slit in the front door where a person was checked out before allowed to enter. There were several places like that in Church Hill in the old days – just a hangout where you could get a $1 shot and companionship. Things were a lot more lax down at City Hall, then, than they are now.

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Ramzi 09/23/2008 at 8:03 PM

Most houses are boxes in case you hadn’t noticed. There are very few houses in the nation that are that old, and being the oldest commercial structure in Richmond makes it a one of a kind rarity, at least locally. There’s nothing that can’t be fixed on the building and it’s not something that would be ridiculously expensive to do when you compare it to the cost of building a similar new structure. If the city were to permit demolition of the building it would just be embarrassing. Here we are in a designated historic neighborhood, all kinds of tax credits and incentives available, and the city can’t come up with a better solution.

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william 09/23/2008 at 8:04 PM

I agree with Chewbacca… There remains nothing of architectural significance with this building–it’s just plain ugly and a real eyesore in the area. I would be happy to see that shell knocked over and something more attractive and useful built in it’s place–even if were just a home. To make it look attractive would cost a small fortune and much of the structure would have to be modified. As Joan Crawford said in Mommy Dearest… “Knock down that bitch of a bearing wall and put a window where a window ought to be”! Bring in the wrecking ball!

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hillkid 09/23/2008 at 11:09 PM

william:

Quoting Joan Crawford in “Mommy Dearest” speak volumes about who you are.

I think you are the same “william” who is an anti-preservationist that has ranted on many a thread.

You sir, are to me, “that bitch of a bearing wall” that needs to come down in order to keep a building where a building ought to be.

No more demolition!

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hillkid 09/23/2008 at 11:20 PM

Chewbacca:

Are you emulating a hairy, knuckle dragging alien being? Or, are you a tobacco chewing earth dwelling? Either way, it seems that you prefer a cave like existence. Do you live in the old train tunnel beneath Jefferson Park. Oh no, wait, that would be to historic!

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j 09/24/2008 at 3:23 AM

The parking argument reminds of this story I read a few days ago: “Cities rethink wisdom of 50s-era parking standards” http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gKNDLvrYXMS6TVigz6lOgBrbMGDQD93AKCVG0

Also, regarding how the building is designed, it looked significantly better a few decades ago. See /2007/12/26/401-north-27th-street-1960s/

Does anyone have any pictures of what it looked like before that to get a better idea of how it could look if restored?

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william 09/24/2008 at 6:51 AM

hillkid: “that would be to historic!”

This statement speaks volumes as to who you are. Try…too next time. I’m sure a product of RPS.

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gray 09/24/2008 at 8:06 AM

William, hillkid writes too well to be a product of RPS.

William and Chewbacca, you two are either suffering ODD and/or lacking a culture, history, arts education.

Knocking down a historic structure in a historic neighborhood is insane.

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Chewbacca 09/24/2008 at 8:16 AM

Insane?

What is insane is to expect whoever buys this derelict property to pour over a million dollars into it to create a business that will be worth only half of that when completed. Just to satisfy your overinflated ideals.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/24/2008 at 11:44 AM

Now children, calm down. Let’s keep a civil tongue over this thread and not let it end up a name calling session. Not everyone sees the building as we do and are the same people that would rather place some chrome and glass futuristic house in the middle of Church Hill rather than “restore” and “preserve”. They just don’t get the sense of pride or responsibility living in a historic neighborhood.

Yes, the building is a bit bland but wasn’t so when it was first built in 1815. It wasn’t stucco covered but had brick walls in the American Bond pattern with arched windows on both floors on both sides of the building. There wasn’t the stepped parapet roof but a regular gabled roof. In other words business buildings of that ere looked much like houses did. The bricking up of windows, the original door, adding the parapet roof facade, storefront windows, the corner entrance, and stucco were all post 1880 changes. The wooden addition was built in 1859 and pretty much still looks the same design wise.

What renovation that are going to be done will most likely be using the existing post 1880 changes rather than unfortunately retro back to the original 1815 design. yes, with the age of the building to do a complete and proper “restoration” rather than renovation would take deep pockets.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/24/2008 at 11:54 AM

Rather I meant to say they will unfortunately use the post 1880 changed building rather than restoring it back to its original 1815 look.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/24/2008 at 12:12 PM

Justin, we are always open for building use suggestions. Of course the brick portion is the most “historic” at 193 years old but the wooden section is also now 149 years old. It would need to be saved some way so how would you plan to work around that if it can not be removed? I know that Patrick Murray still owns the string of small brick buildings that sit next to it and Pritchard Bros. which were built after 1905 – unless he sold those too to Walter York?

Right now it is in Walter York’s hands to proceed with valid approved plans while being looked over by the various city agencies. If he fails on any of them then it will go to the auction block but until then, we will have to wait and see.

Right now I am getting contradictory information where one person says if CAR approves the plans that would stop the spot blight process while others in the city says it won’t stop it… I need to see who is right?

Eric

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hillkid 09/24/2008 at 12:57 PM

william:

Dissing me on a typing error? As enlightening as the rest of your comments!

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concernedcitizen 09/24/2008 at 1:05 PM

Huffstutler said:

‘it isn’t about “close but no cigar” concerning the age of the
building but being THE oldest commercial building in Richmond.’

Well, as soon as we knock down that ugly piece of blight, it will no
longer BE “the oldest commercial building in Richmond”…. so no
worries, right?

Richmond, you need to get over yourselves. You’ve got no history. Give
it up. The only way this “city” will survive is by embracing
the future.

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tiny 09/24/2008 at 1:07 PM

When I first moved here 15 years ago, I was fascinated and delighted by “Big Washers” and “Small Washers” across the street from each other. It makes me really sad to think that Small Washers may be demolished. I truly hope it is not beyond salvaging and it will escape demolition.

william, I remember you from the “Black Sunday” post and the comments you made there speak volumes about you and your values.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/24/2008 at 1:16 PM

tiny, I kinda miss them too. We use to use the Laundromat when it was opened and had no idea the building was in such bad shape until it was gutted and think the new owner didn’t either. Even if they put a modernized Laundromat back in the building, I am sure it will be frequented but they are trying to move away from that.

Eric

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hillkid 09/24/2008 at 1:34 PM

concernedcitizen/#31:

I think we can have both. Our historic neighborhoods are an asset and it identifies Richmond in many ways. We can be progressive AND preserve our past.

Do you live in Richmond, but are from somewhere else or do you live somewhere else. Either way you are not connected to the city. If you were, you would understand the importance of preserving our historic buildings.

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Dave 09/24/2008 at 2:21 PM

“Richmond, you need to get over yourselves. You’ve got no history.” Is this guy serious…???

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gray 09/24/2008 at 2:38 PM

Regarding Richmond, concernedcitizen said, “You’ve got no history.”

I wouldn’t even know how to correspond with this person. Kudos to hillkid for following John M’s “use policy” https://chpn.net/news/2008/05/27/towards-a-certain-level-of-discourse/ .

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/24/2008 at 3:05 PM

From my past experiences of being blasted, I tried to shy away from those comments but glad others spoke up this time!

Gezzz, this guy needs to wake up and see where he lives… “if” he lives in Richmond.

Come on now, a city spawned in one of the oldest counties in the state of the original Colonial Colonies and Church Hill being the oldest plated community in Richmond… as well as being the Confederate Capitol and all the history surrounding both!

Yeah right, we need to progress to ignore this clown!

Eric

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hillkid 09/24/2008 at 3:06 PM

#17/Ramzi:

While I share your frustration with the hurdles around parking requirements, I don’t think the Pritchard Bros. car auctions are a good comparison. Those auctions take place during the day when folks are at work, and the attendees park in front of my house which is several blocks away. If these auctions happened at night, parking would be a problem.

That said, parking problems are just part of a vibrant community and in my opinion, need to be tolerated. I wish the city would lighten up on the parking issues.

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eclk 09/24/2008 at 5:10 PM

I love those buildings! This was suggested earlier, and I think it would be great: a carry out/delivery only restaurant. I know they would get a lot of my dollars that now go elsewhere for mediocre ready to go or heat and eat food items. From another thread regarding lack of places that deliver in this area, one would think it would be a big succcess. Parking shouldn’t be that big of an issue, then, would it? Or should I change my name to Pollyanna?

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/25/2008 at 3:45 PM

It all is a matter of zoning as to what this building can and can’t be. It would be wonderful if Pizza Hut or someone like it could move in. Or even a fast mart or cheese and wine shop. But the kicker is the current owner has the say so as to what he wants in there. If it the spot blight goes as suggested it will, then if sold the new owner will have the BIG task of putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into this building to restore “before” they can even make a go of a business that may or may not fly? And doubt any “chain” farnchise would deal with it.

Parking is still one major holdup for the current eat-in restaurant proposal and they need a required 12 spaces for the building square footage and only have 4 assured from the Laundromat days. The owner has to come up with 8 more spaces within 300 feet of the building and don’t know where that would be?

Eric

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Ron 09/30/2008 at 12:09 PM

Being the owner of 403 I am highly against a restaurant or anything accept perhaps a high-end market. Church hill in my opinion is in desperate need of a high end market such as Joe’s market.
The Market at the bottom lacks so many items, service being number one. Wouldn’t it be great to have a market, a lot of us could walk to and enjoy higher end mdse.
The only thing the mkt. in the bottom has is a fair wine dept. however, there are a lot of items offered by Ukrops, and Joes it lacks. They charge Ukrops prices, but no Ukrops service and it would be great to have a mkt. with service.
There’s also another store front in the 500 block that’s been converted to residential. Would it be so strange to have perhaps two apts. or two condos in this location. We all need to remember there are four commercial corners there together. If a business that would require a lot of parking were approved at 401, what about the other four corners. I lived in my house at 403 for three years, and parking would be a disaster for the folks of the 300 and 400 blocks. We owe it to the folks on both these blocks to remember there are four commercial corners.
I’ll say as an owner of houses here in church hill, I want to see this neighborhood to continue improving. Putting a carry-out, pizza hut, or anything below Joe’s mkt. would be a step backwards.
This is the oldest commercial building in Richmond today and it would be offensive to see a pizza hut or a fast mart there.
It deserves to be respected and taken care of and also aimed in a direction that would continue the up-swing value of church hill.
Remember for those of you living on the 400 block this building would be an introduction of the block.
I’d like to ask another question here, not about 401 but about I think 323. The other laundromat, I see demolition going on over there, but no permits. Where are the drawings for this building? What are the plans for this building as well?
The owner of this building has to follow the same rules.
Does anyone know what’s going on there?
Thanks,
Ron

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gray 09/30/2008 at 12:44 PM

A Joe’s Market or ET type store would be great…or a bakery. The Market on Main does not take care of our family’s needs especially when it comes to fresh foods, baked goods, fruits, and vegetables.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/30/2008 at 12:56 PM

Ron… you can private email me and I can give you the scoop but the quick about 325 N 27th (the other old large load laundromat) is that Sandra Murray owns it. She is the sister of Patrick Murray who owned the old building but since sold it on 9/18 to his brother-in-law and contractor Walter York.

