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04.21.2020

The economic development pipeline continues to move despite challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Hirschler’s land use practice group continues to work with local governments on conducting public meetings in this environment and securing approvals.

The local governments in the Richmond region have resumed public hearings either virtually, in person or both. In addition, our region’s localities have modified their plans review process. Many anticipate that, long-term, the process modifications may lead to greater efficiency in the plans review process. 

Below is an overview of how regional localities are handling public hearings and plans review:

Chesterfield

Public hearings: The Planning Commission will meet virtually on April 21. Meetings will continue to be held in this format for the foreseeable future.  The public can participate in the virtual meeting, and submit comments via telephone, email and a web submission form. The Board of Supervisors is conducting its meetings in the same manner.

Plans review: The plans review team moved up the rollout of an electronic submission and review process.  Inquiry meetings are now conducted virtually.  Plan submission and the first glance review are now done by email, but the formal review does not start until paper copies and the fee are received. 

Hanover

Public hearings: The Planning Commission held its April meeting on Thursday, April 16, in person. Practical social-distancing procedures for conducting and participating in the meeting were instituted. A virtual format may be used for the May meeting. The Board of Supervisors is conducting its meetings in the same manner.

Plans review: The plans review team implemented an electronic submission process. Some submissions will require printed full-size plans. Final approval is not issued until fees are received. 

Henrico

Public hearings: The Planning Commission held its first virtual meeting on April 14.  Meetings will continue to be held virtually for the foreseeable future. The public can participate in the virtual meetings, and submit comments via telephone, email and a web submission form. The Board of Supervisors is conducting its meetings in the same manner.

Plans review: The approval process for plans of development and subdivisions was modified temporarily. Planning Commission approval will no longer be required. These plans will be approved administratively in consultation with the applicable Commissioner. Paper submission remains a requirement, along with submission of an electronic version. Pre-submission meetings may be requested and will be held virtually.   

Richmond

Public hearings: The Planning Commission held its first virtual meeting on April 20.  Meetings will continue to be held virtually for the foreseeable future. The public can participate in the virtual meeting, and submit comments via telephone and email. The City Council is conducting its meetings in the same manner.

Plans review: The City moved up its new third-party review program. This program can be used for plans review and inspections. For plans reviewed by City staff, a new electronic submission process has been implemented.   

Hirschler’s land use practice group is working with elected and appointed officials to conduct virtual community meetings. They are also working with traffic engineers and traffic departments on procedures to evaluate road impacts when obtaining current traffic counts is not feasible.

For additional insight on these protocols or to discuss your project, contact any member of the Hirschler team.

Media Contact

Kristen M. Chatterton
804.771.5637
kchatterton@hirschlerlaw.com

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