Your Government at “Work”

Mark A. Olinger, Director
Department of Planning and Development Review
City of Richmond

Mr. Olinger,

I have your notice of the public hearing at City Hall at 1:30 PM on Monday, May 7 regarding a proposed encroachment into the Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area at 3005 Riverside Drive.

I am interested to notice:

  • The hearing is scheduled at City Hall, where the parking is limited and expensive, rather than in the affected neighborhood, where the parking generally is abundant and free;
  • The hearing is scheduled near midday on a work day, when many of my neighbors will be at work helping to fund your agency, rather than in the evening, when it would be convenient for ‘most any interested person;
  • The application for the exception is available during business hours at City Hall, where it will be decidedly inconvenient to view, rather than on the Web, where it could be read at any time with a click of the mouse; and
  • The Notice arrived in my mailbox a mere nine days — five work days — before the hearing.

This Notice is fully consistent with Richmond’s reputation for treating its citizens with a mixture of obnoxious arrogance and thoughtless disdain.  Whatever we are paying you, any excess over 25 cents a decade is too much.

With kindest regards,

John Butcher


Note added April 29:

Ms. Penelope points out that the last sentence above (re Mr. Olinger’s salary) was snarky and inappropriate.  She is right, as usual.  I retract that sentence and apologize to Mr. Olinger.

It remains, however, that our City went to some trouble to mail a notice (1) advising us we can comment on the project and (2) telling us they are making it as inconvenient as possible to comment on the project.

This stands in contrast to the notice on the Planning and Development home page:


Here we see that, at least as to building permits, the City:

  •     Opens early, to accommodate contractors and other customers;
  •      Provides free parking;
  •      Posts status reports on the Web; and
  •      Accepts submittals (only) in electronic form.

We are left to wonder why the City treats permit applicants with so much more care than it does mere taxpayers.