Sandra was cited for building code violations about 325 recently which were dismissed because she fixed them and I mentioned to the DCD about construction without permits.

There is also work going on at 2709 E Marshall (the blue brick building) which was leased out by Sandra to a young couple opening up a bicycle shop there and they do have permits for what they are doing thus far.

I only mentioned a Pizza Hut because there is a need for a pizza delivery that serves Church Hill but not advocating it. There is a general consensus that the building would be better used as a “retail” shop of some sort with lower traffic rather than a eat-in restaurant.

Again, I am thinking the owner is comparing the Hill Cafe which is on a corner and also surrounded by residents and wonder how they get by with the parking situation? Or were laws passed that changed the requirements since they opened?

I don’t think the building is zoned to be converted to all residential.. it is a commercial business building.

I will check in again about 325.

On a side note… I also wonder if anyone has seen any work done by Walter York to know what we will be looking at quality wise? He has had a contractor license since 2006 and no registered complaints but on the other hand, has he done any extensive work? And even if he gets this building a dressed up and shiny, it is still in the middle of the other 3 corners that aren’t.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/30/2008 at 1:03 PM

As far as The Market… it was great when Johnny Johnson first opened it as a high end store in competition with Ukrops. I miss those Thursday and Friday night live jazz band sessions in the balcony of the store. Once he lost control in 2004 it went downhill quickly. Remember, it is now only a Farm Fresh chain store and true, freshness, variety, and prices are an issue. I do like their seafood department though. Have the best steamed shrimp anywhere… not like the overcooked hard and rubbery or soggy Ukrops shrimp. But you also need to be mindful of demographics of the neighborhood as well as these economic hard time and the threat of unemployment. Would a high end store of any type make it on that corner?

Eric

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edg 09/30/2008 at 1:42 PM

I would have no need for a high-end Trader Joe’s style store, but if the buyer thinks it can make a profit, I have no objections. One thing that is clear, however, is that we have no more room for failing businesses in the Hill. Let’s all hope someone does buy this space, restores it, and opens a commercially viable business.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/30/2008 at 2:49 PM

edg… I totally agree. What is the use of going through all of this hassle with the owner(s), the city, and then the contractor to fix up a building that will soon be closed because of the lack of customers? Then sit there empty for years falling apart again.

Things concerning this building happened not only quickly within the past year but haphazardly. I doubt anyone has done any sort of study as to just what kind of business would work on that corner which is off of the beaten track of Broad Street?

The Laundromat was great at the time but has been closed going on 5 years so would the clientele still be there if opened back up as one? It was low traffic, low overhead, and if you owned the building outright, it didn’t matter if it made a big profit as long as it was kept clean, in working order, up to code, and taxes paid.

I believe there was a cigar shop in one of the smaller buildings along Marshall at one point many years ago – something like that “may” work?

I know people drink wine but not sure if there is a big demand for $20+ per bottle wines in this part of Church Hill? And would the building have enough space for variety as well as stock storage?

Any viable suggestions? Even if the restaurant parking issue was ironed out, being within a block of the Hill Cafe and Buzzy’s and a couple blocks of PHP… would it work? There use to be a restaurant at the building across the street (325 N 27th) from the 1930s until 1979 when the last proprietor Charlie Johnson closed it up and converted it to another Laundromat so there hasn’t been on in that area for 30 years. Would it work now and with so much competition close by, what kind of food that would appeal to Church Hill as a whole?

Eric

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LB 09/30/2008 at 3:21 PM

I know people want to see a high end market, but I like the idea of a corner store. Ever since Quickcheck at 27th and Broad, and Chimbo market at 29th and Broad closed, I have to drive to the Market if I need sugar, all purpose flour, or some other random staple if I am cooking. And I do not usually use high end staples like that. And the Hill Cafe did open before the requirement of parking spaces, and as someone affected by that I would not wish that on anyone.

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Ramzi 09/30/2008 at 3:57 PM

What about office space mixed with residential? That gives it commercial use, low parking requirements and income from an apartment.

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gray 09/30/2008 at 4:11 PM

I wouldn’t mind a corner store along the lines of “Shields Market” across from Joe’s Inn in the Fan. They carry staples, sugar, etc minus the dirt, mice scurrying across aisles, and the worms I remember finding in the Mac&Cheese I bought from the Quickcheck. I do remember though the family working there being exceptional sweet and warm to our family.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 09/30/2008 at 6:55 PM

Ramzi..

I think the new plans with the restaurant includes an apartment on the second floor. BUT… any way you look at it this building only comes with 4 parking spaces and depending on the business as well as cars for tenants in the apartment, if over 4 cars then the building owner will need to come up with extra spaces on some other property – not on the general street.

Eric

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Shannon 09/30/2008 at 10:09 PM

Okay – I feel like I need to premise this with the fact that I’m not trying to be smart-aleky. I’m just asking because I have been curious before, and maybe I’m feeling a little brave tonight. 🙂

Folks who are worried about being able to park near their homes: Have you considered parking behind your house? Is there space? Seems like that might be preferable, anyway. This, of course, assumes there is a large enough yard – which I realize is a big assumption when I really have no idea.

My off-street parking rocks, and I guess I was just wondering why you had chosen not to go that route, if it might be available.

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Ron 09/30/2008 at 11:23 PM

Shannon,
There are only two houses with possible off street parking on the 401 side. The rest are land-locked.
Also, I think there are several houses on the other side of the street land-locked. Therefore, off-street parking isn’t an option for as many as you think.
Thanks,
Ron

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Eric S. Huffstutler 10/01/2008 at 9:47 AM

Correct, we do not have open ended “alleys” behind our houses on the 300 and 400 block of N 27th (they dead end or are short and narrow dirt paths) and many have closed in their yards years ago or too small for an auto to fit so no real options with that. Others are land locked all together.

Also, it is not an option with the city concerning the 401 building’s parking dilemma to use residential parking for the other 8 needed spaces but they have to come up with basically off-street parking within 300 feet of the building. Those are the newer zoning laws.

Eric

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Shannon 10/01/2008 at 10:05 AM

Gotcha. Thanks.

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edg 10/01/2008 at 10:07 AM

I, too, really miss my corner store, which was the Chimborazo Market, now in perpetual “hold” as the Church Hill Market. I need a corner store that sell staples, as well. I would patronize such a store up to 5 times a week.

However, a high-end store that selling gourmet cheese and other expensive items – I would probably frequent that type of store only once a month, if that often.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 10/01/2008 at 1:12 PM

Waaaayyy up at #3 above I mentioned there was a previous 27th Street Laundromat at 727 N 27th Street. I haven’t seen a picture come across yet but taking a look at the aerial photo from the late 1960s at that corner, I can get a sense as to what the building looked like and believe it was similar if not identical to the one at 22nd and Fairmount seen at this link:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3156/2853368402_6811e28db8.jpg

Just passing this on for history buffs.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 10/07/2008 at 12:32 PM

The Planning Commission hearing was yesterday (10/6/2008) but now rescheduled in 2-weeks due to some inaccuracies cited by an attendee over Gantt charts covering “stabilization” done to the building – or ‘so-called’ stabilization… yeah right.

You have anchors reaming due to walls twisting, cracks that run from ground to roof and getting wider, a roof that is also twisting, the back wall that was rebuilt a couple years back is falling apart already due to incorrect mortar used so needs rebuilt (not sure if they will make them?) and the corner was “patched” that had a crack wide enough to reach into the building, and the wooden section is only 2 walls propped up with wood lean-to’s. A blind person can see that the entire building is unstable and needs major restorative work, not a quick patch of cracks and a coat of paint slapped on it.

Eric

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Whodat! 10/07/2008 at 4:46 PM

This got me thinking! It’s October and halloween is upon us. So far Church Hill has (at the least) 1 dead laundromat, 1 dead gas station (21st&Jeff), 1 dead Movie Theater (25th St), 1 dead Store (Church Hill Market or the Tru-Aid Bldg- you choose!), 1 dead park (Swimming pool on 29th)..You get the picture. We should make them halloween entertainment zones! Or invite zombies to live year ’round? Wait! Maybe we are zombies?….Brains…I need brains

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calvin 10/07/2008 at 4:51 PM

You want zombies? Try Venable and Pink.

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Whodat! 10/07/2008 at 5:03 PM

I think those are “zombros”!

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john_m 10/25/2008 at 2:06 PM

This is back on the agenda for 10/27.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 10/27/2008 at 5:32 PM

This property is going round and round.

I didn’t even know it was slated again for the City Council hearing today until I came back to reference one of my own posts. It has been postponed again until 11/24 for reasons below.

Apparently when there was the CAR meeting, Walter York submitted plans but they didn’t meet requirements and given 2-weeks to correct them. After 4-weeks passed, no one mentioned that there has been two more plan presentations to CAR since then (for some reason I have been out of the loop?) and that aspect has been approved. BUT, there is still the issue of Spot Blight and the Planning commission. That too was given another chance but nothing was presented for October and now has until 11/3 to come up with both legitimate plans and confirmed funds to follow them through.

