D.M.P. vs Echo Harbour: Round 153

Style Weekly Photo

Style Weekly Photo

Rachel DePompa – bio | email 

Nope! That headline is not a typo. I wasn’t meaning to refer to my beloved “Dave Matthews Band”.  I’m actually going to talk to you today about the Downtown Master Plan. (From here on out, referred to as the DMP) FIRST, let me just say, I’m  kinda glad I could watch last night’s City Council meeting from the comforts of home. Seeing as how it took 5 million hours and they saved the best for last! GEEZ!

So, let us be plain and simple. Last night’s MPD discussion was really all about Echo Harbour.  From speaker after speaker to Marty Jewell’s last stand, everyone was pretty much referencing the controversial project. For those of you who don’t know what that is…. It’s a more than $150 million plan to build luxury condos, office space, restaurants and shops along five acres of the James River. The land sits right in front of Libby Hill Park in Church Hill. (The view that named the city) 

Echo Harbour

Echo Harbour

The council voted last night not to remove wording from the DMP that would place fewer restrictions on the Echo Harbour site. What is most interesting was the vote tally…  4 to 4.  (Kathy, Ellen, Charles and Betty VS Marty, Reva, Bruce and Doug) It’s believed that Chris Hilbert would have sided with the first group. (You have to wonder… is this also how a vote on the project’s special use permit will go???) This project has been on the table for years, but a new special use application was filed in April. It is currently being reviewed by city staff and could go before the Planning Commission this Fall.  The permit would allow the developer  to build the residential units. Under the current zoning, they could just go ahead and put an office tower there if they wanted to.

 It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out. Especially because, the DMP will recommend buildings with heights of 4 to 6 stories. Echo Harbour developers want buildings with  heights ranging from 6 to 11 stories. With Doug Wilder out of office and City Hall in the middle of a Kumbaya peace accord, this is the closest thing we’re going to get to fireworks.

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2 Comments

Filed under City Council, Echo Harbour, James River, Uncategorized

2 responses to “D.M.P. vs Echo Harbour: Round 153

  1. B. L. Westbrook

    Actual writing time is 7:04p.m. on Tue.-07/142009

    Dear Ms. DePompa,

    If the 6- to 11-story proposition is allowed to take place, we’ll have to settle for “Kumbaya” … NO ONE will ever see “Michael Row(ing) the Boat Ashore.”

  2. Sundagger

    Will not be same vote. First, Tyler can’t vote on EH. He is conflicted out. Robertson is beginning to shift in favor. Conner favors any developer. Trammel goes where Jewell tells her, and Marty earns his money. That leaves Graziano, Hilbert and Samuels in play. Squires will go with the mayor, but this probably will not come to council while she is still on council.

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