Tag Archives: James River

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.



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

James River: Take 2

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

First order of business? City Business:

Before I post about the River Wild: Part Deux, lets get through the news of the day. City Council’s special meeting about the Chief Administrative Officer appointment is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:00 at City Hall. Don’t expect any surprises either. It appears Byron Marshall’s appointment will get a 9-0 vote… possibly an 8-1.  I won’t speculate on the lone hold-out just yet. But it probably would not surprise most people. 

Tubing on the James:

Went on my second adventure on the James River this past weekend. And unlike my first trip, which included high waters, rescues and my hilariously, funny analogy to a Kevin Bacon movie; this trip was uneventful. But, only because I had such high standards to live up to. Actually, this trip was even better than the first.

The water was below five feet. (So, no life jackets required). I felt safe. The company was awesome! And, because the water was not that high, the trip lasted longer. So, I was able to really enjoy the beauty of the James. It was really cool to go under the Nickel bridge while the guys were working on it. They were scaling the side of it with ropes and just hanging there, welding. A job with a high dangerous level, but amazing views.

All in all, people don’t appreciate that river enough. I had a few folks say, “EW! You actually got in the James???”

Um?!?! Yeah! I had a blast and I do it again!  

PS.. it’s our drinking water. Can’t be that bad.

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Filed under City Council, City Hall, Dwight Jones, James River

The River Wild…

…Starring Rachel in the Role of Meryl*

Rachel DePompa – bio | email 


rachelheadshotSo, I’m just going to own up to this one. Here goes….

 I’ve lived in Richmond a little over a year and have never experienced the James River in all its glory. This weekend a few friends invited me on a tubing trip. Sounded like fun. Why not? I don’t check river levels on a daily basis. Looks okay to me!  

The trip was amazing. You don’t even realize you are in the middle of a city when you are floating down that river. Yes, there were a few rough patches, scary dips and currents, but I made it through. Unbeknown to me, I’m lucky to have made it! Apparently it was another dangerous weekend on the James. On Saturday night  I had learned a man died on the rope swing. By Sunday, five tubers had to be rescued. And by Monday? Two more river rescues.

Seriously! I had no idea! Our Laura Geller is doing a story on river safety tonight. I on the other hand, have learned my lesson. Do a little research before you challenge nature.

Update: My friend who organized the trip said all the rescues happened above the Dam. We went below it. (Makes me feel a little better)  

*side note* The River Wild was a 1994 Thriller.** (I just liked the name for this blog.  Unlike the movie, no maniacs were chasing me on my trip down the James.)

**side/side note** If you play  “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” this movie is how you  connect Bacon to Academy Award Winner Meryl Streep.  (just sayin’…)


Filed under James River, Richmond