The “planning commission” stage has been tossed about as already done while others said it is still pending and the latter is true per Joe Lerch.

I even spoke today with Sam Patterson (Delores McQuinn’s sidekick) who was less than friendly and not very helpful (something I also heard about him from others). He spoke of Walter York as though they are personal friends and speaks with him all the time referring to him by first name. And eluded that “everything” was completed and ready for permits BUT that of course was not the truth. There is still the issue of additional needed parking that hasn’t been resolved and Patterson said York did not even mention that. I had to forward an email from Gary Burton in zoning to prove my statement. That along with the 11/3 Planning meeting caused the current Council postponement. The only new piece of information I got out of all of this was that he didn’t think York was still planning to open a restaurant. But with what I heard today I wouldn’t bet any money one way or another on what he says.

It is arrogant attitudes like Sam Patterson who seems to also play favorites and could care less about historic structures that costs votes.

It didn’t use to be that way until McQuinn became V.P. of Council and she has been hard to contact and every time I call Patterson so far on his cell phone, he is apparently at home… hearing children as well as the TV in the background. Does he ever go to the office to work a complete day? And does McQuinn ever see the emails sent to her?

Eric

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eclk 10/27/2008 at 8:16 PM

Eric, I have had the exact same experience with McQuinn’s office and Patterson. It was on two different occasions regarding two separate issues. I was merely hoping my experiences were anomalies. I apologize for straying from the thread, but thought others may wish to know you aren’t the only one who has gotten the same treatment.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 11/11/2008 at 12:27 PM

I am still hoping someone will post addresses of buildings that Walter York (York Construction) has done so we will know the quality (or lack of) work to expect for this structure?

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Winston 11/22/2008 at 10:53 AM

It looks like the Spot Blight Abatement Ordinance is on the agenda, again, for City Council Meeting on Nov. 24th (this Monday) Ordinance No. 2008-201, and 2008-202. Is there going to be a vote this time?

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shawn 12/03/2008 at 9:34 AM

Does anyone have an update on what happened at recent city council meeting regarding this building?

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/03/2008 at 12:27 PM

I will check and find the outcome. It seems to be a never ending circle concerning this building.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/03/2008 at 12:30 PM

It was removed from the agenda again and scheduled in another 2-weeks (next Council Meeting). The hold-up seems to be Walter York not fulfilling his obligations to C.A.R. and the city other than also not having come up with the required parking spaces for the building.

Eric

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Charles Field 12/04/2008 at 7:19 PM

Eric, you have got to stop making stuff up. The “hold-up” had nothing to do with CAR or parking. It had nothing to do with anything Mr. York had done. There was an administrative problem with the wording of the ordinance. The delay in the adoption of the ordinance had no effect on the schedule proposed in the ordinance.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/05/2008 at 9:16 AM

Charles – please email me at my home address and I will explain my reasoning… wasn’t made up. In the mean time since you seem to have the inside scoop… please post here what his intentions are and the outcome. CAN post here that what I was told by the city:

1) As of 11/21, (Thomas) Tyler Potterfield also in DCD stated that York had only received conceptual approval from CAR and would need to return for “final” approval which he hasn’t.

2) Tarisa Griffith (DCD – Planning and Preservation) stated also on 11/21 that ” the parking that the zoning staff will require must be provided on-site or leased on another parcel. Street parking in the public right-of-way will not be counted towards the zoning requirements. ” and those are her words from information she has from zoning (Gary Burton and William Davidson).

So that means he will have to come up with the 12 needed parking spaces (or even 4) within 300-feet of the building and they “can not” be on-street parking but has to be off-street. Where can those be acquired since there is no open property near by?

So… who is telling the truth? At least I can substantiate my claims.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/05/2008 at 11:27 AM

Also Charles, I received the following information from James “Jim” Hill, Senior Planner at C.A.R. through various emails as well as a copy of the letter sent to Walter York on 9/24.

At the C.A.R. meeting of 9/23 the plans were approved with stipulations of changes that were needed and to return and present them. That never happened. He did not submit anything for the October meeting so was given another opportunity on 10/31 to submit changes for the November meeting and failed again and so as far as I know the C.A.R. plans have NOT been approved (finalized). An excerpt about the “conceptual” approval from the letter sent 9/24 to Walter York follows:

” RE: 401 N 27TH ST

Application No. 08-129

Dear Applicant:

At the September 23, 2008 meeting of the Commission of Architectural Review, the review of your application for a Certificate of Appropriateness resulted in the following action: Conceptual Approval. Specifically the Commission approved the application in concept with the strong recommendation that the building retain its original footprint and wanting to see particular attention given to the side stair when the applicant returns for final approval. ”

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/05/2008 at 7:17 PM

UPDATE… 12/5

Received a letter in the mail from C.A.R. to “consider an application for a certificate of appropriateness” concerning 401 on December 16th. The meat of the letter says:

“The extent of work proposed in this application constitutes a substantial impact as defined in Section 114-930.2 of Richmond City Code. Therefore, in accordance with Section 114-930.6 of the code,you are being directly notified as an affected owner of a property within 150 feet of the proposed change to the Old and Historic District.”

“The applicant is proposing to rehabilitate brick/stucco portion of building, re-roof and extensively repair frame portion, and demolish CMU addition in the Church Hill North Old and Historic District”

So obviously I was correct when I stated that C.A.R. plans have NOT been finalized opposed to what Charles Field said.

My question – concern is what is the “demolition of CMU addition”? The plan was worked with the original rear wooden facade built in 1859 and rebuilding it per architect plans, not demolish it – period. Any idea what is going on here?

Of course we are still waiting on the City Council to also take the bull by the horns and do something rather than let everyone run them in circles.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/05/2008 at 8:02 PM

Sorry, wonder if CMU means Concrete and Masonry Units? If so would that be referring to the detached row of buildings built after 1905 that sit between 401 and Pritchard Bros and currently house the barber shops? If so, that may work for the parking situation but not sure if you can get 12 spaces from that?

Thoughts? Clarification? If CMU means that I had no idea this was happening and a new kink to this whole debacle.

Eric

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UnionHill RVA 12/06/2008 at 1:08 PM

It sucks that cars and parking seem to drive every decision to allow a “change of use” or expand business/retail services to the residents of Church Hill/Union Hill.

Legally, no one is “entitled” to an on street parking space directly in front of their residence–ever. Even handicapped spaces are up for grabs for any auto with a permit.

The street is public right of way for all of us share and use. That includes residents and businesses.

Cars are getting smaller, mass transit will continue to improve and more of us are riding bikes and mopeds to work.

So why can’t we get out from under this yoke of the auto? We all say we want more places to walk to in Church Hill. Yet we continue to allow the city planners to foist outdated parking requirements on new businesses.

So it’s gotten to the point where folks can’t open a new business unless they tear down a building to provide off- street spaces. That seems pretty sad to me.

If you want conveniences in your hood, you might have to park your car half a block from your front door so you can walk 2 blocks to a nice meal later that evening. I think that’s a reasonable trade off in convenience.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/08/2008 at 10:24 AM

UnionHill RVA

Do you like standing in the rain trying to unload a car load of groceries or packages? Or running a block to your car in a suit during a downpour or on ice slicks? How about getting animals out of the car and to the house? Some times if you don’t get your spot in front of the house you end up having to park a block away and sometimes around the block. An uncomfortable feeling for someone who has had no less than 5 vehicles broken into and stolen from the front of their house. And of course there is the issue of being able to safely walk to ones house if handicapped.

I side with those who believe that when you pay personal property taxes on a house “and” you are responsible for the sidewalk and parking area in front of your house then you should also be able to park in it.

Eric

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c-i-t-y 12/08/2008 at 5:11 PM

unionhill is completely correct.

this is a city. no one in a city gets to choose where they park. i think we’ve been over this before. if you (the royal you, not anyone specific) do not like this, you should not be living in a city. it’s that simple. density equals less parking, but more good things to do!

name a city anywhere in the country where you get to park in front of your house? (besides detroit, buffalo, and the like.) walking a block is nothing for city dwellers. just complaining about this small fact shows that you are ready to move to the suburbs. you need a driveway, a garage, 3 kids, a sandbox, 4 cars. this neighborhood is already gated enough, with the “historical” restrictions gradually weeding out those who cannot afford certain upgrades.

what else would you like, while we’re making a list? no pickup trucks. no pink flamingos in front yards. bird nests of only 5 inches in diameter in all trees. stray dogs of pure breed only. teal polo shirts and khakis for post office employees. where does it end?

this isn’t a personal attack. the you is a royal “you.” just wondering how anyone who lives in a city expects to have private parking?

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UnionHill RVA 12/08/2008 at 10:54 PM

eric, i don’t relish any of the inconveniences or annoyances you describe in post #76. and all that stuff happens to me regularly (i live on a popular block.)

however, i don’t believe any of the aforementioned inconveniences entitle me, or anyone else, to a parking space in front of my house. and that’s regardless of whether i or anyone else is a property owner/tax payer (i am a property owner).

next time ya gotta unload groceries/pets/furniture, etc, just double park and put your flashers on. i do it all the time. just pretend you’re a nah-yawker and “go urban.”

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VCS 12/09/2008 at 9:00 AM

I have to agree with UnionHill RVA, Eric. It is a city and we’re not guaranteed a parking spot right in front of home. Have you ever been to the Fan?? Classic example of finding whatever parking you can to dine or visit friends. And they all go thru the same and “Own” and some have to have a parking pass it’s so crowded in certain blocks. I guess they just know what to expect and aren’t as spoiled as CH residents. As the area becomes more popular and residents move in, be prepared to see ‘your’ parking spot unavailable more and more.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/09/2008 at 9:16 AM

c-i-t-y

Those are your own personal opinions and I respect that. But when you live on a block you should get along with all of your neighbors and respect them, not be a pest. That said, I do remember living as a kid in Jacksonville, FL where you had your house number painted on the curb and that was “your” spot and could call to have anyone in it towed away. As for all of your other examples… I had to laugh because I also remember when I first moved to Richmond I was living at Kings Crossing in the West End. At that time it was “the” place to move to and had a waiting list but also at that time they had a booklet of guidelines which included – no backing into parking spaces, no opening of your car hood, no toys in the front yard, and among other things but one I am sure you will enjoy – no raising of your venetian blinds. They had to remain “uniform” and down! Oh well…

Unionill RVA – I do double park but I also think how many times I would like to just simply leave it there until the person coming out is pinned in and has to ask me to move. But that brings me back to courtesy on the block. Most everyone on ours are long timers and know each other and also know their cars and don’t park in each other’s spots. But you can see my point as well. If the city requires you to keep the “public” sidewalk and curbside maintained as part of your property as a homeowner, shouldn’t you be granted that space to park? How many times have I seen people walking their dogs just let them defecate next to a tree in front of our house and not pick up after them (which by law they are responsible)? How pleasant is it for us having to pass by it or get into a car next to it, or even accidentally step in it in the dark? We have to clean it up because that is “our” responsible space? Again… Courtesy.

