We need representatives at the local level that really understand the needs of our community. A proposed housing development may create a need for more roads, or a school, or a grocery store. When I’m on the board I will work tirelessly WITH developers to make sure those needs are met before I give my support. Through this relationship I will ensure they include sidewalks, a mix of housing, retail and office space, and more compact development adjacent to transit stops in these areas.
I have witnessed and personally experienced the difficulties with safe access to public transportation. As Supervisor I will work to increase county investment in sidewalks and bike lanes. I will also work to have covered bus stops with benches installed, as the current practice of having a poll in the middle of the grass is unacceptable. The current infrastructure makes it difficult for people to utilize public transit and that needs to be corrected.
This is a very personal question for me. As a small business owner who has a majority of my employees working in one end of the county but forced to live elsewhere due to housing costs, I see the impact on the community every day. As Supervisor I will work to promote the re-purposing of vacant land and underutilized space. I would also be open to examining current zoning practices throughout the county.
Education is one of the most important issues. I have pledged to raise teacher pay by 20% before the end of my first term. Having worked in corporate settings I know finding waste in the budget that can be redirected to address this issue will not be a problem. Districting and zoning policies also have an immediate impact on what schooling options are available. We need universal pre-k; this shouldn’t be a function of which neighborhood a kid’s parents live in. And as I said above, smart growth.
Growth & development are a partnership among property owners, businesses & land developers; the supervisor's job is to coordinate. In Tuckahoe, most land is already developed, infill & re-development are the issues. Henrico uses the Enterprise Zone designation, an area identified for incentives to stimulate business development and job growth. We also have the UMU zoning classification which allows greater density with a mix of business and residential zoning.
The concept of Complete Streets facilitates safe access for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists & transit riders of all ages & abilities. They make it easier to walk to retail areas & travel to work. I will continue to build on the countywide progress we’ve already made for sidewalk construction. Miles of sidewalks are added each year with annually earmarked money, at no additional cost to taxpayers. In Tuckahoe, I have added more than 5,000 feet of sidewalks in past the 4 years.
The Board established the HHAC to help address this. They will advise the Board on housing issues, strategies, goals, & policies that will improve our housing stock, affordability & neighborhoods. Each member of the committee has experience: homebuilders, developers, lenders, realtors, non-profit and private sector professionals. We are assisting the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust with their work on making housing more affordable.
We must keep Henrico on sound financial footing, maintaining the county’s Triple-AAA Bond Rating, because a top financial rating reflects our measured fiscal actions. Any long-term borrowing will have payment terms at the lowest interest rate possible. This leads us to achieve another important goal, great county services for the lowest possible cost. By keeping taxes low, especially real estate taxes, residents’ house or rent payments can remain steady, & they can afford to live in Henrico.