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Danville City Council on Tuesday appointed the first members of the new panel that will enforce guidelines for the look and feel of the River District.
The River District Design Commission’s charter members include warehouse owner George Davis and local attorney R.J. Lackey. Also on the panel will be Justin Ferrell, Robert Kesee, Courtney Nichols, Sherry Chaney and John Ransom.
This seven-member commission will review any changes to buildings or sites within the district and issue a certificate of appropriateness (COA) if the changes meet the guidelines. Work on buildings and sites within the district cannot commence until a COA has been issued and other required permits and approvals have been obtained.
In May, City Council voted to adopt design guidelines for the River District, which generally consists of the traditional central business district, historic tobacco warehouse district and manufacturing area, and contiguous areas.
The guidelines provide a framework within which the commission members can review applications and assist property owners to plan projects within the District. The guidelines address site and building improvements, new development, streetscapes and open space, site design, outdoor dining and signs.
Council adopted the guidelines and established a commission as part of the overall development plan for the River District. This year marks the third year of the project, which includes two phases of streetscape improvements that are nearing completion.
In addition, utilities upgrades have been completed on Main Street; Patton Street has been converted to two-way traffic to provide better access to businesses and parking lots serving stores on Main Street; a new parking lot has been opened at 500 Main St.; and a parking study for the district has been completed. Private investments are being made in the district, and the city has received state money to create a pedestrian lane on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge to connect walking trails on the north and south side of the Dan River.