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

Good morning, RVA: Legal weed, zoning, and a new podcast episode

Good morning, RVA! It's 73 °F, and temperatures are back up in the 90s today. Prepare to sweat, and then this evening prepare for a chance of rain.

Water cooler

Whoa, read this OpEd by Attorney General Mark Herring about how he thinks Virginia needs to begin the process of legalizing marijuana. And it’s not just legalizing, either, he wants to “decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, address past convictions and start moving toward legal and regulated adult use.” One other thing he should consider for whenever we end up with legal weed in Virginia: Giving folks impacted by inequitable enforcement of drug laws first dibs on the permitting process.

The Virginia Mercury has two stories up about gun violence in Virginia. First, this piece by Katie O’Connor focuses on suicide—65% of gun-related deaths in Virginia were suicides. Second, Ned Oliver says that the only Democrat in the General Assembly endorsed by the NRA now supports stronger gun violence laws. Remember, the Governor has called a special session of the GA to address gun violence on July 9th.

I haven’t been out that way in awhile, but Gregory J. Gilligan at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says the old Ukrop’s shopping center in Carytown, properly know as the Richmond Shopping Center, is finally being torn down. Back in 2018, Richmond BizSense had some renderings of what the new development—the Carytown Exchange—will look like. The smaller shops fronting the street will definitely extend the Carytown vibe all the way west to Thompson, and that makes me wonder if Kroger will start to consider redeveloping some of their enormous parking lot across the street.

Richmond’s Planning Commission will meet today and has a couple of interesting items (PDF) in front of them. First, a rezoning of a bunch of properties at 1st & E. Canal Streets to the dense, urban-friendly TOD-1. You may know these properties as “the surface-level parking lot behind Triple Crossing that should definitely be homes or stores or offices or all three.” Second, the Commission will take a look at the Shockoe Valley streets improvement plan that I’ve talked about in this space before. If you can grok engineering documents, a massive one awaits you here (PDF). Third, they’ll most likely approve an accessory dwelling unit in Oregon Hill. In fact, let’s just approve accessory dwelling units, aka granny flats or backyard apartments, throughout the entire city. It’d increase density and add some affordable housing in transit-adjacent neighborhoods. ADUs are one of author Jeff Speck’s big and easy ways to build toward a better city, and we should get on that train!

But wait, there’s more TOD-1 rezoning news! J. Elias O’Neal at Richmond BizSense says Laura Dryer Hild wants to rezone the Siegel’s Supermarket site—along with 16 other properties—to something a bit more residential- and commercial-friendly. TOD-1 and B-7 are designed for just this thing! It’s not clear to me from the article what will happen with the spaceship-looking Siegel building, but you may remember that, at one point, the Hilds wanted to drop a market in there that sold new versions of historical Richmond productslike Valentine’s Meat-Juice.

The Virginia Public Access Project says we’ve got a new candidate running for the 5th District City Council seat: Jer’Mykeal McCoy. I couldn’t find a campaign website, so keep an eye out. Speaking of, Candidate Thad Williamson has his campaign website up and running, and I’m into this idea of “50 Fixes For the 5th.” If you’ve got a list of things that need fixing in the 5th District (I know I’ve got my own list of 300 in the 3rd), you should let him know. Even if Williamson doesn’t win the seat, having a public punch list of 5th District issues could be really useful for the next councilperson—whoever it ends up being.

The Mayor will hold another one of his community office hours tonight, this one in the 5th District at 6:30 PM (Randolph Community Center, 1415 Grayland Avenue). Got something on your mind that you want to share with the Mayor? Now’s your chance!

You can now listen to Episode 68 of the Sam and Ross Like Things podcast. On this episode, Sam and I talk about camping and Paul Rudd—and I don’t think either of us mentioned how cool it would be to go camping with Paul Rudd, but it totally would be, though.

This morning's longread

Every NIMBY’s Speech At a Public Hearing

This NIMBY speech in McSweeney’s made the urbanist rounds last week, and, dang if it’s not dead-on accurate.

I’d like to conclude my remarks with a NIMBY rant about how, first of all, we should not take any action on global climate change, because making a carbon sacrifice is something we should outsource to people whose lives would be more greatly affected by that carbon sacrifice. And, second, we need to preserve the character of our neighborhoods, by which I mean prevent immigrants and people of modest means from buying or renting near where I live. Thank you, and remember: you should pay special attention to what I think, because I’ve been saying offensively wrong things about this place for over forty years.

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Good morning, RVA: SCOTUS, RPS news, and where is the best milkshake in town?

Good morning, RVA: RPS hat trick, FOIA requests, and neighborhood magic