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Opposition gathering signatures against Citadel project

Liz Opalak has launched an online petition in opposition to the density of the proposed Citadel of Hope project:

BHC is trying to jam 52 apartments into a 2-ish acre lot in violation of several CAR and City Zoning regulations. Please take a look at (and sign!) this petition to be presented to CAR.

There is also a paper version of the petition at C. Alexander’s Dry Cleaners on Venable Street.

The project is on the agenda for the Tuesday, September 27, CAR meeting.

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Robbie Summey
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Robbie Summey

I am pro-growth and reinvestment into the inner city neighborhoods that have been neglected for decades. This area has a lot of investors chomping at the bit to renovate homes/apartments and build new construction. It doesn’t need a gift project from a non-profit at this point. Private investors would gladly take over this building and lot. They would renovate it to fit in with the growing atmosphere of the neighborhood.

Robbie Summey
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Robbie Summey

I like non-profits to work in the neighborhoods that private investors are afraid to risk their money in. This neighborhood has turned the corner in the eyes of many investors and developers.

Fox Grace
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Fox Grace

A private investor almost certainly wouldn’t be prioritizing affordable housing for those who need it, though, especially in a neighborhood where rent and housing prices are rapidly skyrocketing. Just a thought!

Catherine Illian
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Catherine Illian

Can we also have a pro petition too?!

Dashawna Wright
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Dashawna Wright liked this on Facebook.

Lee
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Lee

Can we also have a petition for the project, but only if they can make it less fugly? (Isn’t that more in line with CARs purpose anyway? Seems like the density issue is a BZA concern, not a CAR concern)

Rebecca Parker
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Rebecca Parker

Increasing housing density is how you decrease housing cost.

Liz Opalak
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Liz Opalak

I want to emphasize this petition is not against this development being an affordable housing project. It is against the putting as many tenants into a lot as they can disregarding community input and zoning regulations, and against a the planned structure which will detract from the historic nature of the neighborhood.

Juliellen
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Juliellen

NIMBY is alive and well in Church Hill! the BHC development will provide affordable and well-managed housing in an area where renters are being forced out left and right.

Jeff
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Jeff

CAR is not where you fight density. Not that I have a problem with the density. This proposal is probably a few more units than it should be, but it is getting better every time they come back with revisions. I find it hard to believe that the numbers don’t work with a few less units. It could use some more green space that has a meaningful function. CAR is only supposed to review how the design fits into the historic neighborhood. Its size, scale, materials, articulation of the facades, does it take cues from the surrounding architecture. You might… Read more »

Kathleen Sanders
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Kathleen Sanders liked this on Facebook.

Neighbor
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Neighbor

@Jeff – Totally agree!

@Robbie – good points as well

@Jullien – it IS certainly important to try and mitigate people being pushed out. That said friends of mine recently had to move because they didn’t feel safe due to some serious issues going on at the house next door to them which is BHC managed. Not that it was necessarily a BHC management issue but just because a good organization like BHC is managing a property does not mean that site will not have serious issues.

Elaine Odell
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@ Jeff, CAR can make decisions about a anything specific to a project that effects the character of a Richmond City Old and Historic District. CAR’s most important job is to protect and preserve the unique architectural character of historic neighborhoods. If that character is jeopardized by density (achieved by building a structure which either too big or too tall in relationship to nearby existing historic structures,) then it’s up to the community to make their case and provide CAR with the rationale to make an informed decision regarding the project.

facebook_Sarah La Mere.10153192441042211
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facebook_Sarah La Mere.10153192441042211

I can’t see how the aesthetic of a neighborhood is more important than caring for the people who live in that neighborhood.

Ali Payne
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Ali Payne

I totally agree..we should all be concerned for those folks being “pushed out”. Don’t ask how or why they are being ‘pushed out’ as that is not a comfortable political question to ask. Just label it being ‘pushed out’ and let the discussion end there. And don’t bother to keep in mind that we all are potentially subject to being ‘pushed out’ (either by increasing property value or DECREASING property value The beauty of this project is that it appears that this Maersk housing is a very good answer. Since, as noted above, (“Increasing housing density is how you decrease… Read more »

Sarah La Mere
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Sarah La Mere

@Rebecca Parker – one more time for the people in the back!

Charles
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Charles

It does seem like this project doesn’t really allow for families. These units are 700 square foot and only have one parking space. It seems like it would detract from the social cohesion of the neighborhood in most respects, not just aesthetically. I don’t see why they didn’t go with a design that involves duplexes and single family homes, perhaps with yards.

Neighbor
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Neighbor

@Charles. -Amen! I don’t know why anyone feels like this scenario is either or. It seems like some feel like this has to be all low income housing or all market rate. All single family and low density multi family or total maximum density multifam. I personally don’t have a problem with high density and I am highly in favor of anyone providing high quality affordable housing. I just don’t think this building reads well architecturally in the context of Union Hill and if I am being honest I don’t think the design, location, ratio of low income housing to… Read more »

Neighbor
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Neighbor

Also…

And this is sincerely a question can anyone provide the stats that high density (which I am not opposed to) lowers housing costs? I think that would really add to the conversation. Having never seen any stats on that in my life I am just curious because my observation has been that usually the higher the density the greater the cost of living…I’m thinking Manhatan.

Not that we are in any danger of becoming NYC or anything. Just curious about the math.

Lee
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Lee

@ Neighbor – I don’t think it takes stats to show that higher density reduces cost – it’s a matter of economies of scale and supply and demand. Very econ 101 type stuff. Not trying to be rude, just saying the argument is based on basic economic principles. As for the ratio of low-income to market rate housing: It is my understanding that this is determined first by the programs used (LIHTC, HOME funding, etc.), which have minimum requirements. Then, because these funding sources are competitive, it is my understanding that developers often have to up the ante, so to… Read more »

Neighbor
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Neighbor

@Lee. I appreciate you man. No offense taken for sure. And I agree that the first day…year… after 52 new units are introduced to the market the supply of housing will grow and inversely price should go down or could stabilize if it is currently rising. As I have said before I am not opposed to density or to BHC at all. If I may read into your second paragraph a bit it seems like you may actually have the same macro economic concerns that I have. I feel like this entire project is built on the perceived notion that… Read more »

DerekW
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DerekW

So folks understand the economics of it… Higher density does not guarantee lower rent, rent is set by supply and demand like any other economic commodity. Don’t think, just because you have packed a lot of people in a small space, that rent goes down – a lot of times it is the opposite. So, to say it is lower income with lower rents isn’t a given just because of density. Developers and owners will get max return regardless.

Liz Opalak
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Liz Opalak

CAR approved the renovations for the current Citadel building (i.e. replacing windows, repairing brickwork and stairs) and deferred their approval of the proposed two new buildings. BHC will be working with CAR staff to make adjustments to their design in order to minimize the mass of the Jessamine street building and to bring both new buildings into compliance with historic district guidelines. New plans will be presented at another CAR meeting- details to follow.

Thanks you everyone who signed for showing your support for preserving our historic neighborhood.