OHNA Letter for Victory Rug

From the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association:

Ms. Lory Markham
Planning Department
City of Richmond

Dear Ms. Markham,

The Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association (OHNA), on April 24, 2012, at its regular monthly meeting reviewed the Special Use Permit submitted by Guy Blundon for the proposed project located at 407 South Cherry Street and 811 Albemarle Street.

Both 407 S. Cherry Street and 811 Albemarle Street are within the R-7 zoning for the neighborhood. The Zoning Administrator determined that under the current zoning four to six apartments would be acceptable in the former Victory Rug Cleaning building.

OHNA corresponded with Mr. Blundon before he closed on the property, and welcomed the owner to two meetings of our association. In this correspondence and during the meetings, we shared our serious concerns with Mr. Blundon over aspects of his proposal. We were very disappointed to receive the plans and find that our major concerns were disregarded.

The membership of OHNA unanimously voted to strongly recommend against approval of the Special Use Permit as submitted.

We are dismayed that Mr. Blundon ignored our concerns regarding density and submitted a proposal for several times the acceptable number of apartments in this building.

We are also dismayed that Mr. Blundon submitted a plan in which 811 Albemarle Street is used for a parking lot. Even worse, he has proposed a driveway onto this parking lot from Albemarle Street, which would be very detrimental to the character of this historic block at the entrance to Hollywood Cemetery. The parking proposed for this lot does not even appear to be functional; all of the spaces are for compact cars and the aisle dimensions proposed are not even adequate for compact cars.

We are pleased that Mr. Blundon, the owner of the property, is proposing a historical renovation of the Victory Rug building with historic tax credits, and we urge the owner to submit a new application in line with the current zoning for the properties that would not be detrimental to the historic neighborhood.

We urge the city planning staff to recommend against approval of the Special Use Permit for 407 S. Cherry Street and 811 Albemarle Street as submitted. We believe that a revised project that takes into consideration the concerns listed above could be an important asset to the community.

Thank you for consideration of this request.

Jennifer Hancock
OHNA, President