Williamsburg City Council Rejects Proposed High Street Development

In a closely watched decision, the Williamsburg City Council voted this Thursday to deny a series of applications that would have significantly changed the landscape of High Street by introducing a large residential development. By a narrow margin of 3-2, the council refused to approve proposals that included the creation of a new zoning district and the rezoning of certain areas within the Shops at High Street, which would have paved the way for the construction of 189 multifamily dwellings.

Vice Mayor Pat Dent along with council members Stacy Kern-Scheerer and Barbara Ramsey were opposed to the applications, while Mayor Douglas Pons and council member Caleb Rogers supported the initiative. The rejected proposals centered on two vacant lots located at 1430 High Street, situated strategically between the Movie Tavern and Richmond Road.

The key proposal under consideration would have established a new zoning district dubbed Economic Development District 3. This new district would have allowed residential usage to exceed 40% of land use—a substantial increase over the limits imposed by the existing zoning regulations. Crescent Acquisitions LLC, the developer behind the proposal, intended to construct two five-story apartment buildings within this framework, aiming to expand the residential capacity of the High Street development, which is currently at its maximum residential usage cap.

Despite adjustments to the original proposal, which reduced the number of luxury apartments from initial figures presented to the planning commission in December, the council followed the planning commission’s guidance after it was returned for revisions. The commission ultimately recommended against the project, citing deviations from the city’s comprehensive plan.

This decision underscores the council’s commitment to maintaining the structured growth and zoning integrity of Williamsburg, reflecting broader community priorities and planning strategies.

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