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East End News

Packed room for public meeting on Glenwood Ridge Apartments

Shane Doran from the Humanities Foundation and lawyer T. Preston Lloyd, Jr. of Williams Mullen faced a curious and at least semi-hostile crowd of about 50 at the Family Resource Center this evening, presenting and taking questions on the proposed Glenwood Ridge Apartments at a meeting organized by Councilwoman Newbille.

The proposed development consists of two 3-story (on a podium) apartment buildings on the site of the old trolley barn off of Glennwood Avenue. The 82 unit complex will consist of 12 1-bedroom units, 46 2-bedroom units, and 24 3-bedroom units, with maximum rents of $815 for 1 bedroom units, $978 for 2 bedroom units, and $1,129 for 3-bedroom. Doran stated that the rents would likely be about $100 lower. The project as drawn has over 150 parking spaces.

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Shane Doran

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Glenwood Ridge Apartments

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The units are mandated to be affordable (based on the tax credits applied for), and would be mandated to be so for the next 35 years.

The project is by-right based on the the zoning (zoned R-63 in 2010), with 82 units an effective under-utilization of the potential density of the location. The project is in the early stages and still need to go before Planning and to be permitted by the city. Doran stated that they hope to have permits by April.

The density/scale/massing of the buildings and the “affordable housing” tag were areas of concern based on questions from the audience.

While Doran states that he is not involved in “any active or inactive” conversations about other property in the area, he did say that he had been in contact with Frank Wood about adjacent properties up the hill.

The development documents were first brought to Planning and Review on November 23, 2016. Cynthia Newbille was only made aware of the proposal after calls from the community after the demolition permit was recently discussed here.

The Humanities Foundation is a South Carolina non-profit developer of affordable and workforce housing, with a for-profit arm that manages the properties once built. The Humanities Foundation has 11 developments completed or underway in Virginia, though only 3 are shown on their website. They recently had a project denied by the Hopewell City Council.

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Martha McConnell Looney
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Martha McConnell Looney

FB_1383093521731584

Nia McCabe Strei
Guest
Nia McCabe Strei

FB_10154447574047933

Commodus
Guest
Commodus

How does the non profit /for profit thing work?

It seems weird to have a non profit developer who then pushes everything on to a for profit management group.

After a brief bit of looking it seems that the Humanties Foundation is run by a Tracy T. Doran while a Robert J. Doran, Jr. runs the management company, JDC.

Not sure that’s a terrible thing, but it seems like a tree some one should bark up.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Let’s all gather together and urge city council to change the zoning from R-63 for the parcel of land
north of this property. If this can be done it will eliminate the possibility (and likelihood based on the developers vaugeness) that an extension of this development, or a similar one, can be built. The developer won this round. Let’s even the score! Everyone in attendance at tonight’s meeting should have gotten a sense for how shady this developer is.

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

Sorry I was not there but, did anyone bring up the issue of “location” as in the congestion of low income housing already in that area? It seemed to have been a big issue with the project thread. Sounds like all they focused on was the affordability aspect and then, dealing with “tax credits”. If the “tax credits” are anything like the so called Affordable Care Act with Obamacare, then the poorest of the poor will not qualify for credits to be able to afford the apartments. How do people get around that if they are not able to work… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

The developer and some of the low income housing cheerleaders in the back of the room played a lot of misdirection games with maximums and minimums. Maximum rents and maximum incomes. Minimum 10% voucher candidates. They cried $43,000 is not poverty!! No, it isn’t but that is maximum. Most will make below the maximum. And many will make far below than the maximum and will be using housing vouchers. Make no mistake the developer will take as many housing voucher candidates as they can because the government is more reliable in cutting checks than people living paycheck to paycheck. So… Read more »

Mars
Guest
Mars

The biggest question I have is where do we go from here? Besides selling, what recourse do we, as adjacent property owners have? This is not acceptable.

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

@4 Mars. Are you talking about property values? Crime? Or something else? Your post brings up another question… just how far away is enough distance from those on the other side of the creek too make a difference? Or should it be an issue at all considering there hasn’t been a problem before now?

The question at hand is the concentration of low income housing on top of more low income housing rather than finding another location within the city where it is more needed.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Any predictions as to the property values for those folks located around or off of Chimborazo park?

Neighbor
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Neighbor

Can someone that understands R-63 zoning better than I do explain how that 4-story building is “by right”? Max height in R-63 for non-corner buildings is 35ft. That building has to be taller than 35ft. Anyone?

