Proposal would shift boundaries of magisterial districts to balance population
Henrico County released today a draft plan that would make minor shifts to the boundaries of its five magisterial districts to ensure equal representation following population changes from the past decade.
The Department of Planning will present the draft plan in public information meetings scheduled for tonight and Wednesday, Oct. 27 on the reapportionment process, which is required under the Virginia and United States constitutions and based on data from the 2020 Census.
Henrico’s population was 334,389 on April 1, 2020, an 8% increase over its total from 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s official count. Changes to the district boundaries are necessary because areas of western Henrico, particularly in the Three Chopt District, continued to experience faster growth than areas to the east, primarily in the Varina and Fairfield districts.
“The draft plan we have outlined would make targeted and relatively slight shifts along the edges of all five districts to give each generally the same number of residents while also meeting other requirements for reapportionment,” Planning Director Joe Emerson said. “We welcome feedback from the public on this very important initiative.”
Under the draft plan, a limited number of areas along the edges of the districts – Brookland, Fairfield, Three Chopt, Tuckahoe and Varina – would shift eastward in most instances to an adjoining district. The changes are necessitated in part by geography. To its east, Brookland shares a boundary with only Fairfield. Likewise, Fairfield borders only Varina to the east.
The draft plan would bring each district close enough to the ideal average population of 66,878 to satisfy requirements for reapportionment. It also would preserve Varina and Fairfield as majority African American districts and meet other requirements, such as maintaining districts that are contiguous and compact, with clearly defined and observable boundaries. Under the draft plan:
- Varina would receive areas west of Laburnum Avenue from Fairfield. Varina’s population would total 65,091, 2.91% below the average. African Americans would represent 56.63% of Varina’s residents, an increase from 55.76%.
- Fairfield would add areas of Lakeside from Brookland and send areas of Glen Allen to Brookland. Fairfield’s population would be 64,722, 3.46% below the average. African Americans would represent 57.34% of Fairfield’s residents, a reduction from 61.27%.
- Brookland would receive areas of Glen Allen from Fairfield. Brookland also would pick up areas of Three Chopt by shifting Brookland’s western border from Springfield Road to Cox Road. Brookland’s population would be 68,744, 2.54% above the average.
- Three Chopt would shift areas along its northeastern boundary to Brookland and small areas along its southeastern boundary to Tuckahoe. Three Chopt’s population would total 68,889, 2.76% above the average.
- Tuckahoe would add areas near Regency Square and Henrico Doctors’ Hospital from Three Chopt. Tuckahoe’s population would total 67,757, 1.07% above the average.
The public information meetings will be held tonight at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave., and Wednesday, Oct. 27 at the Henrico County Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road. Both meetings will begin at 6 p.m.
The public is welcome to participate in person or virtually. To participate virtually, follow the links to WebEx for the Oct. 25 and Oct. 27 meetings. Attendees must wear a face covering due to COVID-19.
The magisterial districts are used in elections of members of the Board of Supervisors and the School Board. Reapportionment has no impact on school attendance boundaries.
The Board of Supervisors will hold public hearings on a reapportionment plan Nov. 30 and Dec. 14, ahead of submission for approval by the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. Information, including maps detailing the draft plan and an analysis of data from the 2020 Census, is available at henrico.us/reapp2021.