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Hull Street Is Open For Business: Rezoning will Enable Restaurants, Grocers, and Density

We have spoken at length here at The Dogtown Dish about the parking challenges along Manchester’s Hull Street business corridor. The parking rules with the Old Zoning (UB2-PE1) between Commerce Ave and Cowardin Ave enabled retail without off-street parking requirements. But those same rules did not allow restaurants, food service businesses, grocery stores or any form of new construction without nearly impossible to achieve off-street parking requirements. The rules were so onerous, for every new building that was renovated, the owner would need to tear down an adjoining building to meet the off street parking rules. No one wanted that, including the city.

So after a large number of public meetings, presentations at the Hull Street Merchants Association/Manchester Alliance, and a Planning Commission hearing, City council finally took up the vote this past Monday. And luckily for Hull Street, City Council unanimously approved the zoning change for Hull Street from UB-2 to B-5.

The new B-5 Zoning accomplishes two primary objectives. First, it relaxes the parking requirements in virtually all circumstances including the off-street parking rules for restaurants and grocery stores. Secondly, in the search for more density, the maximum building height for the corridor has been raised to five stories from three. The hope in this second part is that where it may not have made economic sense to erect a new three story building on a small vacant lot (and Hull Street has lots of these), perhaps it will make economic sense to erect a 5 story building. Generally speaking, the taller the building, the higher the probability a developer or bank will get comfortable with the economic returns to proceed with a potential project.

While it may not sound sexy or attention grabbing, this simple zoning change is perhaps the single most important thing to happen to Hull Street in 50+ years given the ripple effects it can have for the area. Credit is due to the City of Richmond, Mayor Stoney, City Council, Councilwoman Ellen Robertson, and Mark Olinger’s leadership on the matter.

Thank you City Hall-Hull Street is now officially open for business!

37 thoughts on “Hull Street Is Open For Business: Rezoning will Enable Restaurants, Grocers, and Density

    1. Or it could stay like it is now, hundreds of boarded up collapsing buildings with everywhere to park. Given the choice, we go for restored buildings with people and businesses in them.

    1. Joe Finley, some will, but the vast majority can be saved. A dozen buildings that sat idle for 50 years have just been fixed up and put back in service between 12th and 14th Streets on Hull.

    2. Thays awesome. I always worry about this area due to all the underground watersheds leading to the james and the floods/earthquakes of recent past. As long as they can be saved and look nice once more theres no reason not to. Solod construction is solid construction. A new coat of paint and some fresh siding and i bet theyll be looking good.

    1. I actually moved to this area 12th/Hull street in February and while it’s a bit derelict looking, I have felt 100% safe. I come home at all different times and park on the street with no problem. Everyone I pass walking I say hello to and they say hello back. I lived in the same apartment in the 1800 block of Grove Ave for over 18 years, hardly, if ever did a passerby say hello. As far as crime, I pull daily crime stats and have done so since late January – the biggest issue I’ve seen is cars being broken into – I had that same issue in the fan.

      1. I’m a few blocks over from you and have lived here for 6 years. I feel exactly the same way. I actually feel safer here and think it’s quieter than when I lived in The Fan.

  1. I’m very excited to see this area be revitalized. I don’t mind parking on a side street and walking a block over, as long as I feel safe. Transportation is a piece of this, but so is public safety.

    1. Peggy Ford I know like lots of banking people, you’ve had a gun put in your face, so I don’t blame you for feeling this way! But look at Church Hill, and Scott’s addition. They’ve come a long way

    2. Katherine Jester I know, you’re right about that. But that area has a looooong way to go before it can be in that category. Those side streets are NOT safe. If you go, take a cab to let you off at the front door and have a cab waiting when you leave. I’m serious!

    3. The Dogtown Dish that all may be true, but I know how I feel about that area, Hull St. , Jeff Davis area, also around Commerce Rd. And I do not feel safe there at all. I’m not sure if this is considered Manchester or not.

  2. Way to go…little by slowly. Awesome to see the progress you have made in a few short years. Keeping on eye on the goal. No matter what. Proud for your Michael Hild. 👍🏻🇺🇸

  3. Hopefully when they tear down/rennovate/salavage they take care of the new properties. Richmond just has a lack of caring about the buildings we occupy. Tenants dont care that the building looks awful so the landlords dont either

  4. I was wondering for the longest time why hull street hadn’t gained all the attention and remodeling as other Richmond areas have. Glad to see the city finally showing hull street the attention it needs

  5. I am happy to see this. I was born on Hull Street in 1937. It was a beautiful era in which to live…… street cars rumbling down the tracks, people rocking on front porches, grocery shopping at Hull Street Ukrops, Saturday morning Westerns at the Venus, having a soda at Peoples Drug at Cowardin and Hull… The list goes on..
    ….. Over the years, the decline has hurt my heart. I had hoped to see it thrive once more before I rest in Maury Cemetery. Perhaps, I will.

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