WILLIAMSBURG — This month, the Williamsburg City Council meeting consisted of important public hearings that included the city moving a step forward with the regional sports complex, medical marijuana dispensaries, and a Colonial Williamsburg expansion.
Recreational Facilities Authority
The City Council voted unanimously in favor of Resolution 21-28: a concurrent resolution with James City and York counties to form the Historic Triangle Recreational facilities Authority. This is considered a formal step as all three localities must take the same step before future work beings.
James City County had already voted to adopt their resolution at their Nov. 9, 2021 meeting. York County will vote on their resolution later in the month, but it is expected that they will vote in favor of the resolution as well.
The resolution lays out a governing board called the Recreational Facilities Authority. As discussed in the Nov. 10 meeting, there are six members who will be voted to the Regional Facilities Authority and the group will be made up of two members from each locality. The member who will make the appointment to the board will be the chief appointed official.
“We’ve been working on this since 2014 as a region. It wasn’t until our city council, and our tourism grant process, generated funding to pay for half of the construction of the facility that this really began to move forward in earnest,” said City Manager Andrew Trivette at the Nov. 10 Williamsburg City Council Meeting. “A regional workgroup was formed to consider locations as well as a programing plan for the facility. That group did consider several sites all within the city and ultimately decided that the best site was the colonial Williamsburg visitors center. At the same time, the parks and recreation directors from all three localities worked on a programming plan to meet community need. Once we had that planned, we turned it over to the consultant that was hired to determine market competitiveness and the attractiveness of such a facility as well as economic impact. That produced sort of a final version of the programming plan that represented both the community needs as well as what we would need to attract sports tourism to the facility.”
If York County adopts its resolution then the next step would be for all localities to appoint members to the board so that the authority can begin hosting its meetings. These meetings are where all the organizational work will get done.
Medical Marijuana Dispenseries
The City Counted voted unanimously in favor of the Consideration and approval of PCR#21-010: A Zoning Text Amendment to amend Article III. District Regulations, Division 10.1 Economic Development District ED*, Section 21-362 to allow medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
This was a request to amend a zoning ordinance to allow medical dispensaries licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to the Virginia Code in the Economic Development District (ED), and to amend the supplemental district regulations to address the retail sale of Cannabis and Cannabis products or extracts.
The city ordinance code was written that if it’s not listed in the ordinance it’s not permitted. So that is why the city council was voting to amend the code to address the retail sale of Cannabis and other Cannabis products.
The ED contains the Riverside Hospital, an apartment complex, and multi-family houses.
Prior to the vote, it was recommended that these medical dispensaries be located near the hospitals since the cannabis is classified as medical cannabis and medical cannabis products. This means that customers and users of the dispensaries are required to have a medical prescription before the purchase of the cannabis. The City Council made it very clear that this zoning amendment does not include the retail sale of recreational cannabis within the city limits.
There are four medical dispensary licenses issued by the state of Virginia at this time. All medical dispensaries that would end up in the city are required to be licensed by the state and must follow all state regulations.
Colonial Williamsburg Expansion
The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the consideration and approval of PCR#21-015: A Request of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to rezone approximately 1.86 acres from Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area (CW) to Museum Support (MS) at 400 South Nassau Street. This included PCR#21-016: A Request of the CW for a special use permit for the removal of 54 parking spaces in the Downtown Parking District for the construction of the Colin G & Nancy N. Campbell Archaeology Center at 400 South Nassau Street.
The proposed rezoning will include a portion of the lot to the north, 202 West Francis Street, to be combined into the property at 400 South Nassau Street.
The proposed expansion project is expected to showcase a large portion of the Foundation’s archaeological collection. The CAC will also have museum-grade climate control artifact processing space, artifact accessioning and analysis labs, and documentation labs as well as research office and meeting space.
Additionally, the design for the proposed Archaeology Center features guest arrival services, a learning center, and a covered outdoor arcade with walkways to public restrooms.
CW has a five-year plan to create a new lot in the Botetourt/Lafayette Street area to provide an additional 469 parking spaces for guests and visitors.