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Updated Oct. 1: A new public notice was released Sept. 30, which reopened the public comment and question period for 15 days.
The plans submitted to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission now include two 695-square-foot gazebos on the over-the-river boardwalk and one 695-foot gazebo on the fishing pier. Each gazebo is proposed to have a 17-and-a-half-foot roof.
Xanterra is taking a step toward developing a planned Riverwalk at Kingsmill Resort, with plans submitted to various state and local bodies for approval.
The company plans to construct a walkway along the James River, connecting to an existing walking path and proposed boardwalk over the river. A pier is also included in the plans. The proposed pathway would be paved and would run from the River Pool complex and proposed Cottages on the James to the James Landing Grille and marina.
An application packet, which lists the project as having an estimated cost of $1.3 million, was jointly submitted to Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as to James City County.
Kingsmill Resort Manager Robin Carson said the county’s Wetlands and Chesapeake Bay Boards could review the application as soon as Nov. 13. VMRC will review the information it received to determine whether to issue a permit for the over-water portions of the project; this includes a public comment and question period, which is currently ongoing.
Carson said plans for the Riverwalk including lighting, and the over-water portion would have some gazebos and fishing alcoves. The Riverwalk would be open to resort guests and club members who are walking, in wheelchairs or golf carts and fishermen. Cyclists will be restricted because certain requirements have to be met for them to ride over the water, Carson said.
“It should be a really terrific amenity for our resort guests and our club members to use,” Carson said. “It’s going to be a really nice kind of unexpected feature.”
Carson said she hopes construction will begin as soon as all the appropriate approvals are granted. Some restrictions may be placed on construction, such as limiting it to a certain time of year to prevent interruptions to fish spawning, said a VMRC environmental engineer.
Additionally, the engineer said the gazebo plans were not included on the over-water boardwalk. She sent a clarification request to the applicant and if the gazebos are planned for the over-water portion, a new public notice will be issued and the 15-day comment period will restart.
VMRC will also require updated drawings showing the gazebos location. The application submitted to VMRC includes drawings that basically show the plans, rather than showing specific details. If VMRC issues a permit, it will be for the size and location of the boardwalk included in the plans. The way the boardwalk looks can change as long as it doesn’t change the size or placement.
Once VMRC receives additional information, including comments from other state agencies — including the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences — and the public, the information will be reviewed for approval.
VMRC’s public comment and inquiry period is currently open and will close Sept. 28. Questions and comments will be accepted via mail to Marine Resources Commission, Habitat Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607.