Planning Commission to discuss Williamsburg's institutions, community character

Staff writer

The city’s community character and land use at Colonial Williamsburg and the College of William and Mary will be the focus of the Williamsburg Planning Commission’s next comprehensive plan work session Wednesday.

The city’s planning staff is expected to present draft chapters on city institutions and community character at the meeting, and will seek input from the board. Once completed, the 2019 comprehensive plan update will serve as five-year guide for the city’s long-term goals.

The community character chapter will focus on historic preservation, the design review established to judge changes to the city’s corridor protection and architectural preservation districts and the city’s main entrance corridors.

The draft of the chapter on institutions centers on recent and upcoming construction projects and developments at William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg, which together make up 43% of the city’s total land area, according to the document.

The draft chapter notes that while the city doesn’t plan to interfere with the university’s land-use decisions within the campus, concern could arise if changes along campus borders begin affecting nearby city neighborhoods and commercial and historic areas.

Planning Department staff is expected to recommend the city work with William and Mary to implement changes to the parking system suggested by a recent study and discuss creating a bike share or scooter program.

Planning staff will also suggest that the city work with William and Mary to construct sidewalks from the School of Education to Monticello Avenue, along the north side of Jamestown Road in front of Phi Beta Kappa Hall and at the north end of Treyburn Drive at the Ironbound Road intersection.

The draft chapter’s section on Colonial Williamsburg delves into issues including traffic flow and parking, architectural character, the preservation of open space and development at Merchants Square.

Staff will suggest that the plan encourage updated infrastructure in the Historic Area and downtown, and that the city work with CW to assess the future of the Visitor Center and Palace Farms, fill vacancies in Merchants Square, including the Goodwin Building, and assess the possibility of expanding Merchants Square over the next five years.

Meeting details:

Where: City Council Chambers, Stryker Center, 412 N. Boundary St.

When: 4 p.m. Wednesday

For a list of all upcoming comprehensive plan meetings, visit To read the city’s current comprehensive plan, which was passed in 2013, visit

Rodrigo Arriaza,, 757-790-9313, @rodrigoarriaza0

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette