Sunday, October 1, 2023

Spotswood Plan In Williamsburg Stalls for Another Design Review

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WILLIAMSBURG – The plan to build 160-plus homes on a former golf course owned by Colonial Williamsburg stalled on Tuesday, May 23 when a leading opponent of the project pointed out problems and omissions in a design guide which needed approval from the city’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) in order for the project to move forward.

“Given the scope of this project and its impact, it’s worthwhile for us to make sure those changes have been made,” said ARB member Mark Kostro.

The vote to table a vote on the “Pattern Book” was unanimous. The ARB will hold a work session at 2pm June 5 to address the issues raised by Fraser Hudgins, who leads a group called Citizens for Responsible Spotswood Development. Hudgins pointed out that many changes agreed upon in previous work sessions had not yet been incorporated into the document under review. He also said there were conflicts between the site plan and the pattern book.

“Thirty townhouses are shown on the site plan, yet the pattern book makes no mention of townhouses,” Hudgins said. “Citizens deserve better than this. The ARB deserves better than this. It’s unclear exactly what they’re proposing for the site.”

The developer, Frye Properties of Norfolk, has a contract to purchase the former nine-hole Spotswood Golf Course from Colonial Williamsburg but the sale is contingent upon winning a rezoning request that would double the housing density from 87 homes to more than 160.

The first stop on the road to approval is the Architectural Review Board, which Tuesday was set to vote on the developer’s pattern book, a 67-page manual of architectural guidelines which includes a manufacturer and material list for each element of the exterior of the five different housing types the company wants to build on the site.

The city’s planning staff had recommended approval of the pattern book. Once approved, the rezoning request would move on to the Planning Commission, after staff has finished their review of Frye’s application, which is 500 pages long.

The ARB is nothing if not thorough. The pattern book has already received a public hearing in February, where opposition from neighbors who live adjacent to the golf course was fierce, followed by three work sessions between the ARB and the developer to bring the company’s pattern book into compliance with the city’s design guidelines. Now, the ARB will meet once again to make sure the changes they required have been added.

“Postponing it doesn’t seem like a problem because we know it’s a contentious issue and we all love this town,” said board member Linda Berryman.

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