Neighbor
Guest
Neighbor

#2 Dave: the best way to prevent future “extensions” of this project or any other similar projects won’t be to seek rezoning. That will be tough to accomplish and take years. Rather, someone needs to keep an eye on applications coming into VHDA and gather community support to oppose them in force during the public hearing windows, while also getting our local councilperson and Mayor’s office involved. That’s how you stop future projects like this.

Nia Strei
Guest
Nia Strei

Why should we allow the city to demolish he Trolley Barn without a fight to retain or incorporate it into any ultimate development? The city deemed this building to be of historic significance in their master plan. The developer said last night that Ms. Chen had indicated that CAR was fine with the demolition proposed. Maybe ( a lot of ) phone calls to her office would make a difference?!

Hill Runner
Guest
Hill Runner

@#8 It seems there is an exception if the bottom floor is at least half comprised of parking.

Maximum height in special cases. A maximum height of four stories shall be permitted in the case of a building in which not less than 50 percent of the area of the ground floor is devoted to accessory parking deck use in compliance with the provisions of Section 30-419.4(5), provided that in such case no story shall exceed ten feet in height.

Cadeho
Guest
Cadeho

Better off being a commercial site for a grocery store or something…

ian
Guest
ian

The current state of the approval process is administrative and the head of the relevant office was also there last night. Dies anyone have his office’s contact office? I am not quite sure how wide his office’s discretion is but it seems to me most of our concerns can be phrased as issues in the “fits with surrounding development” category of issues that the office is supposed to consider. The big issues that seem relevant to that category are: – The project terminates on a road with no sidewalk yet the residents are expected to have a low rate of… Read more »

Kay9
Guest
Kay9

@7. They will certainly take a hit. The desirability quotient just dropped significantly. A good comparison would be the homes on or around Princess Anne. Those properties just don’t see great price appreciation due to proximity to Mosby. They might be great houses but the market is very small for those who want to share digs With a project.
This development would do no favors for the surrounding neighbors. Sell now while the getting is good.

Clay Street
Guest
Clay Street

Takeaways: Lots of coded language about “those people” used by a room full of white people. Hard to not notice that. That being said, I felt that there ARE truly valid concerns about concentration of poverty and site-specific infrastructure issues that are deserving of better attention, management and oversight than the permitting and zoning process currently allows. Mr. Doran seemed like he was straight out of central casting for “greedy developer jerk” and the attorney looked like Topher Grace from That Seventies Show. I’m really bummed out about the dismissiveness of Mr. Doran, he obviously DGAF about any of the… Read more »

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

Over at Nextdoor, someone made a concern post about the developer and managing company does not screen it’s residents for Felonies or Sex Offenders as told to them by both. This is a concern but at the same time, landlords can ask as part of the contract (and place a clause in it for tenants to do due diligence on their part) and find through a credit check if the tenant has a record but can not disclose themselves to other tenants if someone has a record. Megan’s Law requires sex offenders to register their resident moves, which are public… Read more »

35th & M
Guest
35th & M

My takeaway from the meeting is that all of the frustrations were directed to developer rather than our councilperson.

@13 I am also very concerned about the width of the road but is it a true “deal breaker” for this moving forward? If so how can this issue be elevated quickly? It seems they will be breaking ground soon.

Nia
Guest

WRT THE TROLLEY BARN DEMO: This is excerpted from the “Old and Historic Richmond Design Guidelines” published by the City–To Wit: There may instances when a property owner applies to the Commission for demolition of a building that is considered “historic” by virtue of the 50-year threshold, but the building design may be of such minor significance that the building is classified as noncontributing to the historic character of the District. If the building also meets one or more of the other criteria listed (i.e. if it is severely deteriorated, a source or blight or the demolition request will make… Read more »

ian
Guest
ian

So it sounds like there are two opportunities for the city to scuttle the development, first by denying the development plan and second by denyingthe demolition permit.

Interestingly, last night the developer breezed past both the historical review and the granting of the demolition permits as done deals but it seems like those processes cannot even formally begin until the plan of development is approved.

It sounds like those are the two office’s we need to engage with. Does anyone have relevant contact information?

Neighbor
Guest
Neighbor

Ian: there is NO historical review. CAR doesn’t have a say in this project as this lies outside of the Old & Historic District. Look up the maps – it’s clear. The way to scuttle this is by going to the city and having them deny the plan of development, though I don’t know how effective this will be. Again this is NOT in CAR

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

I believe Marianne Pitts is the person at CAR who makes the final approvals.

