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City Council Calls Out Department for Open Application on Reedy Creek

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A Richmond official agreed to promise in writing that his department would withdraw an application for a controversial Reedy Creek project, following a tense discussion with City Council members Monday.

The agreement came after council’s Organizational Development Standing Committee called on Deputy Chief Administration Officer John Buturla to answer reports that the Department of Public Utilities hadn’t canceled a permit application for the stream restoration plan.

City Council voted in November to reject state funds for the project after heavy opposition from Forest Hill neighbors and other community members.

“It’s become clear that permits are still in process with the Army Corps of Engineers,” Councilman Parker Agelasto said at Monday’s meeting. “Citizens thought they’d be included in the development of alternate plans, but haven’t been contacted.”

Buturla said the department wouldn’t kill the permit, and that the Army Corps of Engineers owed it a response. He suggested that the city could use the permit determination for a different future project. Once given, the permit would be valid for five years.

“None of this should be causing consternation,” Buturla said. “This project is dead. It’s done. It’s not moving forward. We’re beyond it.”

But in response to a query from Councilwoman Kristen Larson, he committed to submitting a statement in writing that the department wouldn’t move forward with the Reedy Creek project that was denied by City Council.

An Army Corps of Engineers representative told Style in December that any other project would have to go through the permitting process again, and that the open application applied only to the project that was rejected by council.

The grant offered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality came from a federal program to lessen pollution entering the Chesapeake Bay. It’s unclear whether that 2010 program will continue under new leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency.

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