But that is getting off track about 401 a bit. If you run a high traffic business you should be required to have off-street parking and not use “residential” parking hence Walter York needing to find space. With on street parking comes not only inconvenience but also noise, littering, even personal risk. That building was built during an era when there were a lot of local corner stores that people “walked” to or took a bus or trolley and did not drive everywhere they went. And people only had “one” car per family – if that which made the corner stores even more popular. But when indoor malls became the rage in the 1960s-70s, that killed most of the mom and pop businesses and these buildings became either vacant, torn down, or repurposed. The Laundromat was perfect as a low traffic enterprise and had set hours but even now that too has become a thing of the past.

I also think that the city is looking at Church Hill doing like the Fan and have residential permit parking stickers which will help.

As for the CMU question, I did not get a straight answer from Tyler Potterfield yesterday other than it refers to some sort of cinder block construction built in 1950 between the wooden section and the row of storefronts along Marshall. Honestly I have not seen that but it eludes to them not tearing down those poorly maintained buildings also owned by Walter York to make way for parking leaving the parking problem situation problem intact.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/09/2008 at 10:53 AM

Also take this into consideration… if the city tells us we must maintain the sidewalk and parking areas in front of our houses, “what if” someone from the restaurant stumbles and gets hurt on a loose brick or slips on ice or wet leaves going to their car in front of “your” house. You will be liable for the injury? If you have to take those risks why not have first dibs on your spot?

Eric

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neighbor 12/09/2008 at 11:47 AM

Eric’s points about parking are a great example of the divergent worldviews in this neighborhood. Eric brings a suburban frame of reference to this discussion. Others have a distinctly urban reference.

Eric, I’m sorry to say that under the suburban zoning you apparently advocate, the structure you are trying to save at 401 N 27th will have no economic value. No one will be able to afford to properly renovate it if they can’t in turn rent it to a high traffic commercial tenant like a restaurant.

Our neighborhood can’t thrive as a suburb, folks. It needs corner stores, restaurants and traffic. I know many people have enjoyed the quiet escape up here for many years, but Change is Coming. As long abandoned houses, businesses and parking lots in and around the neighborhood come back to life, there is going to be more traffic here, whether by car, foot, bike, bus or streetcar.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/09/2008 at 12:25 PM

neighbor..

to me, I would be satisfied with a local museum since this is the oldest commercial building in Richmond. Does that dictate it should be a restaurant or other “high traffic” business? I would think the city should be heavily involved in preserving and restoring it but on the other hand, we can see what they have done along those lines on Broad Street! Tear it down with intention of rebuilding only to end up with a single street level parking lot – if that. Richmond has no respect for its history or historical places. That is why we must band together and fight on our own to make it happen (restoration and preservation).

Yes, change is good as long as we can co-exist and the citizens impacted have a voice in the outcome.

Personally, I don’t see anything happening anytime soon with this building as Walter York or his in-laws (Patrick and Sandra Murray) don’t have a true intent or feel the same as we do in preservation and have played games with the city for so long and they apparently let him do it.

Laws are laws and people have to abide by them and so the building was zoned for one kind of business which requires a certain amount of parking spaces and the owner has to come up with them with street parking not being an option. What is so hard to grasp there? Either come up with it or change the kind of business you want to open that can accommodate what is available. It’s called “planning” and if the owner would have thought these things out, there we wouldn’t be discussing them here – or maybe the owner knew and wanted to create even more delays as they have for the past 4-years? Hmmm…

Eric

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Mike Banta 12/09/2008 at 12:44 PM

Maybe this belongs on a different thread….

“also think that the city is looking at Church Hill doing like the Fan and have residential permit parking stickers which will help.”

I think this is a terrible idea. Has anyone else heard anything at all like this?

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who cares? 12/09/2008 at 1:41 PM

Sure, it irritates me when other people park their cars in front of my house.

The way you deal with it is simply to “get over yourself.”

Unless no one in the neighborhood EVER EVER EVER has anyone come over to their house to visit (anyone being someone who drives a car and parks and displaces someone else in their parking), they they need to shut it.

Jesus, people–what a dumb digression–no one has a “right” to the space in front of their house. Most people work it out with their neighbors and usually people get to park most of the time in front of their house and sometimes they don’t.

Eric, I don’t know why you are complaining because your property is rather wide–you have a much broader street parking area than most,at least two and a half car-lengths, and there are at least two vacant houses on your side of the block. Is it *really* so hard for you?

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Winston 12/09/2008 at 3:44 PM

A property owner is liable for accidents which occur on their property. Read your insurance policy. You do not own the sidewalk or the street. The City owns the public right of way. Note the word “public”. So, Eric, before you hyperventilate over not being able to monopolize the area in front of your house, just remember that there are streets that have “No Parking” signs in front of people’s houses, but you don’t hear them complain. They just deal with it.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/09/2008 at 5:09 PM

who cares?…

True, we are fortunate to have the extra spaces in front of our house but they are often taken up by one house on the block that sometimes have 5 cars to it (college kids rental property). And do you think they give a second consideration about anyone else on the block? And yes, we have occasional parties with upwards to 80 people attending but have been scaling back and will have another this Saturday evening. The holidays are always busy for us. But what I was talking about was in generalities on a daily basis and not just for me but equality for all.

Winston…

I believe there are city ordinances that says else wise about the sidewalk and street in front of our house. I’ll look them up and post here but as far as I know you are always responsible for the sidewalk in front of your house includes de-icing and removal of snow. Think it has been in the newspapers as well?

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/09/2008 at 5:16 PM

Mike Banta…

I was hoping this thread would stay focused on 401 but has gotten sidetracked . Your question is somewhat related to 401 by means of parking and yes, I posted this once before about zoning looking into having Church Hill like the Fan with restricted parking.

On 7/23 and 7/24 Tarisa Griffith in zoning along with follow-ups with Steven Bergin in charge said this:

” As we discussed in the last public meeting on the rezoning study, many people have informed us that residential parking is an issue for your neighborhood. At that meeting we discussed the possibility of creating a resident permit parking sticker system, similar to the one used by the Fan residents. That can help to alleviate these issues to some extent.

Steve Bergin, Parking Supervisor, with the Dept. of Public Works (DPW) is in charge of that program. ”

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/09/2008 at 5:56 PM

As for the sidewalk and curb – here is a city link about property owner responsibility:

http://www.ci.richmond.va.us/departments/ccc/rowner.aspx

and the excerp about sidewalks:

” The code of the City of Richmond says that as a property owner, tenant, or in charge of a building used for conducting a business, you are responsible for sweeping any paved sidewalk or gutter once every 24 hours and could be held liable for a fine of up to $100. That includes snow too! Yes, really! Please do your part to help keep Richmond an attractive place. ”

This is a start and still looking for the Code cite number or other related information.

Eric

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who cares? 12/09/2008 at 9:23 PM

Get.

Over.

It.

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Winston 12/09/2008 at 9:50 PM

Yes, Eric, I realize that we are responsible for keeping our sidewalks clean and snow-free, but we are not liable for accidents or injury because of natural hazards. That is what I was referring to. Would you please chill out a little about your property, and realize that life is a lot bigger than what happens in the bounds of your living space. Maybe you need to focus on the bigger problems that are facing our community than whether you can find a convenient parking space. You are becoming a very pathetic individual, and are turning people off to whatever issue you feel is important. Get a grip.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/10/2008 at 8:25 AM

Winston… I am only using “examples” and what is the best way than to start in your own back yard. Would you would have rather me use you as an example instead? Of course not. But people on this thread just don’t realize the responsibilities or care which in turn impact others and “others” are the ones justified in voicing their concerns.

who cares?…. Get over what? There are viable issues on the table here that impact those on our block and can impact yours too if the shoe was on the other foot. Ever heard of the old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” ? Things don’t happen on their own you know and you have to step on a few toes sometimes to get things done. What seems trivial to you is important to others and I am sure I am not alone on that.

Eric

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tiny 12/10/2008 at 8:52 AM

Oh please don’t tell me we are going to have to get parking permits!!! What a hassle. How can we express our disagreement with this? Contact Tarisa Griffin?

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/10/2008 at 9:45 AM

The “injury” claims may be an overstatement but can verify the following which I am sure is a reasoning for public safety:

Sec. 90-42. Duty to remove snow from paved sidewalks.

(a) It shall be the duty of every occupant of any land or premises abutting upon any paved sidewalk and the duty of the owner of any unoccupied land or premises abutting upon any paved sidewalk to remove and clear away or cause to be removed and cleared away the snow from the paved sidewalk abutting such land or premises, in such manner as not to obstruct the passage of water in the gutters, within six hours after the snow ceases to fall. If snow ceases to fall during the night, removal of snow from the sidewalk before 11:00 a.m. the following morning shall be deemed compliance with this section.

(b) Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a class 4 misdemeanor and, in addition thereto, shall be responsible for the cost of abating the violation. Any abatement costs incurred by the city may be assessed against the owner or other responsible party and collected in the same manner as city taxes.

(c) The criminal penalties provided by this section shall not apply to any person who is physically disabled or who is age 65 years or older.

(Code 1993, § 25-23)

Other aspects:

Sec. 38-154. Weeds and other vegetation.

