City Council has added language to a Williamsburg zoning ordinance that will now require council approval for any reduction in downtown parking.
On Thursday, City Council approved a zoning amendment that would require a special use permit for the removal of any parking spaces in the downtown parking district.
Council members Doug Pons, Barbara Ramsey and Paul Freiling approved the amendment; Councilman Benming Zhang was absent and Councilman Ted Maslin abstained from the vote.
Before the amendment, the zoning ordinance included vague language requiring “approval” for removal of parking in the downtown district — although it did not specify who needed to give approval.
Pons suggested anyone, such as a property owner, could technically give approval for the removal of parking spots as the code was written.
The change was prompted at the recommendation of city staff, although the proposed amendment surfaced around the same time Colonial Williamsburg proposed removing 40 of 48 parking spots to make a green space in the P3 lot.
Colonial Williamsburg has since withdrawn their application for the project.
Planning Director Carolyn Murphy said any on-street removal of parking would also likely need to go through City Council. Road side parking is city property, and the ordinance revision covers private parking lots.
Murphy said the city has required residential property owners to have at least one parking spot per unit, although those spots do not necessarily have to be on the parcel.
Murphy added that about 40 or 50 parcels of land are in the downtown parking district, including William & Mary buildings, residential structures, businesses and restaurants.
While there was a public comment period on the agenda item, no residents chose to speak.
During the meeting, City Council also approved other items, including:
- Releasing $15,000 to install temporary lighting and potted evergreen plants on Prince George Street. Vote: 4-0.
- Three ordinances regarding the police department and city’s management and enforcement of criminal blight, massage parlors and prostitution. Vote: 4-0.