WILLIAMSBURG — The City of Williamsburg Planning Commission held a meeting on Jan. 19, 2022, at the Stryker Center, 412 N Boundary St.
There were two consent items on the agenda and both were unanimously approved:
- SPR# 21-012: Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, 1611 Richmond Road: MVP II, LLC requests site plan approval to construct a 3,200 square foot restaurant with a drive-thru for the fast food franchise. The site plan review committee reviewed the plans on Dec. 15 and recommended the site plan’s approval.
- SPR# 21-019: P3 Parking Lot Improvements 403 West Duke of Gloucester St. / 412 Prince George St.: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation requests site plan approval to convert an existing alley to a new side patio for Blue Talon Bistro, as well as realigning Lot P3 to provide 8 additional parking spaces. The site plan review committee reviewed the plans on Dec. 15, 2021, and recommended the site plan’s approval.
The majority of the meeting was for a public hearing on PCR#21-017 and PCR#21-018, two requests from CDP WB PE LLC.
- PCR#21-017: Request of CDP WB PE LLC for a special use permit to increase the density allowed in the Limited Business Downtown District LB-1 for 14 units per net acre to 19 units per net acre for property located at 506 North Henry Street.
- PCR#20-018: Request of CDP WB PE LLC for a special use permit to encroach into 30 percent slopes for the redevelopment of the Governor’s Inn site for the proposed construction of up to 162 apartments and associated infrastructure at 506 North Henry Street.
One area of concern for some of the members was whether or not this development would help with providing affordable housing for the community. A couple of members of the Commission expressed their concern.
“I was a no vote on this last time, and I’m still not enthusiastic about it,” said 2nd Vice-Chair Greg Granger. “I think there’s been a lot of conversation for some time about needing to increase housing in our community that the ‘Everyday Joe’ can afford, and the people who work in our police station, and our fire station, and our municipal building and such. I’m not really sure this is going to be affordable for them.”
Conor Sokolowsky was also another planning committee member who expressed similar concerns.
“I know we had also last year looked at a neighborhood balance committee report and you know there was a lot of conversation between William & Mary Students and long-time residents but I didn’t really see a whole lot about affordable housing for the working-class community that really makes our city run,” said Sokolowsky before the vote. “I’ve been here and lived in the city for 15 years, grew up here, went through the public school system and everything. It was kind of shocking to me to realize at a young age that the vast majority of my teachers were commuting from Newport News and Norfolk and that there was just this lack of affordable housing, and like Mr. Granger also pointed out, this is a prime location to think ‘why not?'”
The planning commission ended up tallying 3 ayes to 3 nays.
Ayes: John Cale, James Boswell, John Tarley Jr.
Nays: Greg Granger, Conor Sokolowsky, Marcia Liebel
The Planning Commission then opened up the floor for the public hearing on the City’s Capital Improvement Program. At this time in the meeting, residents were requested to present items for inclusion in the City of Williamsburg’s Program. However, no one stepped forward and, therefore, there were no public comments or presentations.
The Planning Commission will have a work session on Jan. 26, 2022 to further discuss the proposed Capital Improvement Program for fiscal years 2023 through 2027.
The Commission will also meet on Feb. 16, 2022, where it will hold a public hearing regarding a request to construct a new Tidal Wave Auto Spa at 1800 Richmond Road.
More information on the planning commission can be found at the City of Williamsburg Civic Website.