(a) It shall be a misdemeanor for any person who owns or occupies property within the city to permit any grass, plant, bushes, weeds or any other vegetation 12 inches high or over, other than trees, shrubbery, agricultural plants, garden vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants, to exist on such property.

(b) It shall be a misdemeanor for any person who owns or occupies property within the city to permit the existence on such property of any live or dead hedge, shrub, tree or other vegetation, any part of which extends or protrudes into any street, sidewalk, public right-of-way, grass strip or alley so as to obstruct or impede or threaten the safe and orderly movement of persons or vehicles.

(c) It shall be a misdemeanor for any person who owns or occupies property within the city to permit any grass, plants, bushes, weeds or any other vegetation 12 inches high or over, other than trees, shrubbery, agricultural plants, garden vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants, to exist on any sidewalk, public right-of-way, or grass strip adjacent to such property or unimproved street or alley (to the centerline of such unimproved street or alley).

(d) It shall be a misdemeanor for any person who owns or occupies property within the city to fail to remove fallen trees, detached limbs, or branches, the accumulation of which is offensive, unwholesome, and unsightly.

(Code 1993, § 19-54)

I found these tidbits of ordinances also interesting. How many people follow them… should fines start being issued?

Sec. 102-243. Parking violations; written notices; issuance of warrant or summons; penalty for noncompliance.

(Code 1993, § 28-223; Ord. No. 2003-303-261, § 1, 9-22-2003; Ord. No. 2004-297-289, § 3, 11-8-2004; Ord. No. 2005-303-259, § 1, 11-28-2005)

2) Fine of $40.00.

a. Parking in any location in violation of section 102-222, to include the following places:

1. On a sidewalk.

2. In front of a public or private driveway.

3. Within an intersection.

4. Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.

5. On a crosswalk.

6. Within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection.

7. In front of a ramp leading to the crosswalk at an intersection or located at any other point along a curb, constructed for use of handicapped persons.

8. Within 30 feet upon the approach to any flashing beacon, stop sign or traffic control signal located at the side of a roadway.

9. Between a safety zone and the adjacent curb or within 30 feet of points on the curb immediately opposite the ends of a safety zone, unless a different length is indicated by official signs or markings.

(How many people violate #4 and #6 above making it dangerous for others to go through an intersection? There is more of the above codes but these are only a few)

I know, this seems petty but just driving my point across and think I have so let’s continue with the 401 issues at hand (even if parking is one aspect).

Eric

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Steven 12/10/2008 at 11:06 AM

tiny,

Why the disagreement? It would help with the over crowding parking dilemma mentioned while not reserving spaces. A compromise.

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tiny 12/10/2008 at 11:21 AM

How does it work? Would I get towed without a permit or get a ticket? Would everyone have to apply for a permit or risk facing a penalty?

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g 12/10/2008 at 12:09 PM

i would love it if our neighborhood NEEDED to have permits. it would mean there are things that bring people in from other areas of the city. things like restuarants and bars, etc. do you know one of the ways you get these things….get rid of archaic rules requiring a set number of off-street parking spaces for restaurants. if you want to go to dinner and park right outside the place go to short pump, etc. you live in the city for a reason. i would love to have more places to WALK to in CH….maybe one day. and no one needs to have a reserved space outside of their house. completely absurd. that’s my “squeaking wheel”

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Steven 12/10/2008 at 12:30 PM

The homeowners would have to pay for the stickers (I believe are $25 each) allowing you to park in the area. You can also purchase visitor placecards for $35 each.

Visitors without a placecard including patrons of businesses can park in the area between 7am and 9pm for 1-hour only or be ticketed. And if their vehicle is there before 7am or after 9pm it can be towed.

If you have a party or function and see a need of extra parking you would have to call it into to the parking commission and get a special permit from them.

That is how the Fan is supposed to be set up.

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Mike Banta 12/10/2008 at 1:27 PM

Sorry I hijacked your thread Eric.

I can tell you how it worked in the Fan.

First, you had to go down to City Hall with proof of your residency at a specific address in the permit area. Then you had to cough up a fee (I think it was $25 bucks) for the city to “administer” your decal. Then you had to put the decal in your window. There were no restrictions on the number of decals per address (so all 58 of Eric’s college student neighbors would get one). Did I mention that you had to go through this hassle every year?

The end result is that you still couldn’t find a parking spot near your house, you had to pay $, you had to suffer through trips to City Hall, and your friends could only come visit you (unless you made special trips to City Hall for temporary passes) at certain times unless they were willing to park outside the permit areas (outside of the Fan or at least several blocks away).

Most years I managed to ‘support’ the city by getting parking tickets by forgetting to get a new sticker before the old one expired.

On the upside, we’ll get to see more of those yellow-jacketed folks on scooters and in those three-wheeled things zipping around our neighborhood.

I guess I don’t see how this is a compromise because it does nothing to help Eric’s concern.

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JT 12/10/2008 at 4:46 PM

I’d like to way in here as well- No single person owns a street, especially a specific piece of a street in front of their house. We ALL own the street. Our streets are public property and therefore public utilities. Its a shared resource.

I agree with g 100%- Get rid of the crazy parking requirements for restaurants and shops (commercial/retail) uses and lets act like we live in the City for a change. I firmly believe in the form based code the City is attempting to implement and it will have a very positive impact on the current archaic code we currently use.

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tiny 12/10/2008 at 4:56 PM

I have virtually no problem parking at least near my house (on the same block). The parking permits sound like a nightmare! And I believe it would really affect our seniors and other at risk residents. Eek. How in the world did this get on Tarisa Griffin’s agenda?

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/10/2008 at 5:38 PM

It wasn’t on Tarisa’s agenda but Steven Bergin’s… did you read the last sentence in post #88?

The only up side to the decals I can see is that it would lighten up outsider’s from parking in your areas on the street. But hey, wait a minute… isn’t that what we are trying to accomplish here with the parking situation? To sidetrack businesses from invading and overtaking the spaces meant for residents on that street (or anyone’s street)?

I would think that would be a plus to elderly and at risk people because they can park closer to their house. Isn’t that one aspect of my argument anyway?

I also heard from the parking / zoning today and they reiterated that Walter York still has to come up with the additional spaces as presented to him. If he chooses to tear down the storefronts along Marshall to make way for them, I understand that property would not need rezoned for it.

AND… I saw that there was a building permit applied for concerning 2706 E. Marshall St – one of those storefronts that currently houses a shady barber shop. Manhattan Taxicab wants to open their office there but here we go again. Can’t figure out how they can park any cabs along the street when they can’t park patrons at a proposed restaurant so…???

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/10/2008 at 6:00 PM

I think the bottom line here is partly being overlooked.

Yes, Church Hill is historic. Yes, we have many historic houses but at the same time dotted on corners and through parts of blocks are business fronts that have no purpose being there in the 21st Century and not viable for a steady source of income due mainly to location. You have one historically significant building that is worth saving and that is 401 N 27th because it is the oldest commercial building in Richmond… all others are mediocre by comparison. So…

Why not reconsider some (not all) of the lost causes buildings and make way for more housing but houses done strictly by code and historical standards to fit in rather than stick out like a sore thumb? That would eliminate a lot of these issues. You have one old thoroughfare – 25th Street, with some repurposed buildings, some having been torn down long ago making way for newer ones that now remain empty, and others that are struggling to stay afloat. Even without the bad economic situation none were exactly swimming in the black. It is all about location and location also mean accessible parking which is not available to them and really didn’t matter years ago when there was less vehicular traffic and more mom and pop stores. These buildings are a part of an era gone by and you have to be realistic in that aspect if you want to open one of them up for business and think of what “kind” would be profitable as well as not ruffling neighbor’s feathers so everyone can get along. Nuff said.

Eric

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Winston 12/10/2008 at 7:40 PM

Eric, Your run-on sentences and twisted logic leave me breathless!

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tiny 12/10/2008 at 8:44 PM

None of that convinces me that permits are a good idea. We simple do not have the need to inconvenience everyone who lives here enough to have to apply and pay for parking permits just to park where we have always parked anyway. It simply doesn’t make sense and it will cost us residents more in fees, fines, and towing costs.

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JT 12/10/2008 at 9:44 PM

Eric- I strongly disagree with your ability to determine business do not have a purpose on block corners throughout a viable neighborhood in the 21st century. Buzzy’s? Patrick Henry? HIll Cafe? Church Hill Herbs? Church Hill Veterinarian? Eldoe’s Pharmacy? Ca Pasa? Go to any vibrant urban community in the world- even the US, and you will find a corner store of all types thriving. It has nothing to do with being realistic or unrealistic. Some business owners like to live and work in the same community and make a good living serving the neighborhood in which they live. Although you may think they are not thriving most entrepreneurs find small neighborhood stores/store fronts/offices the exact size and investment that need to get started.

I agree if a developer or landowner feels a corner store would be better used as residential they should do what they want with it. But, I think we should encourage the development of small businesses that follow neighborhood guidelines and zoning laws, participate in our neighborhood association, and contribute to our neighborhood economy.

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gray 12/10/2008 at 9:47 PM

I agree -no permits. After all, we’re living in Church Hill, not the Fan.

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Liz 12/11/2008 at 7:52 AM

Please no parking permits…

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neighbor 12/11/2008 at 10:04 AM

Corner commercial works in cities. It works in other cities. It obviously worked here before. As downtown and church hill become more urban, it will be startlingly successful up here (startling to some).

I’m afraid the attitude that corner commecial doesn’t work in residential areas will be in a museum soon itself.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/11/2008 at 1:06 PM

JT… look at where most of your example businesses are… on Broad Street. When you get off of the beaten path – further into the residential area, that is when you loose traffic flow and customers.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/11/2008 at 1:38 PM

BUT… when we moved into Church Hill we didn’t buy into “Urban” and doubt anyone else did either. Second and more important is the fact that Church Hill is a Historic District. Corner stores that were built in urban areas may still work but those built 100 + years ago in residential (and now historic) areas don’t. There is a difference and you will have a fight on your hands from preservationists for those who want to convert a historic area into an urban one. Church Hill isn’t like the Fan and Cary Street… never was and wasn’t built up as such.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/11/2008 at 1:45 PM

And besides, I may be off the mark hence my comments but any time someone mentions “urban” I think of low income housing projects in Detroit and Chicago and what surrounds them. If your definition of urban is different, please explain your views.

