Planning commission moves housing plan to city council

City council member and hotelier Doug Pons took another step toward securing more workforce housing in Williamsburg Wednesday, in an attempt to fulfill what he recognizes as a pressing need in the city.

Members of the Williamsburg Planning Commission have recommended that city council allow Pons to convert part of his hotel property into housing units.

Pons wants convert 68 of his existing motel rooms at the Quarterpath Inn into 53 apartments, and part of the reason for the change is a trend he has recognized over several years.

Visitors are staying at the Quarterpath Inn less often than in past years, and Pons sees an opportunity to convert those rooms into places where people can live long-term.

Vernon Geddy, a lawyer representing Pons' interests, said the Inn's recent years are reflective of city-wide trends as hotels and motels are concerned.

"The mom-and-pop motel style is a business whose time, it looks like, has come and gone," Geddy said.

Planning commission member Sarah Stafford, the 1st vice chairperson of the commission said Pons is proposing something that few others in the area have emulated.

"We certainly have not been overwhelmed with other hotel owners wanting to make this conversion,' she said.

Demetrios Florakis, chairman of the commission, commented on what he thought was a pretty cut-and-dry proposal that would help the city.

"This is well thought out. It's a nice adaptive reuse," he said, referring to the plans Pons has to repurpose hotel rooms into apartments.

City council meets on May 8, and they have the option to take the commission's recommendation or rebuff it. Pons plans to abstain from voting to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

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