Sunday, July 21, 2024

York Planning Commission to Discuss New Plans for Vacant Hotels

The York County Planning Commission is considering at its Wednesday meeting a number of changes to some local zoning designations and will hold a trio of public hearings.

Commission to Review George Washington Inn Proposal

Merrimac Partners, LLC, has filed a proposal to receive a Special Use Permit to convert the currently vacant George Washington Inn on Merrimac Trail to a 200-unit senior housing facility, according to the agenda for the Wednesday meeting of the York County Planning Commission.

According to the agenda, the proposed facility would feature 70 assisted living units and 130 independent units in addition to common area facilities. The 70 assisted living units would be the first in York County, as the other four developed senior housing facilities do not offer assisted living service.

This is not the first time that a group has tried to convert the George Washington Inn building to a senior living facility. In February, the York County Planning Commission voted to recommend approving plans to convert the location into a senior housing and assisted living facility, however that plan fell through before it got to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Read more about that effort here and here.

The housing section of the York County Comprehensive Plan—a long term guide to the physical development of the county—calls for additional senior housing to cater to an increasing elderly population. There are currently 15,809 York County residents who were at least 62 years old in 2010. This group, which constitutes 24.1 percent of the population, is expected to grow to 30.1 percent by 2020, according to the proposal.

According to the proposal, the York County planning staff recommends forwarding the proposed plan to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation to approve due to a host of factors. “Compared to hotel use with a high risk of remaining vacant, and given the depressed hotel market and abundance of existing hotels in the area, the proposed use (which has a positive fiscal impact in and of itself) would be a benefit to the County,” reads the staff report.


Proposal Calls for 1776 Hotel to be Replaced With Townhouses

A proposal from 1776 Hotel, LLC, seeks to reclassify 10.7 acres of a 12.3-acre site on Bypass Road from General Business to Residential Multi-Family. Plans call for the existing hotel building on the site, which is currently vacant, to be demolished. The plan would merge 725 and 725Z Bypass Road into a single 10.7 acre parcel while an adjacent 1.62-acre parcel containing Chelsea Road would remain in the General Business district.

The current General Business designation permits land owners to seek out retail and other commercial enterprises, while the proposed change to Residential Multi-Family classification would enable higher density living arrangements—up to 10 dwelling units per acre for a maximum of 102 units in the proposed 10.7 acre parcel—that would allow for the construction of townhouses, known as single-family attached homes in the language of the application.

The new townhouses, according to the proposal, would be two-story residences built in groups of four or six that would be served by a private street system. There are still several issues to work out involving compliance with the Zoning Ordinance for single-family attached dwellings, including pedestrian and emergency access, street design, parking, active recreation facilities, minimum open space requirements, enrollment concerns with local schools and more. These changes could reduce the number of units in the development below the maximum 102.

According to the proposal, the York County planning staff believes that the proposal is “not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and recommends that the Commission forward this application to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation of denial.”

The hotel structure that exists on the land was built in 1970, according to the index file. The hotel has been vacant since last summer. In January 2009, the site was granted a Special Use Permit for a senior housing facility, though that never materialized and the approval expired in January 2011.

The land is also zoned as an Historic Resources Management overlay district due to the presence of an archaeological site designated by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Prior to the approval of a development plan, the site would need to be evaluated and verified as designated by Historic Resources Management regulations, according to the proposal.


Proposal Seeks Permit for Mini-Storage Facility

The final proposal on the docket is from Old Dominion Associates, LC,and calls for a Special Use Permit to authorize the construction of a single-story mini-storage warehouse facility on a 4.22 acre block of land on Route 17. The block of land, which is currently undeveloped, is set approximately 1,300 feet south of the intersection of Route 17 and Fort Eustis Boulevard, according to the Wednesday agenda.

The proposal calls for seven one-story mini-storage warehouses and a one-story office/caretaker building. Due to the presence of some wetlands, the site is a part of the Watershed Management and Protection Area overlay district—this designation requires an Impact Study and a management plan for hazardous materials and stormwater runoff, and a wetland delineation from the Army Corps of Engineers, according to the proposal.

According to the proposal, the York County Planning Commission staff recommends that the application for the mini-storage warehouses be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval.


The meeting will be held today at 7 p.m. at York Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

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