Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: Creighton Court, a cool rezoning, and local grains

Good morning, RVA! It's 61 °F, and today’s a bit warmer with highs near 80 °F. The rest of this week, though, we’re looking at temperatures in the 50s and 60s.

Water cooler

Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes about Ramon Byrd, the first resident to move out of Creighton Court as part of RRHA’s ongoing plan to break up and rebuild public housing in the East End. Byrd will move into one of just 24 available units as construction of hundreds more on the old Armstrong High School site continues. There are 504 units in Creighton Court. However you do the math, there remains a ton of work left to make sure that everyone living in the neighborhood at the moment has a place to live before Creighton is torn down. Of course I can’t not mention how important transit is when we’re talking about housing for folks with very low incomes. If we build more and more affordable housing further and further away from the City (where land is cheaper) but increase a family’s transportation costs, have we really built affordable housing?

As the region’s premiere zoning and rezoning email provider, I must inform you that the City’s Planning Commission will consider a stack of papers to begin rezoning Monroe Ward in accordance with the Pulse Corridor Plan. You can see the list of papers here (PDF); they’re the ones in all-caps for some reason. Of note to people interested in nerdy zoning concepts is CPCR 2018-087 which removes the “inclined plane” requirement in the neighborhood. This requirement manages building heights by drawing an imaginary, diagonal line up and away from the center of the street and says every building must be below this line. An unintended consequence is that you can build taller buildings if you build them farther from the street—which makes for bad pedestrian environments. I have drawn an exceedingly professional diagram to illustrate this concept. The idea, of course, behind this rezoning is to allow for denser and more transit-oriented development in neighborhoods close to the Pulse. Jonathan Spiers at Richmond BizSense has a human-readable explanation of the changes.

Ivy Main has a rundown of the Governor’s energy plan in the Virginia Mercury, and you can read the full plan here (PDF). In light of the recent IPCC climate report, Northam’s non-binding set of recommendations seems like farting around at the edges of the problem (it also doesn’t mention public transportation a single time despite noting that the transportation sector emits more carbon dioxide than any other). We’re going to need brave leaders to institute intense energy and climate policies, and we’re going to need them to do it as soon as possible. Gentle experimentation with a bit of wind here and a touch of solar there just won’t cut it. Since Hampton Roads is about to fall into the sea, you’d think Virginia would have reason to lead on this...

I will read any piece that opens with “The smell of buttery croissants and baking bread...”, and this one by Stephanie Ganz in Richmond Magazine about the Common Grain Alliance is no exception! As it relates to the previous link, I can definitely get behind local grain that’s grown on a smaller, less industrial scale and does not spend hours in a truck moving across America’s highways.

This morning's patron longread

Requiem for the Supreme Court

From Patron Arden comes this depressing (but well-written) way to start your Monday.

What, I asked my parents, was the Supreme Court? It was the mid-1950s. I was a white boy in the upper South. Around me, adults could not stop talking about the Supreme Court. They spoke of it as a distant force, a threat. The Court had told the white South to change the way it lived. Most white people I knew felt intensely that the Court intervention, and the Court itself, were illegitimate. Our local newspaper, the Richmond News Leader, led a national campaign to say that Southern white people need not follow the Court’s orders. If white Southerners just resisted––delayed compliance, refused Court orders, closed all public schools if necessary––eventually the nation would see that no mere court could trump the authority of Southern white majorities.

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Good morning, RVA: A loaded committee meeting, dive bars, and Folk Fest photos

Good morning, RVA: Blackwell Historic District, he’s running, and the 34th best bike city