Friday, February 25, 2011

City Names Director of Public Works

Chief Administrative Officer Byron C. Marshall today announced the appointment of James A. Jackson to the position of Director of Public Works. Jackson will begin city service on Monday, February 28, 2011.

Jackson has more than 17 years of experience in the public works field, with 10 of those years serving as director for the cities of Grand Rapids and Detroit, Michigan as well as Wayne County, Michigan. In 2009, ICMA-PM Magazine published his achievement of successfully bringing a public works department from a $3.5 million deficit to a $9.8 million surplus through successful process improvement initiatives.

“James Jackson has a wealth of knowledge and experience as indicated in his many accomplishments, including the receipt of two awards in 2009 from the National Association of Counties,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “The City of Richmond is delighted to have Jackson as part of our team.”

Jackson holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Knoxville College, TN and received a Master’s Degree in General Government from Columbus State University, GA. Jackson was nominated as “Public Official of the Year” for Governing Magazine in 2010 and “Public Works Director of the Year” for American City & County Magazine in 2009. Jackson also served as a 1st Lieutenant with the United States Marine Corps.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mayor Jones' Statement on City Stadium

Mayor Dwight Jones issued the following statement after speaking to an audience at a community meeting sponsored by the City Stadium and Carillon Civic Associations:

"Tonight's discussion was an important one. As I have said from day one of my time as Mayor, we will develop our city by design not by default.

"We want to grow this city and we will explore all good opportunities. But development will not be dictated by developers. We will be intentional about the quality of the development in our city and we will be intentional about engaging affected communities.

"As we consider development opportunities, we will make sure that the services our residents need are right here within the city limits. We should not have to go to a neighboring jurisdiction to get the things we want and need. Right now there is not a department store north of the river in the city limits. I love our neighbors, but that doesn’t mean we need to spend all of our money in the counties. If there are opportunities that can help us reverse that trend, they need to be fully explored and considered. We absolutely must continue creating jobs and alleviating poverty in our city.

"At the same time, we will work to ensure that development does not diminish the fabric of a community or the values of a particular neighborhood. We will not sacrifice our neighborhoods to promote development.

"I understand and appreciate the history of City Stadium. But our city is land-locked. We have to find ways to repurpose property to ensure that all of our assets are productive and move our city forward. A good government should always look for the highest and best use of its assets. With that said, let me be clear that no decisions have been made about the City Stadium property. Everything that has been presented to me has also been presented to the councilperson from that district in the interest of being transparent and ensuring that the appropriate community outreach begins.

"Now, while there may have already been some type of community discussion about the future of City Stadium, I believe we must have a larger conversation. Some have already said that we need athletic and recreational assets and not more development. At this stage, I don't think it is an 'either or' proposition. But these types of questions are exactly why I want us to have a comprehensive visioning process where the entire community is engaged -- not just one or two neighborhoods.

"This is City Stadium and any reprogramming will affect the entire city. The community should know that I expect and welcome the broader discussion."

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mayor Jones Statement on the Passing of Leroy Hassell

Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement today:

"I am saddened by the loss of this groundbreaking leader, the former Virginia Supreme Court Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell, Sr., the state's first black chief justice. He was a well-respected justice and his passing represents a loss to the legal profession. Our hearts are with his family during this very difficult time."

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Mayor Dwight C. Jones' 2011 State of the City Address

On Thursday, February 3, Mayor Jones delivered his second State of the City Address to hundreds at Jackson Ward's Hippodrome Theater. Address highlights included the development of an outcomes-based budget for the upcoming fiscal years, improving the city's aging infrastructure, continuing work to revitalize neighborhoods, reducing poverty, and a new emphasis on tourism. Click here to read the Mayor's speech. Click here to watch the video of the State of the City Address.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mayor Dwight Jones and Councilman Charles Samuels Discuss City Proposal to Manage the Location of Retail Liquor Stores if State Privatizes ABC Stores

~City would be proactive in adopting ordinance to deal with the potential of private liquor stores~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones and City Councilman Charles R. Samuels today announced their joint proposed ordinance to manage the location of private liquor stores, should the State move to privatize ABC stores in the future.

The purpose of the ordinance is to distinguish “retail sales of liquor” from other retail stores, to require a conditional use permit in certain districts, and to establish specific conditions to the operation of such stores. The conditional use process is specifically designed to promote neighborhood review and input, through the conduct of public hearings by the Planning Commission and City Council.

The proposed ordinance would have a three-part approach: 1) defining “retail sales of liquor” to distinguish it from other retail stores, and distinguishing it from the sales of other alcoholic beverages (such as beer and wine, which are not changed from their current status by this proposal); 2) specifying retail liquor sales as a use permitted only by conditional use permits in certain districts, and not allowing the sales in residential districts or the HO or B-1 districts; and 3) establishing specific minimum conditions applicable to every conditional use permit, including limiting the hours of operation, prohibiting drive-up sales, and requiring certain buffering, screening and landscaping conditions.

Based on the experience and research of cities in other states, there is a link between the proliferation of liquor stores and the loss of economic and social vitality within less affluent neighborhoods. In some of these studies, a direct link was found between the number of liquor stores in neighborhoods and incidents of criminal behavior and public nuisances. Studies have also shown that liquor stores tend to be more concentrated in less affluent neighborhoods.

“What we are saying is that the City needs to be mindful and deliberate about its physical development. We want to manage how private liquor stores would be allowed to locate in our community, and under what conditions,” said Mayor Jones. “We appreciate Governor McDonnell’s commitment to ensuring that local governments retain their zoning powers in the ABC privatization legislation, and we are being proactive in establishing the process.”

The City has a unique opportunity to avoid many of the problems experienced in other states that permit liquor stores, but do not have effective zoning controls. The conditional use process is the most effective land use tool for managing the proper assimilation of additional liquor stores into the City. It provides a vehicle for the Mayor and City Council to review each proposed store on a case-by-case basis and to approve or disapprove the use or impose conditions above and beyond the minimum as needed to ensure that the location of a liquor store will be compatible with the surrounding community.

Councilman Samuels said that he is pleased to be working with the Mayor on such an important initiative. “We have many neighborhoods that need to be nurtured and protected. In some cases, the location of a liquor store would be exactly the wrong development. In some areas, with certain conditions, a liquor store would be a very appropriate use. We believe that the community should have a voice in where liquor stores would be located.”

The ordinance will be introduced at the February 14, 2011 meeting of City Council.

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