Architectural Review Board members said they have concerns with the exterior design for a new Jewish center planned by the William and Mary Real Estate Foundation.
The Shenkman Jewish Center, slated to be at Jamestown Road and Cary Street, across from the College of William and Mary, does not appear to board members as a natural fit into that part of the city.
Foundation representatives said they tailored their plans for the building around preferences from its donors, Mark and Rosalind Shenkman.
Board member Joe Hertzler said the plans for the Jewish Center are at odds with what he considers traditional building design in the city.
"I don't see anything else like this," he said. "I don't see how it ties in with the architecture we have in town."
Board member Andrew Edwards said he is concerned with the donor's preferences for the building.
"You stand to lose the legibility of the historic area of the campus," he said.
Sam Jones, the college's senior vice president for finance and administration, said there will be a place for a rabbi in the building, and that the school envisions it as a place where Jewish students and staff can spend leisure time.
"This facility is meant to serve a specific population," he said at the board's July 11 meeting.
City planning commissioner Jeff Klee
Klee said he likes the idea for the building, but agreed with other board members in saying the current don't fit in with what he considers Williamsburg's style.
"It would fit in very well, not in Williamsburg, but in a place like Charlottesville," he said. "We don't want to position ourselves to look like that other college."
The building proposal be will reviewed by the architecture board before being passed along to the Planning Commission, then finally the City Council.
Klee did say the foundation should revise its plans if it hopes for a better outcome.
"There is a way forward, but it's going to require a little creativity and a little manipulation of what you've done here," he said.
Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.