Thursday, November 30, 2023

City Council denies and approves various Colonial Williamsburg applications

More than 1,900 people packed the lawn at the Colonial Williamsburg Art Museum for the first of this year's Summer Breeze concerts. (Bryan DeVasher/WYDaily)
More than 1,900 people packed the lawn at the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum for the first of 2018’s Summer Breeze concerts. (WYDaily file)

During the Williamsburg City Council Thursday, council members debated on a number of items, including rezoning part of the historic area, permitting for food trucks, and the Summer Breeze concert series.

Converting historic area land to residential

After a two-hour public hearing and discussion, City Council voted against changing the zoning ordinance for a piece of Colonial Williamsburg property from historic area to single family residential.

Documents submitted to the city’s Planning Commission showed a portion of a 10,089-square-foot lot on 320 and 316 Scotland St. is being considered for rezoning. The property is currently zoned as historic area but the applicant, Julius Dell, who was under contract to purchase part of the land from Colonial Williamsburg, had applied to amend the comprehensive plan to make it a single-family dwelling district.

If it had been approved, the new zoning would allow the construction of a single-family dwelling for Dell.

Related story: Colonial Williamsburg historic area lands could become residential property

This is land that was previously under an archaeological study in 1980s and 1990s in order to find a historic family cemetery and garden. However, those studies did not find any evidence at that time.

In 2013, the comprehensive plan designated the property as part of the Colonial Williamsburg Historic area, which means it will be preserved to protect and maintain the character and importance in the historic place.

However, during the Planning Commission meeting on April 17, Dell argued the larger area surrounding the property had all previously been zoned as single family residential and his application is looking only to change a small portion of the area back to that.

“I think it is interesting to note that prior to that the property along Scotland Street was owned single family residential,” Dell said. “And now all we’re doing is asking to rezone a small portion of that property back to residential…It’s important that…everyone here understand the extent that we’ve gone to preserve that particular aspect of the Colonial Williamsburg district.”

The Planning Commission voted to recommend to the City Council to deny Dell’s request and after multiple residents spoke at the meeting on Thursday — mostly arguing that building on the property would intrude on the historic nature — City Council voted not to change the zoning ordinance.

Dell had been under contract to buy the historic land from the foundation only if the rezoning application had been approved.

Food trucks

City Council voted unanimously in favor of amending the zoning ordinance for the museum to support the district to allow for food trucks.

That change comes after a council vote in January to expand policies to allow food trucks to operate in more areas of the city. The new ordinance will allow food trucks at some events hosted by Colonial Williamsburg

Related story: Council expands opportunities for food trucks within Williamsburg city limits

In conjunction with the January policies, food trucks looking to operate in the district would need to park at least 100 feet away from any existing restaurants when serving outside of private events, unless 75 percent of restaurant owners in the district agree the food truck can be used inside the buffer.

Additionally, to operate within the district, food trucks would still need to get a special use permit.

Summer Breeze concerts

Council voted in favor of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s request for a special use permit to have its annual Summer Breeze concerts on the lawn of the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum until 2023.

That will also allow food trucks to operate at the event of the Allee Garden through 2023.

Two members recused from all voting Thursday because of conflicts of interest.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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