Sunday, April 14, 2024

JCC Community Conversation Ends with Heated Discussion over Regional Sports Complex

James City County Community Conversations (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

JAMES CITY COUNTY — James City County (JCC) hosted a Community Conversation event at Legacy Hall on Wednesday, Jan 31.

A large turnout came to hear more from the JCC leadership regarding several current topics, ranging from crime to sanitation to new facilities.

Police Update

Police Chief Mark Jamison led off with an updated report that showed crime is down from one year ago.

“Overall, crime is down 17% for calendar year 2024 versus 2023. A lot of this has to do with you all helping us solve crimes,” Jamison said, the statistics drawing applause from the audience.

“One thing we can’t do is serve this community and protect it by ourselves. We need you to be a part of this community, be engaged, and calling us when you see something. When you see something, say something,” he added.

New Government Center

Plans for a potential centrally located, consolidated government building were presented by Assistant County Administrator Brad Rinehimer. The county is considering moving to a joint facility location on land adjacent to the JCC Recreation Center on Longhill Road.

The current government offices, located on Mounts Bay Road near Kingsmill Resort, were built in the late 1970s and do not meet the current needs and demands of the population, Rinehimer said.

Two proposals for the consolidated space have been reviewed and the Board of Supervisors have approved an interim agreement between JCC and local contractor Henderson Inc. to continue talks regarding design.

Rinehimer stated that this project is still in the planning stages and there will be plenty of time for citizens to provide input.

Solid Waste Consolidation

Officials shared an update concerning the possibility of solid waste consolidation in the county. Currently, there are five waste management companies operating and JCC is exploring the option of either contracting service to one provider or taking over all service for waste management in an effort to keep prices down and limit the number of trucks in the county.

Any changeover, by state law, requires that the county notify private haulers that displacement will occur in five years or pay a year’s worth of revenue.

Talks are in the early stages and County Administrator Scott Stevens said the Board of Supervisors will add solid waste consolidation to its agenda for discussion later this Spring.

Regional Sports Complex

A final presentation by Stevens on the newly approved Regional Sports Complex evoked a heated community response from many in attendance.

Questions on issues regarding traffic, parking, usage and cost were of concern and many citizens voiced displeasure over a “lack of transparency” and what they felt was a “rushed” decision in approving the facility.

This year-round regional facility is a joint project between JCC, the City of Williamsburg and York County that was approved by and will be operated by all three localities through the Historic Triangle Recreational Facilities Authority. JCC approved its participation at the Dec. 2023 Board of Supervisors meeting.
“I don’t know anyone who supports this!” stated one resident, with another added, “I think this place is out of step with Colonial Williamsburg, the parking is going to be atrocious, I don’t like this idea at all!”

Stevens apologized that some residents were not aware of the project and said the county would continue to prioritize communication, but also noted that the process was neither rushed nor hidden from the public.

“I am sorry we didn’t do better with community engagement but, there were more than 46 news articles written about it, podcasts on it, TV coverage, there were three government bodies — Yorktown, the city and James City — with public meetings almost monthly for two years. We could have done better, because obviously we didn’t get it out, but we talked about it a lot,” Stevens explained, while also noting that the nature of the project, by law, did not require a public hearing.

“I believe there was a lot of opportunity and effort to push it out so it wasn’t a surprise to the community,” continued Stevens.

Citizens were encouraged to attend their local government meetings to stay informed on current events.

JCC will continue host a series of Community Conversations throughout the year.

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