Thursday, December 8, 2022

Handel’s Ice Cream closes in Lightfoot, may be replaced by AutoZone

Handel's Ice Cream vacant building sits idle along Richmond Road. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
Handel’s Ice Cream vacant building sits idle along Richmond Road. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

Fans of Handel’s Ice Cream will need to find a new location to enjoy frozen treats this year. 

Handel’s, located on Richmond Road in Lightfoot, will be demolished if a proposal is approved by James City County’s Development Review Committee, according to Planning Director Paul Holt.  

A preliminary site plan, acquired by WYDaily, indicates the current building could be demolished and the lot turned into an AutoZone. 

The plan was prepared to provide information to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in order to assist them in making a final recommendation on the application for the use of the site.

“A site plan application has been submitted to tear down the building and construct an AutoZone,” Holt confirmed. 

According to the staff report, in the proposal for an AutoZone, the applicant has requested a deviation from the area’s master plan. However, Section 24-516 of the zoning ordinance states that a development plan may be approved by the planning director if he concludes that “the plan does not significantly alter the character of the land uses.”

A public document that is being reviewed by James City County's Development Review Committee. The Planning Division allowed a photograph of the image to be captured but was unable to scan it by press time. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
A preliminary site plan for the former Handel’s lot is being reviewed by James City County’s Development Review Committee. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

The Development Review Committee will find the conceptual plan consistent with the Master Plan upon the fulfillment of three conditions, according to the staff report. Conditions include the approval of a landscape plan, revising architectural elevations of the proposed building, and abandoning the previously approved square-footage of the proposed building.

The Lightfoot area is zoned Mixed Use, which is a designation used to promote a broad spectrum of land uses within a development area, according to the county code.

In November, a sign in front of Handel’s Ice Cream read, “Closing December First.”  When reached for comment Dec. 8, Handel’s Corporate Office responded in an email, “At this point in time, the Williamsburg location is closing for the winter time.” 

Handel’s Corporate Office did not return a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Holt said that there is no set timetable for the proposal’s approval. The proposal states that the structure will be 7,381 square feet and will not include auto service bays. No vehicle service or repair is proposed to take place on the property.

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