The October 17th Committee meeting has more than just the monument legislation.
Also on the docket for discussion is the potential sale of water to Chesterfield County and building new capacity facilities at Lewis G. Larus Park. Residents are not happy with the proposal and delivered a petition to Mayor Stoney with almost 1,300 signatures. The City Attorney issued a response to the legal questions of the opposition stating there are no legal challenges in the deal negotiation. However, in July it was reported alternatives to Larus Park were being considered.
CITY-OWNED REAL ESTATE
This is legislation to create a competitive bid process for unsolicited purchase offers of City-owned real estate.
RIVERVIEW COMMUNITY PARK
This legislation would rename 1907 Texas Ave to be Riverview Community Park. According to the Friends of Riverview Community Park website, they will be improving the skate park, building a community garden, playground, and walking trail.
COMMUNITY LAND TRUST
The Maggie Walker Community Land Trust was created to address tax delinquent properties by converting them into affordable homes available for purchase. MWCLT broke ground on its first home in Church Hill at 1114 N. 26th Street in July 2017. This ordinance would designate the MWCLT as a land bank.
MONUMENT AVE LEGISLATION
This is the legislation expressing the will of Council for the General Assembly to grant them the authority to remove monuments on Monument Avenue.
MONUMENTS: WHAT NOW?
Councilman Mike Jones of the 9th district proposed legislation to remove Confederate monuments that was introduced at the September 25th council meeting. On September 16th, an out-of-state group traveled to Richmond to voice the opinion that the statues should be protected. The majority of attendees at the event were vocally in favor of removing the statues. Polling has returned split opinions on what should be done with the statues. Most recently, the Richmond city attorney sent a memo to City Council indicating General Assembly approval would be required to remove the monuments.
In government, an ordinance is a law that is adopted while a resolution is an expression of opinion. Resolutions are non-binding. The monument legislation is a resolution, not an ordinance. All RES. 2017-R075 does is tell the General Assembly that City Council wants the General Assembly to grant Council authority to remove the statues of JEB Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Matthew Fontaine Maury.
So... the legislation has been introduced.... what now? Once introduced, every ordinance and resolution is referred to the appropriate committee for consideration and recommendation. RES. 2017-R075 is currently on the draft agenda for the Land Use, Housing and Transportation Standing Committee's next meeting on October 17th at 1 P.M. on the 2nd floor of City Hall in council chambers. At this meeting, the committee will hear public comment, discuss, and make a recommendation for the resolution. The committee can vote to recommend council can adopt, amend, or strike the resolution. Basically if they recommend to strike the legislation, the bill will be killed and not voted on. In the event of a recommendation to strike, a motion to strike will be voted on at the next council meeting. Any council member may make a motion to override a committee recommendation to strike; however, 5 votes are required to pass the motion. The committee may also vote to make no recommendation causing the resolution to be scheduled for consideration at the next council meeting.
In an RTD article, some council people have voiced their opinoin.
- 3rd District Councilperson Chris Hilbert said the issue is a "distraction" and "it's just not a priority for [him], and [he] wish[es] all of the time and energy and resources being put into this debate would be focused on education and public safety."
- 1st District Councilperson Andreas Addison, 6th District Councilperson Ellen Robertson, 2nd District Councilperson Kim Gray, and 5th District Councilperson Parker Agelasto said they are in support of Mayor Stoney's approach through the Monument Avenue Commission. RTD quoted Robertson likening the legislation to putting a cart before the horse and Gray as saying there is a commission and the process shoul dbe followed.
- 7th District Councilperson Cynthia Newbille declined to take a public position.
- 4th District Councilperson Kristen Larson indicated she thinks it is important for people to have an input opportunity.
The Land Use, Housing and Transportation Standing Committee consists of Robertson as Chair, Gray as Vice Chair, Larson as Member, and Trammell as Alternate. Of the four members, two vocally expressed their disagreement with the legislation. Gray hand-delivered a letter to Mayor Stoney requesting he postpone the Monument Avenue Commission meetings. Ultimately, the decision was made to postpone the meeting which has not been rescheduled.
With 50% of the committee members voicing an opinion against the legislation, it may be unlikely to see the committee vote to recommend approval of the resolution. All committee meetings are open to the public and have public comment. Residents interested in speaking at public comment should contact the Richmond City Clerk's office by calling 804-646-7955 to sign up no later than noon the day of the meeting. The clerk will request a description of the topic, full legal name, address, home phone, and business phone.
As a reminder, the agenda for the meeting on the 17th is still considered a draft. We will update the agenda below to reflect any changes that occur.
- ORD 2017-087: Authorize CAO to execute a first amendment to amended water contract between Richmond and Chesterfield for sale of additional water to Chesterfield and for new water capacity facilities to be located on a portion of Lewis G. Larus Park
- ORD 2017-069: Provide guidelines for a competitive process prior to accepting an unsolicited offer to purchase city-owned real estate
- RES 2017-R074: Name 1907 Texas Avenue “Riverview Community Park”
- ORD 2017-196: Designate Maggie Walker Community Land Trust as a land bank
- RES 2017-R075: Ask the General Assembly to grant City Council authority to remove memorials and monuments commemorating JEB Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Matthew Fontaine Maury