General Assembly Set To Approve New Residency Rules For Richmond City Council
Virginia lawmakers are backing a change to Richmond’s charter requiring City Council members to live in their district throughout their entire term in office.
A Senate committee voted unanimously on Monday to advance the charter change being sponsored by Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond). The bill has already passed the House with unanimous support. Richmond City Council asked the General Assembly to clarify the residency rules after Councilman Parker Agelasto was sued for moving outside of his district last year.
Fourth District Councilwoman Kristen Larson said all council members support the bill.
“I strongly believe that folks who represent our districts in the City of Richmond, should live in the districts they represent,” Larson said.
Under the change, city council could vote to remove any member, not in compliance with the residency rule.
While Agelasto eventually chose to resign last November, he claimed that he was legally in the right because he still owned the home in his district that he was renting out. He said he consulted with Allen Jackson, Richmond’s City Attorney at the time, before moving outside of his district.
Agelasto said he supports the charter change currently being considered by the General Assembly because it would provide some clarity to future council members.
“It can lead to confusion and we don’t want future people to have confusion,” he said. “Let’s go ahead and clear this up.”
Under Virginia law, the General Assembly must approve any change to a local government’s charter, which is essentially its constitution. The charter change could be voted on by the full Senate as soon as this week.