Eric

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neighbor 12/11/2008 at 1:46 PM

Strawberry Street in the Fan, the corner cafe in the Museum District, the butcher shop on Grove, the butcher shop on Belmont… all of the thriving corner stores in north of Broad … every corner business in Capitol Hill, every corner business in Georgetown …

All you need is population. And that’s coming to the once and former depopulated north of Broad area every day.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/11/2008 at 3:54 PM

Curious… how do the businesses within densley populated residential areas handle parking within Georgetown? And are their businesses dotted like within Church Hill with houses on either side of them but more concentrated like in the Fan with rows of businesses? Just using them as a reference point.

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who cares? 12/12/2008 at 6:39 AM

You can’t really compare this to Strawberry Street or Harrison Street, which leads me to another point of difference between Church Hill and the Fan. Church Hill has a greater number of single-family dwellings. Fan dwellers are MUCH more likely to live in an apartment within a house–many of those Fan houses were chopped up ages ago, and the density, of both houses per block and residents per house, is way higher in the Fan than Church Hill’s density will ever be. This is why the Fan needs parking permits–there are and always will be more people with cars living there! The car situation in Church Hill will never equal that of the Fan.

I think the Georgetown example only begins to work if you draw comparisons to Carytown (not saying that Carytown = Georgetown cause I sure ain’t). But, for argument’s sake, they are both high density avenue(s) of tightly clustered retail and restaurants in a long-since converted strip of residential structures. M street used to be mainly residential. Cary Street in Carytown used to be mainly residential (look beyond the facades at the rooflines).

Church Hill is never going to be like that because of the OHD, but corner stores and restaurants can still thrive and I definitely think they should be given a lot of latitude. AND I want to disagree about the definition of “urban”– some people want to ghettoize the term (OMG, urban is, like, a code word for black!) But “urban” is exactly what we want, people. We have a vet’s office, a post office, a bank, a grocery store, and several restaurants/ice cream/coffee shops all in a walking neighborhood that is also on a bus line and a mile from the downtown business district. How is that like a low income housing project?

p.s.–I think parking permits are a bad idea–where I live is three blocks from any of the above retail–close enough for me to walk but far enough that people don’t park over here just to go over there. I have a feeling that most people just don’t have to face the problem of having people who don’t live on the block parking on their block.

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tiny 12/12/2008 at 8:54 AM

Myself, I moved here because I wanted an urban environment. I wanted city life, not suburban life and that was one of my driving forces when I purchased my home.

I don’t think I am alone. I am sure not everyone has the same motivation as I had, but I think you may find a lot of folks that moved here because they really wanted a city environment over the burbs.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/12/2008 at 9:08 AM

Thanks who cares? Great information.

I think that we have become spoiled to the point of being possessive over our parking spaces and I know of at least 2 other people (and possibly more) on our block feel the same way. And at least 4 and possibly 5 houses on the block don’t have to worry because they have off-street parking by way of driveways or back access and one even cones his space off but still we fuss is even a neighbor takes one of our spaces. One of the spaces has “no parking” signs near their drive and if your car extends past it they will tow it away! It has been that way for years and sure people are not going to change overnight.

Whenever there are functions on Broad where people park in our block, I stay put not to loose my space. The same when the church was still operation on 26th and Marshall on Sundays. You waited until church was out to go anywhere so your space was still there when you got back. I am sure I am not alone there.

BTW, I saw one of those Manhattan taxicabs parked in front of 401 the other night but if you go by codes, should not be there because it is within that 25 foot zone you are not supposed to park near an intersection and can be fined. No, I did not call it in but it did run across my mind. That brings me back to the point of cabs parking near their office in an area that hasn’t been properly satisfied concerning the parking / zoning. If the 401 building hasn’t been corrected in that respect, how can 2706 do that? They can’t and the city is looking into that too.

Eric

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Bob 12/12/2008 at 10:46 AM

#115 “p.s.–I think parking permits are a bad idea–where I live is three blocks from any of the above retail–close enough for me to walk but far enough that people don’t park over here just to go over there. I have a feeling that most people just don’t have to face the problem of having people who don’t live on the block parking on their block.”

That is the whole NIMBY mentality. This thread has gotten snarky to Eric with no regard for his concerns or the immediate neighbors.

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Ramzi 01/20/2009 at 7:27 AM

I saw a crew working inside the middle of the house last week. It looked like they were clearing the interior and had erected a temporary plywood wall. Anythbody know what’s going on?

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Eric S. Huffstutler 01/20/2009 at 8:31 AM

There was a code violation concerning the “main entrance” of that section. It had to be braced up and when they did it, took out the window fillers and put the barricade to keep out people. It was to have been done by 1/4/2009. No “construction” yet.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 01/20/2009 at 9:51 AM

There is some miscommunication as usual with the city and one division who is allowing Walter York to do his thing first (deadline was to have been March now hear May), thought this was the beginning of “work” on the building. When in fact this was work required by code or be fined so was not done as a initiative to start restoration. I believe his current excuse is the weather. If that was a contributing factor, how come the new owners of the house across the street have started restoring that house (in this weather)?

In fact, I still have not heard anything concerning the finalization of plans through C.A.R. nor York finding offsite property for parking. And with each new bracing (which is just a tangled mess of beams randomly placed), there seems to be even more damage done. The back wall is barely there now, the rear part is sagging more, and of course wood is rotting off the building. I have noted more damage on the older brick portion including the cracks that run from ground to roof – the roof itself is twisting, buckling and sagging even more.

I am afraid that the plans “as they are” and C.A.R. misinterpretations of the NPS guidelines will make their way to this structure as they have not saw fit to alter the odd and out of place things but basically slap a coat of paint on it and call the exterior “rehabilitated”. Windows are mis-matched and they plan to work around them, many of the exterior features are post 1880s and not period to this 1815 structure.

If the city thought anything about this unique one of a kind historic building, it would and could have stepped in and placed a lien against it years ago and then took charge of restoring it properly to preserve and restore. It has taken a nonchalant attitude towards it which is sad.

A hint of how this building may have looked in 1815 is shown in a similar building in Petersburg. I will post a copy soon.

I will keep you posted.

Eric

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Ramzi 01/21/2009 at 7:34 PM

Thanks for the update, they were back in there today clearing debris.

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Lisa 01/21/2009 at 8:38 PM

Sounds like a good sign. Hopefully we’ll see further progress in the weeks to come. Think positive!

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crd 01/21/2009 at 11:10 PM

Post #121: “If the city thought anything about this unique one of a kind historic building, it would and could have stepped in and placed a lien against it years ago and then took charge of restoring it properly to preserve and restore. It has taken a nonchalant attitude towards it which is sad.”

Eric, it’s not just this building that the city is being nonchalant about. CAR has legislation behind it that enables it to, in essence, take the building if they deem it a contributing structure. The only time I can remember this happening up here in my 20+ years here was when 11 1/2 North 29th Street was in danger. The legislation isn’t particularly complicated but I’m not sure if I remember all of it; basically, they DO have the ability to take title, although I don’t think the city actually takes title. They offer it for sale at what is deemed market rate, and a non-profit takes title having paid that market rate. I think HRF tried to do something with 401 last year, but I don’t remember what happened.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 01/22/2009 at 11:51 AM

crd…

Yes, HRF was very interested in obtaining this building before it fell to the elements or demolished. But there was a passing of ownership in mid-stream then the new owner going through the motions but not following through. It is those motions that stayed off HRF to allow the owner first right to fix their property even if they were given deadlines.

Ramzi…

I also noticed the debris was removed from the sidewalk as well as the violation notice removed from the window.

Lisa…

The only “positive” thing that could happen is if the city took it over and someone else with the knowledge, concept, and devotion for historic accuracy takes this building over and do it right.

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Ron 01/27/2009 at 12:43 PM

Eric,
I have a question to you about all your crying on the parking situation. The house you live in is wider than most on the block b/c it’s only one room deep. Therefore, it gives you a very large backyard. And the short (wide) alley behind my house leads right into your backyard. Two parking spaces could very easily be added to your yard.
You and your partner could just put a gate in place of the fence and add parking. Your house is very shallow and not deep as all the others on the block.
Your house along with one other house on the block have the ability to have off street parking.
Also in reference to some of the residents being students, I assume you’re talking about my tenants. You don’t own the street in front of your house therefore, they have a right to park anywhere they’d like. My taxes are always paid on my house, and the house is also well maintained. It doesn’t appear to be rental property, it’s kept painted and all exterior repairs are always done. We even keep the shrubs in front and back of the house clipped for the neighbors.
My house is the one that’s nextdoor to this shell, and the shell has cost me thousands of dollars in rental income.
The first quetion, I always get from everyone who views my house is “what’s going on nextdoor?”.
Maybe this blog is a little harsh, but I am very offended by your statement about my tenant’s parking. My house doesn’t have a large enough backyard for off street parking, but your house does have that ability.
Thanks

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/06/2009 at 2:17 PM

Ron.. have you looked to see what obstacles are in the way for back yard off-street parking at our house? How about several trees including the Mulberry tree? Oh I forgot, you are not a “tree hugger” by your own admission. We should have billed you for damages to our property after you compromised a 100 year old tree by severely cutting half of it apart making it unbalanced because you didn’t want any of it over your property. That weakened the rest to split and come across three properties causing damages to all and crushing a travel trailer.

As for your tenants and taxes, we also pay taxes. In fact even more since our assessment went up another $100k this year. What does your partner think about the parking since you don’t own that house solely? Or was some of the cars that never moved for a month directly in front of us belonged to the tenant in your house that was arrested and hauled off in handcuffs? According to ordinance if a vehicle sits for more than 10 days it can be towed and so they were including one that had tags that were 6-months expired! So much for your “selective” tenants.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/06/2009 at 2:25 PM

Update on the Walter York properties.

