The James City County planning commission unanimously approved a request Wednesday to build senior housing near the Williamsburg Jamestown Airport, despite county staff’s reservations with the project.
Williamsburg Landing, a senior living community, proposed to build up to 65 townhouses and duplexes and 70 apartments at 20 Marclay Drive, less than a tenth of a mile from the airport.
Commissioner Heath Richardson said one of the reasons he supports the project is the 50-75 jobs the applicant said will be created by the homes.
“It provides a place for our aging community to move to,” commissioner John Wright III said.
“This application has been a difficult one because of deviations from the comprehensive plan, but it also fits a need for senior housing,” said commissioner Rich Krapf.
County staff suggested the commission provide an unfavorable recommendation for the proposal, citing the concerns of the Virginia Department of Aviation and because the proposal clashes with existing zoning, according to county documents.
The property is designated for airport use in the comprehensive plan, and the applicant wants to use the space for housing.
The applicant, Kaufman and Canoles, asked for a deferral in April after the Virginia Department of Aviation told the county it was concerned about the proposed housing proximity to the airport and the potential for noise complaints.
Since April, the Federal Aviation Administration determined the houses would not be a hazard to air navigation.
Representatives from Williamsburg Landing said the proposed housing would help senior citizens on the waiting list find housing.
“We view the property as an important step in Williamsburg Landing’s future to provide sustainable housing,” said Virginia McLaughlin, president of Williamsburg Landing.
A date to start construction hasn’t been set yet.
Residents Rafael Connor and his wife Mary Grogan, who both live in Kingspoint said the four-story apartment would not be aesthetically pleasing and were concerned about noise and traffic.
Public access to the property would come through Williamsburg Landing Drive.
The commission also unanimously approved a request to build a Valvoline, automotive center at Lightfoot Marketplace.
Valvoline will operate the two-bay facility that services vehicles.
Lightfoot Marketplace also houses Harris Teeter and a Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters medical building.
Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.