The assessor’s office thinks the building is in fair condition for its age (not poor condition) per the property listing and is worth 64% of the entire property value so must have worth and not blighted. Wasn’t it occupied by Main Stage Productions and someone else after that? Or rented for events?

Building permit # 1976 was issued in 1911 for the Richmond and Henrico Railway. Co. for a trolley car barn and machine shop.

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

@30 Neighbor, you are correct. It falls outside both the Old & Historic (O&H) as well as any Federal Historic Neighborhood Registry (DHR). I made that clear as well in my other posts and my mentioning Marianne Pitts is to appease those who question a contact for CAR approvals…. now and in the future.

Nia
Guest

The property is still occupied by some business entities and there is business activity there on a regular basis, with minimal traffic.

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

While we are here, I will make a shameless plug 🙂

Back in March 2014, I wrote an accredited article about the history of the trolley system in Richmond (first successful electric system in America started right here in Church Hill) which may be of interest…starts on page 18. Here is the link to the CHA Newsletter:

http://www.churchhill.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2014MAR_WEB.pdf

Eric

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

@23 Nia… Thanks. I thought it was. So, why is it being demolished? For some reason in the back of my mind, wasn’t there talk at one time of making it into some sort of dinner theater, restaurant, or arts center along the lines of the Robinson Theater? Or a combination of them? Maybe make it into a local history museum with a focus on lost Fulton. Or at the low end, a rental storage facility. There are plenty of things the long old and well built building can be used for. Try incorporating it into the property or better… Read more »

Michelle W
Guest
Michelle W

I am not sure who to contact with this question, but would it be possible to schedule a follow up meeting for concerned citizens (without the developer at the front of the room) to talk about potential next steps we can take urgently as a community to, if not stop completely right away, at least delay the permitting for a reasonable amount of time until more issues are resolved? It seems like even though the development was presented as though it would move forward, there are numerous points where it could be interrupted with the concerted work of our community.… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

I went to the developer’s website to get names of their projects. Focusing on the Family Apartments rather than the Senior Apartments. Found reviews for Puddledock Place in Prince George VA. Almost entirely one star reviews on apartments.com including this one: “Office management has been extremely bad. Not only do they fail to do something about the loitering of people in the breeze ways at all times of the day/night, but the children run rampant from building to building up and down the stairs. The police are here daily due to the million and one domestic issues that takes place.… Read more »

Neighbor
Guest
Neighbor

@Paul – wake up! This is happening not because of R-63 zoning but because our local government is asleep at the wheel! Mayor’s office, Councilperson, and planning!

If you want to do something about this, reach out to planning and see what can be done.

Paul
Guest
Paul

@Neighbor – huh, were you at the meeting? The Director of Planning was there. He was indifferent. All he talked about was R-63 Zoning over and over again. That if we didn’t support this sort of outcome that we had a chance between 2007 and 2010 to provide input during the zoning master plan update… I don’t see him as an ally nor did the councilperson Newbill seem like she cared about any of our feedback other than the road/sidewalk condition. She mostly spoke in platitudes.

CISCO
Guest
CISCO

First of this whole project does not make any sense! The area needs to be rezoned. There is no need for a supermarket a block away from another one. There is the Chimbo market up the hill, Farm Fresh is on main, Food Lion is on Williamsburg and Charles city road intersection, Kroger’s, Aldi is coming up, and a WALMART. Seriously! Are you lazy? This developer is planning on putting approx. 84 units with maybe 2 parking space per unit which is 168 cars if at full capacity. 2 heart beats per bedroom. The parking lot leads directly to Glenwood… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

From the city website…”The intent of the R-63 Multi-Family Residential district is to encourage development of a medium-density neighborhood comprised of a mix of residential uses while promoting a pedestrian-oriented urban environment.” I say this project does not fall within this intent. It does NOT include a “mix of residential uses” by limiting itself to low income residents. It does NOT promote a pedestrian-oriented environment, it doesn’t have sidewalks. And the building height issue still hasn’t been completely settled. The developer refused to say what the heights were. “Main buildings” cannot exceed 35 ft. I tried to call the number… Read more »

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

From what people are saying, it appears this developer has no interest in what the community has to say and Newbille is supporting them. I would not lay this on the newly appointed Mayor, Levar Stoney’s doorstep. Instead, reach out to his office to see if he is aware of what is going on with this project and the indifferent attitude of the developer. Also, contact the City Council President, Chris Hilbert, and alert him about the project and Newbille’s reactions.