As you know the three brick business fronts behind 401 also belong to York and the middle (2706 E Marshall) was supposed to become an office for Manhattan Taxicabs. Of course I made sure everyone that was needed to be involved were including Planning, Codes, and Zoning. It appears they did not complete their needed repairs for use change and bringing it up to code and were occupying the office illegally so when they were approached yesterday, the tenants asked for their permit money back and are moving out.

Now we are still working on 401 as Walter York has not fulfilled his schedule dates on the building and things are in the works now… Stay tuned.

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Ron 02/09/2009 at 12:30 PM

Eric,
So you’re calling yourself now, how much of the house you live in do you own?
I forgot none, oh and y didn’t your partner buy the wing addition to your house that once belonged to Robert and Peggy Walz. (407 1/2 N 27th. ST.)
I remember when he used to talk and talk about buying that wing, he used to always call their house a wing. He used to say no matter how much it cost he had the money to buy it. Someone else owns it now.
In reference to the tree that was cut, it was cut over seven years ago as you well know. And the tree doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to your wonderful neighbor who bought 405. We wanted to cut that tree completely down seven years ago, but the slumlord who owned 405 at the time wasn’t willing to pay anything toward the cost of cutting the tree.
There are obstacles in the way of your parking, but you’re no tree hugger either. I remember your partner talking constantly how he’d love to have all those trees cut down back there in your yard.
Tree hugger, your partner’s never been able to get you to cut the grass. You never even go in the yard, I used to live two doors down from you remember?
The two of you even recessed your fence on the southern side of your house so that two of your trees appeared to belong to 405. Talk about tree hugger, lol. what a joke you are.
In reference to my partner and the parking situation, he’s very concerned about it. We unlike you don’t have the option of off stree parking. Our house is entirely to large.
You’re correct, I am no tree hugger, and in my opinion most of those huge trees don’t belong in such small spaces. The tree we had cut is an elm tree, an elm tree can be created from a bird’s s**t.
There’s nothing historic about an elm tree.
In reference to your assed value going up $100k in one year. I keep up with the assessments on all the properties in that block. Your partner is either telling you a lie, or you’re lying. No-one’s assessments went up that much this year. You forget my partner and I make most of our income buying property. Therefore, it would benefit us to keep up with all of that info.
However, in reference to 401 I do appreciate you keeping up with what’s going on there. IT would be nice to see something happen to it after years and years of it sitting there a shell.
In reference to my tenants, you have any complaints that are real about them. YOu know how to get in touch with either one of us.
Have a good day,
Ron

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/09/2009 at 1:03 PM

Ron,

All of these rant doesn’t belong here buy FYI… I pay half the mortgage and have life rights so in essence it is mine too. Unlike your partner giving you yours. As for the wing, jobs are in the balance as with many so it wasn’t feasible to buy right now. As for the assessment, all you have to do is go and look on the City’s website and see how much it went up.

The fence was done that way because of how the trees straddle property lines and we spoke with the owner of 405 when we did it but also the fence at 407-1/2 is over a foot into our property line during the days when we spoke and were doing a good deed so they didn’t have to move their shed.

The tree was cut some time ago but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that it compromised it and it has been a couple of years ago when it split.

Concerning your tenants… I shouldn’t have to confront you on them – you should screen who you put in the house but obviously you only care about the bottom line and how much you can haul in.

Get your facts straight before you start pointing fingers.

And you know how to email me too “off of the forum” and I asked you to so before but you never did. If you have a rebuttal of this, please email me and keep the conversation of this thread focused on 401.

Eric (my real name)

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/09/2009 at 1:16 PM

And besides, you could still be living in that house if you went so “chicken shit” about the neighbors and toughed it out like we did. Gives a sense of where your mind is concerning the neighborhood moving out after giving us a referral for us to buy ours next to you and after your partner’s father died opening up a path for you.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/09/2009 at 1:45 PM

Back on track and a more sane note…

Engineering plans have been reviewed and approved giving way for the owner to obtain permits to begin construction. At this juncture all he will do is develop a “shell” for future use of the 1st floor that originally was going to be a restaurant (zoning and other issues prevailed). And will only develop a single 2nd floor apartment for now.

Historical accuracy is still an issue and I have contacted several people that should be concerned and waiting on responses.

On a side note Ron…

Don’t you feel that larger trees have benefits over saplings? That they save on heating and cooling bills by providing shade in the summer and wind breaks in the winter?

And to be fair, yes, we had thought about taking down at least 2 trees – one because it is in poor condition, one because it has no benefit and is being crowded, and part of one other because of the precariously angled 60+ foot long branch hanging over the property at a 30 degree angle that could split off any time. But all cost $$$ – between $700 to $1,300 per tree to be exact. If you have that kind of disposable cash – bring it on and we will create off-street parking.

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Bob 02/09/2009 at 2:06 PM

“No-one’s assessments went up that much this year”

Ron, maybe not on your block, but that is not completly true. Many assessments went up over $100K.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/09/2009 at 2:53 PM

So true. Ours was the highest increase on the block. Some stayed the same, some went up $30k to $60k or so, and a couple went down (401 and 404 – both abandoned and still waiting for reconstruction). Ron was one of the lower increases of $19k.

Heck, the girl who moved into our wing bought it on December 19th and her assessment jumped $29k

Ours went up $98,700 so you might as well say $100k.

Eric

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Ron 02/09/2009 at 4:09 PM

Eric,
As you call yourself, I had no intention of living nextdoor to those people at 405 at the time. I tried and tried to get the neighbors to stand behind me and get rid of them. However, no-one was interested until I had moved out.
You would have done exactly as I did if given the opportunity. I moved to Tobacco Row, and I was “NOT” going to live beside them. They were right in my frontdoor.
As far as my house being a gift, it certainly was a gift for my anniverary.
In reference to the house being a gift, little do you know that when it was purchased. I was the one who did the entire inside of the house over.
Also, in reference to my partner’s father dying, we had the money for me to move before he died. However, my aunt and his father has made it possible for us to have even more income.
I’ll get very personal right here on this site if you’d like.
I care greatly about who goes into my house, I happen to love that house a great deal. It’s my favorite piece of property we own. I like it even more than I do the one I currently live in. And the one I live in is a much grander house than that one will ever be.
All of the neighbors there know when our house is vacant, y don’t u try and help us find tenants? No-one has ever come forward and asked about a friend of their’s needing a place to live.
And as far as the tenants you are writing about, you come up with a way for me to screen someone’s personal life legally. I am legally allowed to screen their credit, rental references and I am allowed to do a criminal check.
I don’t have living rights, I have 1/2 ownership until the day I die.
And no I don’t think trees of that size should be in any crowded location such as that one.
I know how to check the assed value of all properties in Richmond etc. We buy property for investment.
If you didn’t want anything on this site to get personal, you should have come to me. However, you chose to put it here on this site and expect me not to take it personally.
I don’t have a personal email for you!!!

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/09/2009 at 4:59 PM

Hey, you were the one who started it… and you do have my email as it hasn’t changed since 1999.

We know quite well the horrors with 405 since we were personally harassed in the street by them, didn’t dare sit outside on our own property, had no less than 5 cars stolen or broken in to, and of course saw all of the dealings going on. We tried to buy Stan Smith’s house outright and our frineds offered way more than it was worth – up to $200k but he wouldn’t budge! Of course after he died his son sold it to Spencer for far less that Stan could have gotten on our offers.

But the neighborhood has changed and so have the neighbors so why haven’t you come back after the mess in 405 moved out?

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Deanna 02/09/2009 at 8:26 PM

Eric,

In skimming through this LONG post you mentioned:

“And of course there is the issue of being able to safely walk to ones house if handicapped”.

You can approach the city about that if you or your partner is in need of such an accommodation. I’ve seen such spaces here in front of houses. As Union Hill said the space may be up for grabs for any auto with a permit. Ask if it can be made exclusive. I always ask for exactly what I want knowing the worst I can hear is a “no”. You’d be surprised how many times that approach yields a “yes”.

As for you and Ron, Gentlemen, it’s a small world. This site appears to be about community and making Church Hill a better place by being informed, sharing concerns, solving problems and bringing the “neighbor” back in neighborhood. A suggestion: How about if you two meet over several drinks and bury the hatchet? Preferably not IN each other.

Again, the worst I can hear back is a , “no” 😉 That said, I’m running back behind the firing line **BIG GRIN**

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Ron 02/10/2009 at 11:53 PM

Eric,
Are you really serious, me come back?
I’d have to live nextdoor to whatever does end up in that shell if anything ever does. Secondly, I live in a much grander house now with a park view.
If I do move again, it’ll be to the west end. My partner has had to have heart valve surgery in the last two years, and just two months ago had another heart attack.
Having two businesses to run and with his health not being what it used to be.
I would most likely move closer to him.
I like it out by CCV or U of R area, but I don’t know. My house is barely large enough for my business, and it’s much larger than the one there on 27th. street.
Plus I have the vacant lot nextdoor that I bought with the house, and Ron Renmark helped me design a beautiful English garden.
I do like that house a lot, and as you know I had started designing a beautiful courtyard prior to moving out.
Those bad people also tormented me, they used to beat against my house. I lived alone, you had someone living with you.
There’s not much chance of me ever coming back to live there, it’ll most likely remain rental for a long time to come.
However, I did want to say two things, I don’t have your email anymore, and you started it by talking about my tenants.
I hadn’t a clue as to which ones you were even mentioning. There’s been great tenants in that house for years now.
The very first group years ago did cause a lot of trouble. Think of what my house looked like after they moved out.
It was a nightmare.
Anyway, I have no desire to argue with you. All I pointed out was that you along with 405 do have the possibility of off street parking.
I don’t want anything other than a Strawberry street market there, what a grand thought?
It’s nice clean and not very expensive.
And the traffic it did generate would only be temporary, not one to two hours at a time.
Have a good day,later

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Ron 02/10/2009 at 11:56 PM

Eric,
What about the barber shop, the back of those building are horrible? Are the barber shop and beauty shop still there?
IS there anything in the extended part of that building?
Everytime I go by there, it looks closed.
Do u know anything about that?
Thanks,
Ron

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/11/2009 at 1:40 PM

Ron,

The three brick business fronts that sit behind 401 are also owned by Walter York. The Barber Shop (or whatever they ran out of it) was never open “legit” and never saw anyone coming in or out except the manager. The middle shop (2706 E. Marshall) was being worked on to open up as an office for Manhattan Taxicab but they did not bring the building up to code and was occupying it without clear permits so when an inspector came by after I brought this to their attention, the tenants asked for their permit money back and moved out. Or at least I think they did because there is a chained bicycle still in front of it?

