Top Ten Issues For The Neighborhood

Its been a little over two months since the “Mayor’s Walkthrough”. During that event, I handed each member of City staff and the Mayor a sheet of paper with a list of what I considered the top ten issues for Oregon Hill, in order of priority and importance. I should emphasize that this list represents my personal opinion, though I did present and discuss it at last month’s Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting.

1. Signed, binding agreement that VCU will not encroach into Oregon Hill any further. Note: OHNA has voted for this.

2. Extend urban business district zoning on W.Cary to Belvidere. Note: OHNA has voted for this. Community Development has worked on this.

3. Keep R7 zoning except where urban business (old storefronts) makes sense.

4. Where is the new canal bridge? Note: OHNA raised almost half a million in grant money for greenway.

5. Traffic circle/roundabout on Idlewood off of 195 exit that allows commuters coming off 195 to go west in addition to east on Idlewood, also adding an egress from Oregon Hill to the west on Idlewood (making the street two way again). Note: OHNA has voted for this. VCU said they would support, with financial help. Randolph and other groups attended planning meetings.

6. Noise ordinance needed.

7. Brick sidewalk repairs (Notice how this area, which is in Oregon Hill, is marked as VCU!)

8. Empty tree wells need filling

9. public trash/recycling cans needed on corners- the Fan has them, why not Oregon Hill?

10. Look at 4 way stop signs for some intersections to slow down commuters speeding on Laurel, trying to beat Belvidere lights.

Again, this list is not exhaustive. There are other issues that compete for the top slots. You will notice that I did not mention some of the more controversial ideas of parking permits/tags or going for City Historic District status (Oregon Hill already has federal/state recognition).

You will also note that none of my priorities target any particular residence or deal with property code violations. Although I understand the fear that my lobbying here brings in the CIty inspectors, I refute any insinuation that it is my intention, and I share the concern that officious action may be in retribution for publicizing issues). Please feel free to list some of your ideas in the comments below.

In the next few weeks I will be focusing on each of these issues more and hopefully have news of progress. THE top issue, a permanent land use written accord with VCU, may get an update as soon as this next week since VCU President Michael Rao has asked for neighborhood leaders to come to a “Monroe Park Campus Advisory Council” (not to be confused with MPAC, Monroe Park Advisory Council) meeting this Tuesday. I know OHNA leaders plan to attend.