- Scott Elmquist
- Mayor Levar Stoney announces plans in the observation deck of City Hall to revamp Richmond's master plan.
With cake and balloons on the observation deck of City Hall, Richmond got a 20-year head start on its 300th birthday Tuesday morning.
Mayor Levar Stoney announced plans to update the city's master plan for the first time since 2001 and create a vision for the next 20 years of Richmond's growth. In 2037, the city will be 300 years old.
Richmond's population has grown by 19,028 residents between 2010 to 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 3,500 units of housing were added between 2009 and 2015, according to the mayor.
"Richmond is growing," said Stoney. "But we only have so much land, and we're not annexing land from Chesterfield and Henrico anymore. We need to plan for intentional growth."
Rodney Poole, a lawyer who serves as the chair of Richmond planning commission, and Max Hepp-Buchanan of Bike Walk RVA, who also serves on the commission, encouraged applicants to the master plan advisory team, which they will oversee. Director of Planning Mark Olinger will also lead the process that Stoney called a "massive undertaking."
At the event, Chris Tsui of Eat Restaurant Partners, which owns a number of area eateries, spoke of the importance of a master plan for business owners and investors in the city. Cyane Crump of Historic Richmond and Ryan Rinn of Storefront for Community Design also highlighted the importance of the plan.
City administrators use it, the mayor said, for everyday decisions about neighborhood infrastructure.
In front of a crowd of about 150, leaders of the master plan team outlined plans for a multiyear process of community engagement and input. A consultant will be hired, and community visioning sessions will begin in the fall once the 15-person advisory team and other leaders are chosen.
There is also a website, Richmond 300, where residents can leave feedback about the plan.