City considers major rezoning in Church Hill

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The heart of Church Hill could soon be re-zoned; 1400 parcels, including neighborhoods, vacant lots and empty store fronts.

"Hopefully it will encourage that investment and allow those spaces to be reoccupied without a lot of the special permits that would otherwise be necessary," said Brooke Hardin with the Department of Planning and Development Review.

Half of the properties would remain for single family homes, a third would allow developers to put in duplexes and apartments. This rezoning also focuses on parking along 25th Street. The city wants to reduce the number of parking spaces required for a new business to open.

"You have these tight knit neighborhoods that were built before the car, and there isn't space off the street. To allow a property owner to allow the parking which is difficult and has hindered development," said Hardin.

The city says it wants to make sure Church Hill matches the master plan for its future. But residents in a five block area of Church Hill, they've dubbed the T-Zone, worry the re-zoning could change the direction of the neighborhood.

The rezoning on Terrie Scherer's street would allow commercial development, apartments and duplexes.

"We'll never be the Fan. We don't want to be the Fan. And if that we're the case we'd move to the Fan. It's really not appropriate for this neighborhood," she said.

She has 50 signatures from neighbors who share her concern that empty street corners could soon be filled with all night markets. The new zoning specifically allows this type of development.

"A store that's open all times of night you never know who's going to be lurking I mean, it's a nice neighborhood the way it is right now. I'd like to see it stay this way," said Brenda Smith.

The council has decided not to vote on this proposal tonight. But it could be taken up next month.

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