As for 401… The engineering plans have been approved and believe also the architectural ones through C.A.R. so now it is up to Walter York to do something with the building before it collapse. I know there is a meeting of the minds with a couple of people tomorrow over the building and may have something to post on that afterwards? But do know that what will be done if it ever flies, is to simply create a shell on the 1st floor to have a business open up there later and a single apartment on the 2nd floor. There will be an entrance stairs going to the second floor between it and 403 but there were some issues in the past about it being “closed in” and too small for code. Think that design has been corrected.

A restaurant would be a bad idea considering competition near by, the small footprint, parking issues, noise, trash, etc… A small local market would work and go with what the building was originally built for.

The arrest was last month as I remember and the neighbors watched it happen and told us about it.

I don’t wish to argue either and sorry to hear about H.

Eric

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Ramzi 02/18/2009 at 8:07 PM

They were pouring a concrete foundation or slab in the back end of it when I drove by recently, looks like they’re starting to move on the project.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 03/06/2009 at 1:39 PM

Yes, they laid a cinder block perimeter base for wall foundations but stopped due to the weather. The back (north) wall is only supported in mid air by lean-to struts and has shifted due to the weight. Though they were doing that, I haven’t noticed any new building permits posted?

The 2706 E Marshall St. building is also still occupied and I am now getting the runaround from the city about what is going on when I was last told they were moving out and the building wasn’t up to code?

Needless to say I am not happy at all that the city in any of its capacities, didn’t take a special interest in this singularly unique building and oversaw its proper restoration rather than letting someone do “whatever” they want to it. The city had plenty of opportunities available but never acted on them.

Also, thought this was supposed to have come up on the March 3rd City Council agenda?

Eric

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Ron 03/17/2009 at 11:55 AM

Eric,
Do u know how to get in touch with the guy who owns 401? There’s an old air conditioner that sticks out a lot into my garden. I’d like it removed, especially since the property is now vacant the a/c is installed. I don’t think the city is ever going to make this owner do anything with this building. This owner has connections downtown and, he obviously doesn’t have to follow the same rules as the rest of us. I think the owner of the two buildings in the 300 block are the same, the woman knows someone downtown, and they’ll never make her do anything with the buildings.
I being a person who buys real-estate for investment reasons find it very interesting they sit there year after year. What a waste of money, they still have to pay taxes on the properties.
They may even have connections downtown that prevents them from having to follow those rules as well.
The previous owner wanted to be certain those buildings would be sold to someone who’d do nothing with them. He’s gotten his wish.
I believe the owner of 401 is just going to allow the building to fall down, and do nothing about it.
Why don’t you try and get up a petition, and have as many people sign it as possible. Present it to the city and see if they’ll do anything “then”.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 04/06/2009 at 9:56 AM

April 6, 2009

Just wanted to post an update even though I am still waiting on some answers to questions to help clarify the status of things happening…

There was a change of staff at the CDC and Art Dahlberg was replaced with Ray Abbasi. And of course Delores McQuinn has a temporary replacement with Betty Squire.

Back in late January, myself and another concerned party met with city officials at the site to discuss the plans and what is or wasn’t being done. The owner missed deadline after deadline and a list was presented along with a copy of the blueprints. It was suggested that everyone involved should get together in one room to discuss the building and have everyone on the same page – that would include planning, zoning, inspectors, C.A.R., the owner, architect, city council, myself and the other concerned party. This never happened.

Next, I understand that zoning was holding up building permits because of the lack of parking required for the change of use from a laundromat to restaurant. The owner could never resolve this problem and there may have been other issues like demographics and finances so they decided to scrap the restaurant, only fix up a shell for a future business and work on the single family apartment instead which changed the need for the parking and freed up the permit.

Construction started on the wooden section and over time it was said that the original walls would be salvaged and incorporated in the restoration but they were in very poor condition. A wall footing was laid but failed 2 inspections Рyet they continued building on top of them and all but part of the fa̤ade was demolished and reconstructed with new walls destroying historic aspects. Then there are C.A.R. issues.

The C.A.R. approved plans done by Charles Field but the storefront proposed to open the wooden section back up is “modern” and doesn’t reflect the 1850s design. This goes against what they have been preaching about “false historicism”… their adding a modern front that never existed to a historic building.

The CDC states the building is still under spot blight and has to be brought up to city council yet Ray Abbasi seems to thing else wise and looks to be sidestepping all of this and trying to find out why but haven’t received a clear answer.

While work is being done on the wooden section, nothing is being done on the older brick portion as of this date. And the wooden section butts up against the back wall which was replaced in 2004 and is crumbling. The head inspector even made mention about the wall falling down due to incorrect mortar used yet they allow it to stand.

That is the latest… a bunch of contradictions and people either not working together or being ignored and/or having rank pulled. And while Betty Squire was all for being on top of this situation, she too has fallen silent.

Ron, you are correct. The buildings that sit on the even side of E. Marshall behind 401 are all owned by the same person as 401 – Walter Sylvester York, III. The buildings across the street including the bicycle shop are all owned by Sandra Mirray. Of course Sandra is the sister to Patrick Murry, the previous owner of 401 and the buildings along Marshall and is the brother-in-law to Walter York… keeping it in the family.

Though Walter York is supposed to be a contractor I have yet to see any work he has done nor find any permits issued to him for any other buildings in Richmond.

Eric

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Eric S. Huffstutler 04/06/2009 at 10:20 AM

Ron… here is York’s contact info:

Walter S York
9939 Stroud Ln
Richmond, VA 23236
(804) 745-9179

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Eric S. Huffstutler 04/06/2009 at 10:37 AM

Also Ron, I would check the brick on your 403 property especially between it and 401. I see a wooden section rotted and bricks getting ready to fall down around the chimney base as well as that raccoon hole still there on the other side. I am sure construction will loosen things up more.

And your tenants are going to get into a bunch of trouble with us and neighbors on the block. They have loud parties on the weekends that last onwards to early morning hours keeping people awake and throwing bottles and trash everywhere – including our property. The neighbors have called the police and we will too about the noise and do so every weekend until they observe the midnight silence ordinance. I would tell you direct but you seem to have deleted my email address?

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Brad 04/06/2009 at 11:57 AM

Eric, thanks for the update in post 144.

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Park 04/14/2009 at 1:12 AM

Eric,
You know my address, and my phone number is listed in the phone book.
Ron

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Ron 04/14/2009 at 2:59 AM

Eric,
You see a wooden part of my house with some rotten wood? And this wood is on the side of facing 401. I find that interesting b/c I lived in the house for three years. There was never any wooden parts to that side of my house. It’s completely brick, and no windows.
The racoon whole is still there facing your side? I paid someone a year ago to repair that.
You can call me, you just prefer to advertise the fact that you don’t like my tenants on this blog. You know where I live, and how to look up my phone number.
I think that the two of you need to consider having your house painted this spring. There’s an ordinance in the city for clapboard houses. They have to repain painted with no chipped paint.
If the neighbors are having problems with my tenants, call me. And send me a certified letter in the mail. We’ll have proof for the tenants there are real complaints about them.
However, don’t expect a 24 -48 hour solution. Landlord – tenant relationships don’t work that quickly.
We require a certified letter in the event it ends up in court. We’ll have proof of the complaint.
It’s abundantly obvious you don’t like the folks who rented my house. However, I would appreciate it if you’d contact us by phone, or write us a letter.
It’s not fair to us that u do this on these blogs.
Thanks,
Ron

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Ron 09/08/2009 at 11:06 AM

Does anyone know anything about the progress on this property. I’ve noticed the contractors work about one 1/2 day a month, and the windows are not regulation. The second floor windows are not exactly like what was there before the new ones were installed.
Is the owner ever going to finish the buliding.
Thanks,

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Eric S. Huffstutler 06/28/2010 at 6:03 PM

You know, I am with Steven on this. The response time concerning ANYTHING being done with this building has gone waaaay beyond ridiculous! Here it has been 6 years now. A half dozen owners, shakeups in the city, and still nothing has been accomplished with 401 except them tearing down the wooden section which was supposed to have been saved and reused. The facade was to have been preserved but instead they built basically all new. The windows put in are not up to CAR specs and regulations nor the mouldings. Permits have expired. Nothing is being done and the last I heard it had fallen back into Spot Blight status but again, nothing is happening. At one point this past April the building inspector stressed that they were talking to the owners to work out plans but absolutely nothing has been said.

Here we have the 325 building across the street renovated and basically completed in a fraction of the time that 401 has been sitting and rotting away.

I am now at the end of my rope and going to take this nationally if someone doesn’t make a move and get this building sold, or RESTORED to it’s pristine 1815 glory. Yes, a fire does need to be put under the city’s ass to get something done!

I will keep people posted unless someone knows something I don’t?

Eric

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laura 06/28/2010 at 6:52 PM

You go Eric! We know whose ass we have to kick!

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crd 06/28/2010 at 7:00 PM

Eric #151, nope I know of nothing new. Good luck with getting something done. I don’t know if contacting the National Trust for Historic Preservation would help. They DO list some things that are in imminent danger of being lost, but I don’t know about a single house making their list, as they seem to list larger structures. Perhaps ’12 on your side’ or Channel 8 (which has done a few pieces about houses up here, notably one on the leaning house down at 22nd and Marshall that RBVa Inc. saved) or one of the other local network television channels might help, but I’m not even sure about that…again, good luck. You’ve obviously put a lot of energy into this one.

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