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After seven months of waiting, a plan to transform part of a York Street hotel into apartments has the go-ahead from the City of Williamsburg.
The Williamsburg City Council voted 4-0 to approve a request by Knights Inn owner Doug Pons to convert 60 hotel rooms into 47 apartments.
Pons, who also serves on the City Council, abstained from the vote.
Calling the project “The Flats at Quarterpath,” Pons plans to convert the 60 hotel rooms into 45 efficiency units, three one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units. Pons has projected rental rates to range from $650 to $1,050, and has said the converted apartments will have the dual effect of bringing new residents to the hotel and filling the city’s need for new housing options.
Councilwoman Judy Knudson said she supported the project for its potential benefit to city residents looking for affordable housing options.
“I really do hope this project helps the housing problem in Williamsburg,” Knudson said.
The approval came through a new city ordinance, enacted in April and spurred by Pons’ original request, allowing up to 100 hotel rooms across the city to be transformed into apartments units for so-called “adaptive housing.”
Pons initially filed a request in October for a special use permit to partially turn the Knights Inn into apartments, but city staff did not recommend that plan for approval, citing concerns over the potential loss of commercial property in the city.
The City Council voted to postpone consideration of the request until city staff could complete additional work on the issue and take a second look at Pons’ plan.
Staff members returned with a plan to create the Planned Development Housing zone, a new zoning designation for hotel-to-apartments conversions through an application process.
The City Council approved the PDH plan and set a limit of 100 units across the city. With the approval of Pons’s request, 53 units remain in the available pool for applications.
Councilman Scott Foster said the lengthy deliberation process allowed the final plan to address additional issues and provide the most benefit for Williamsburg.
“I’m glad we’ve been able to work around the outstanding issues and build consensus for what’s going to be in the project,” Foster said.