Speech to Council

This is a speech that neighbor Todd Woodson gave to City Council this past Monday night:

Hi- I’m Todd Woodson and I’m here to speak for the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association. I have served as treasurer for the last 11 years. We have serious concerns on an sup proposal pending on the Victory Rug Building on S Cherry St. We feel there have been serious flaws committed and don’t think that fair or due process has been served to our residents.

some background info on sup:

The Victory Rug current parcel assessment of 270K has risen 236% in last 10 years. We believe this assessment is correct and fair for a building in this condition.

The parcel was bought at auction for 660,000 by developer.

a message was sent to developer from OHNA before closing on the property outlining inherent problems in developing the building.

Consequently, hardship cannot be used to justify the aggressive density requested with off street parking limited to only 8 questionable spaces. The proposal is for 29 bedrooms which would require somewhere between 30 and 45 parking spaces. Parking is already a hardship due to our proximity to VCU. This development is 2 1/2 blocks from the mammoth VCU recreation center.

The City has received 114 letters of opposition- no letters in favor—

A main concern is that in early October, neighborhood reps met with Mr. Jewell, the developer and Mark Baker of Baker Development Resources who is representing the developer on this sup. No concessions were made and the meeting was a disappointment. On Oct 22, the SUP ordinance was introduced. Sometime between then and Oct 30, Councilman Jewell solicited help in securing campaign funds from Mr Baker and an email was sent to other developers as well as to a networking group maintained by Baker. I mean no disrespect to Mr Jewell and am not an attorney so I cant say if this is illegal. I will say that the hundreds of residents facing hardship from this sup find the appearance of impropriety of major concern.
I have included the solicitation in your package.

we feel it to be prudent and reasonable for the Council hearing on this SUP be postponed until after our concerns are fully resolved and the new council is seated.

We are anxious for a quality reasonable development at the Victory Rug Building and hope for an enterprise that has the best interest of the community at heart.