Sunday, December 10, 2023

JCC BOS approves Bruster’s drive-thru, landscaping business

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream is getting a drive-thru lane. (WYDaily/ File photo)

One ice cream shop is getting a drive-thru lane and a local landscaping business is moving to a new home.

The James City County Board of Supervisors (JCC BOS) unanimously approved two special-use permit applications at Tuesday’s meeting.

The first application allows Hertzler and George Landscaping, a Williamsburg-based business, to convert the former Lifepointe Christian Church building, 8251 Richmond Road to a contracting office with other site improvements so the company can relocate to Toano.

RELATED STORY: JCC Planning commission approves special-use permit for Williamsburg landscaping business

The second application allows Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, an ice cream franchise location at 5289 John Tyler Highway, to add a drive-thru lane to its property.

RELATED STORY: Williamsburg Crossing Bruster’s ice cream shop may soon have a drive-thru

While both agenda items were approved by the BOS unanimously, some members pointed out potential issues with the proposals during the public comment period.

Hertzler and George Landscaping

During the public comment period, John McGlennon, representative for the Berkeley District, asked if the change in the environmental plan would help with drainage issues.

The landscaping business had revised one of the application’s original conditions regarding the landscape buffer between the property and its next-door neighbor. While the original condition noted the landscape buffer must be undisturbed, it was revised because the applicant needed to have work done to help the water drain properly on the site.

Tom Leininger, senior planner, who presented the agenda item to the BOS, was not sure if the original condition would have caused issues with water drainage.

Frank Polster, a member of the JCC planning commission, said during the commission’s meeting on Jan. 6 the next-door neighbor, Dorothy Prowant, was concerned about how the company would affect the septic system, traffic impacts and other operational issues such as lighting.

He added the staff and the applicant followed up with Prowant after the meeting.

Joe Hertlzer, who owns the landscaping business, told the BOS why he was asking for approval for the special-use permit in the first place.

“We’ve just simply run out of space in the location we’re at,” he said.

No one asked Hertzler questions before approving the special-use permit, however, BOS Chairman Michael Hipple, representative for the Powhatan District, shared his opinion.

“And before we vote on that, I would like to say that Joe’s team has worked for me on different sites that I’ve done and the work he’s done on our site is just immaculate,” Hipple said, adding the applicant’s team does a wonderful job. “I think he’s going to be an asset to us in James City County and I don’t get the whole vote but I get a little bit.”

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

Ruth Larson, representative for Berkeley District, was concerned about how adding a drive-thru lane at Bruster’s Real Ice Cream would impact the traffic and accidents in the area near the Food Lion.

“The only question that I had was I worry about visibility because Bruster’s is a busy place,” she said, adding she is a customer and her dogs love the franchise chain’s free sundae.

Larson said she was also concerned about the lot next door, a vacant building she hopes another business will move into and wanted the applicant to be aware of the potential congestion.

Polster said during the public meeting portion at the planning commission meeting on Jan. 6, a “Mr. O’Connor” was also concerned about the drive-thru lane and location next to Humelsine Parkway — Route 199.

He added the applicant bought the property in 2020 and had discovered adding a drive-thru lane would increase the ice cream store location’s traffic by 50%.

Caroline West, the applicant, reiterated she purchased the property from Bruster’s last year and added she is a small business owner who also owns Parcel Stop in Monticello Marketplace.

BOS did not ask West questions prior to approving the special use permit.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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