Sunday, April 14, 2024

60-foot-tall senior living facility proposed 300 yards from airport runway

A map of Williamsburg Landing and the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport included in the Planning Commission meeting agenda. (Courtesy James City County)

A developer has proposed building a new independent living center at Williamsburg Landing — and it’s slated to be directly adjacent to the Williamsburg- Jamestown Airport.

Paul W. Gerhardt and William L. Holt of Kaufman and Canoles, P.C. have asked James City County to allow the construction of a 60-foot-tall structure to house 135 independent living units, according to Planning Commission documents.

Williamsburg Landing is a “Life Plan Community,” whose residents maintain independence and receive health care on site as their health needs change. The meeting documents indicate that the Williamsburg Landing building currently closest to the runway is roughly 1,500 feet away.

However, the proposed buildings would be constructed roughly 950 feet from the runway.

The proposal is contingent upon receiving a Special Use Permit, a zoning change, and a height waiver from the county Board of Supervisors, as the project is planned to be over 35 feet tall.

The county’s Planning Commission will review the proposal at their Wednesday, Nov. 1 meeting at 7 p.m.

Sixty-five of the housing units will be duplexes or townhomes, and 70 apartments.

County planning staff recommended the commission vote against the proposal. The Board of Supervisors, who will make a final determination on the project at a later date, will take the planners’ recommendation into consideration.

Reasons for staff’s stance against the proposal include a projected negative fiscal impact for the county, inconsistency with surrounding zoning and the James City County Comprehensive Plan, and concerns expressed by the Virginia Department of Aviation regarding air traffic safety and the probability of noise complaints from residents.

The Department of Aviation requested the county receive a “Determination of No Hazard” Federal Aviation Administration prior to approval, according to meeting documents.

The FAA conducted the aeronautical study of the proposal in June and determined “the structure does not exceed obstruction standards,” and posed no hazard to air navigation.

The Planning Commission does not review height waiver requests, according to meeting documents, but will consider the other aspects of the proposal before voting.

County staff said benefits of the proposal include its consistency with the Williamsburg Landing and the increase of housing for the county’s aging population.

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