Earlier this month, the following letter was sent to VCU, City, State officials, as well as the media in response to an earlier real estate transaction:
Dear Dr. Rao,
The members of the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association (OHNA) were concerned to hear that in November 2014, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) acquired a property at 9 West Cary Street, outside of VCU’s Master Plan boundary. In response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, VCU confirmed that the property at 9 West Cary Street is not within VCU’s Master Plan boundary and that VCU did not inform its neighbors that it was purchasing property outside of its Master Plan boundary.
While this property at 9 West Cary Street is not within the Oregon Hill Historic District, we object to the University acquiring property outside of its Master Plan boundary. This land acquisition is counter to the Management Agreement between VCU and the Commonwealth of Virginia that states that capital projects must be “consistent with the University’s published Master Plan.” The fact that VCU chooses to disregard its own Master Plan alarms the surrounding communities.
OHNA voted at its February 24, 2015 meeting to formally request that VCU adhere to its Master Plan boundary when acquiring property in the future. We would also remind you of the promise made by former VCU President Eugene Trani that the University will not expand south of Cary Street into the Oregon Hill Historic District.
VCU’s neighbors rely on the commitment made by the University to adhere to its Master Plan boundary when purchasing property. This assurance is essential for removing speculation and inspiring a sense of trust between VCU and its neighbors.
Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association