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

@33 John… I am hoping she was not “influenced” in any way by the developer? I would accept that she seemed genuinely annoyed but, did she step in to act as the voice of her constituents at the meeting and ask the hard questions while not backing down until she got the answers? I wonder just what weight she has concerning the advancement or blockage of the project process?

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

Since I was not at the meeting, all I can go on is what others have said they witnessed or experienced. The consensus seems to be that the developer and management come across as money grubbing opportunists who run things like slumlords, and only interested in obtaining government money. It takes backbone to stand up against businesses like that and if people in Church Hill, Chimborazo, and Ashley Oaks need to ban together to shake things up, then I guess it is up to us to make things happen to obtain transparency with these people from South Carolina.

Dave
Guest
Dave

@35: I’m not an expert on how to fight this sort of thing, but I am willing to participate in a group of folks who will try to. Who else wants to band together on this? We need to take immediate action if this developer is pushing for a building permit approval by April, as mentioned in the meeting.

animal lover
Guest
animal lover

Is there anyone who knows how to fight this? or at least prevent even more “communities” like the one proposed to be built on the remaining lots? I think there is an interest to prevent this but we we need to someone with some knowledge of the processes.

David
Guest
David

Has a plan of development been filed with the city?
If it has, this would be a starting point to oppose the plan with the city.

David
Guest
David

Some of the comments make very good points to build opposition to this development with Planning. 1. Creating unsafe conditions in re: public safety The very nature of this project would suggest that many of the residents will not have vehicles. For reference, look at the parking lots surrounding Ashley Oaks- very few cars- full occupancy. That being said, how will the residents of this community travel to obtain services? Likely, by walking on narrow streets, traveling blind corners- all with no sidewalks. Walking up the hill to get to school, bus stops, the market, etc. on a narrow, busy… Read more »

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

@40 David, I am not sure about your question #2 concerning toxic substances being used or stored there. Keep in mind that this was built as a trolley barn in 1911, before any EPA regulations. I am sure they stored oil, grease, and solvents there. The trolley system ended in 1949 though tracks were being torn up as early as 1945. And, not certain if they converted it to a bus shed or not… needs investigating. With that said, I am sure the city inspected the property sometime afterwards. When the last full-time tenant was there, they rented tents and… Read more »

Rob Pate
Guest
Rob Pate

I like the idea of arguing in writing that it does NOT meet R-63 requirements as mentioned in a previous post. (I cant seem to relocate the very informed post to give cred) It would need to be done pronto. Could someone speak at the next city council meeting?

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

Hey Rob… that would be @31 Dave above.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Thanks for the backing Rob @42. The next city council meeting is tomorrow evening at 6:00pm. I don’t see anything on the posted agenda that this development will be discussed. I sent an email letter to Dr. Newbille last week stating my concerns and opinions but did not receive a response. I will rewrite and send a new email to each council member tomorrow. Also, I see that the next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for 2/21 yet no agenda is posted. I don’t know exactly what that means.

Martha Looney
Guest

Request a follow up meeting.

cynthia.newbille@richmondgov.com
Mark.Olinger@richmondgov.com

The more we requrst, the more likely we can get the meeting.

Eric Huffstutler
Guest
Eric Huffstutler

I am only going to say this. It is not just me but other people have tried many times over the years to contact Newbille via email about various things. She never replies and at best, you “may” receive a response from her sidekick, Sam Patterson. When it comes to asking questions that requires answers that do not fit into her vision or agenda… good luck hearing back. I would, and have, gone down to City Hall to arrange a face-to-face meeting in the past. That may be your best bet. I have had no dealings with Olinger but other… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Mr. Olinger, As a citizen and property owner, I am contacting you to express my concerns regarding the proposed “Glenwood Ridge Apartments” development. These concerns center on this developments compliance with the current land use zoning, R-63, and its compatibility with the surrounding area. From the city’s website: “The intent of the R-63 Multi-Family Residential district is to encourage development of a medium-density neighborhood comprised of a mix of residential uses while promoting a pedestrian-oriented urban environment.” Below is a list of conflicts between this proposed development and the requirements of the R-63 designation: 1. This development does not include… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Responses I have received to the email: Mark Olinger – an automated response saying he won’t be in his office until tomorrow. And copied below from Samuel Patterson, liaison to Dr. Newbille…. Good Afternoon Mr. … and on behalf of councilwoman Newbille, let me take this time to thank you for your email regarding the proposed Glenwood Avenue Project. Councilowoman Newbille has met with several City Officials on this project and we are waiting on a response letter and as soon as we get an updated response, we will let you know what is going on with this project. Thanks-Sam… Read more »