Proposed guidelines could impact home paint colors and renovations in Williamsburg – Daily Press

WILLIAMSBURG — New city design guidelines could mean new paint colors for homes and more flexibility when renovating homes that aren’t considered historic.

The proposed updated guidelines were presented Monday at a joint session between the Williamsburg City Council and the Architectural Review Board.

In February 2020, city staff began work on updating the guidelines after council members said they had concerns they wanted the Architectural Review Board to address. Concerns included affordability, materials used for historic and non-historic buildings, demolition, colors, the perception of the Architectural Review Board in the city, and the definition of contributing and non-contributing buildings.

By working to loosen the guidelines, the council believed homes would become more affordable and home ownership would increase.

“If we don’t protect the homes we have, we’ll never have century homes in the city, and I think it’s important that we take care of those buildings as they age and preserve them. “, said the city. said Mayor Doug Pons.

The guidelines are designed to “enhance the quality of life for all by preserving the desirable character and aesthetic features of the (city) by ensuring that new development is compatible,” as stated in the presentation given by Tevya Griffin, city ​​planning and master code compliance.

“I think we all know Williamsburg is very special,” Griffin said.

The research found that the cost of buying a home in the architectural protection districts, where the average cost of a home is $651,580 and the average cost of land is $323,316.67, is higher than many can afford.

Griffin suggested the city use its Certified Local Government status to open up funding with grants for the rehabilitation of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places that are publicly or privately owned and selected through a competition of local grants.

The proposed new guidelines also distinguish between contributory and non-contributory structures, with non-contributory properties having looser guidelines.

A contributing property is defined as a building, object or structure that adds to the historic integrity or architectural qualities that make the district historic significant. In 2021, city staff updated the list designating contributory and non-contributory properties, and an applicant can also appeal their designation.

Under the proposed guidelines, properties listed as non-contributory can use materials approved for new construction. There are also stricter window guidelines for existing contributing structures, which must use wood windows for restoration or replacement.

Addressing concerns about the permitted color palette being too narrow, the proposed guidelines added 11 additional paint colors for use in all districts. Additionally, the entire Colonial Williamsburg Benjamin Moore color palette can be used for signs.

After the presentation, council member Ted Maslin raised a concern about whether homes that are currently considered non-contributory might one day become contributory as they age and how that might affect previous repairs and updates made to the structure. .

Currently, there are four architectural preservation and protection districts, including AP-1 district, AP-2 district, AP-3 district, and Corridor Protection District.

Then there will be several public hearings, including with the Architectural Review Board, the Planning Commission and the City Council.

In other business, City Manager Andrew Trivette mentioned there will be a pair of public hearings at Thursday’s council meeting, one regarding permission to convert additional units into affordable housing and the another regarding the provision of a text change to allow a hookah lounge. .

Sian Wilkerson, [email protected], 757-342-6616

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