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Supervisors approve waiver for Busch Gardens attraction

jojacobs@vagazette.com

James City County Board of Supervisors approved a height limitation wavier that will allow Busch Gardens to build a new attraction Tuesday, though no details about what the project may entail were available.

Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the height limitation waiver requested by Anthony Loubier, of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., on behalf of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, which owns Busch Gardens.

The waiver permits the construction of an attraction not to exceed 115 feet above finished grade or not to exceed 155 feet above sea level. The area’s zoning, which is limited business/industrial, limits structures to a height of 60 feet, James City Senior Planner Savannah Pietrowski said.

The park is 72 feet above sea level.

Busch Gardens is mum on details about the future development.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is seeking a height waiver with James City County for potential future development. Beyond the information contained in the filing, we have no further details to share at this point,” Busch Gardens spokesman Ron Vample wrote in an email to The Virginia Gazette Monday.

The publicly available county documents related to the waiver don’t include any description, cost or construction timeline for the attraction.

The project area is located near the Griffon roller coaster in the Ireland section of the park, according to the application’s site map.

Based in part on the attraction’s location, county staff anticipates the attraction will be hidden from surrounding roadways and developments, Pietrowski said.

No residents spoke during the public comment period that preceded the vote, though Busch Gardens vice president of engineering Larry Giles took to the podium to be available for questions about the project.

Supervisor John McGlennon asked whether the attraction would be enclosed, which Giles declined to comment on.

“We aren’t ready to talk too much about it,” Giles said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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