Sunday, April 2, 2023

City rezones Northeast Triangle into ‘culinary arts’ and tourism district

Courtesy of the City of Williamsburg
Map of the re-zoned area on Capitol Landing Road. (Courtesy of City of Williamsburg)

In a move to generate urban redevelopment, the Williamsburg City Council passed multiple rezoning ordinances for districts in the Northeast Triangle Thursday. 

At Thursday’s meeting, the council unanimously approved proposed zoning ordinances #16-14 and #16-16. The first of which lists the businesses that can now freely operate in the rezoned area, such as brew pubs, restaurants and bake shops.

The latter of which delineates the area that has been rezoned from a B2 to B4 district, an area that incorporates 76 acres of land, stretching mostly down Capitol Landing Road between Bypass Road, Colonial Parkway, and Merrimac Trail.

“This district is established to encourage the location of business related to the culinary arts,” read ordinance #16-14.

During the meeting, council members detailed plans to implement urban planning policies in the district, such as creating pedestrian crossings and adding bicycle-friendly routes to the corridor.

Map of the Williamsburg Tourism Zone. (Courtesy of City of Williamsburg)

The council also indicated they hope to establish food truck regulations in the area, but postponed voting on a proposed food truck ordinance, citing concerns about the proposal’s limitations on local entrepreneurs.

Proposals to rezone the area were first discussed by a Northeast Triangle focus group in November 2011. The City followed up on group’s report in 2013 by including their findings in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The City also supported bringing “new life” to the area in its 2015-2016 Goals, Initiatives, and Outcomes.

City Council also unanimously approved ordinance #16-19 to create a Williamsburg Tourism Zone aimed at enticing the tourism industry to expand into the rezoned B2 to B4 district by creating both state and local tax incentives.

“Tourism zones are a state tool that empower localities to provide tax incentives,” Councilor Benming Zhang said in a news release following the passage of ordinance #16-19. “The Williamsburg Tourism Zone refunds a portion of future new tax incentive revenue to help new businesses grow or for existing businesses to expand. It plays an equitable, major role with City efforts to revitalize the ‘Northeast Triangle’ planning area.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that ordinance #16-19 was not listed on the City Council agenda. It was listed under the city manager’s report. 

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