Town Crier Articles

Posted on April 1, 2024 6:58 AM by Scott Ellis and Mary Cheston
 
Two major new developments are poised on New Town’s doorstep and are progressing through the James City County rezoning review process: Westwood Park and Cardinal Ridge. In order for either development to be approved, the James City County 2045 Comprehensive Plan will also need to be revised to change the area designation from public land (PL) to multiuse (MU). This Master Plan revision process is expected to occur concurrent with the rezoning actions. 
 
Neither site is scheduled yet for public hearing before the Planning Commission, since comments from County staff are still being addressed. Stay informed about these important zoning actions and do your homework with the plan links provided below in preparation for any future opportunities for public input.
 
Westwood Park Rezoning (Plan Number: Z-23-0004 / MP-23-0001
 
This is the ABVA development on 79.6 acres of surplus Eastern State Hospital land (Parcel C) that has been discussed since 2020. It will directly adjoin Charlotte Park and be accessed by an extension of Discovery Park Boulevard. Currently proposed at up to 86 single family homes, maximum of 125 multifamily/senior living units, and 40,000SF office/commercial buildings. A community pool, recreation area(s) and natural paths are included in the proffers for this area. As reported last year, the community would have its own homeowners association and not be associated with New Town.
 
Traffic studies are being reviewed and the JCC Stormwater and Resource Protection Office has required resubmittal to correct several items missing from the original proposal. As of mid-March, per the Planning Department, the revised application “is nearer to being considered complete.”
 
Cardinal Ridge (Eastern State) Rezoning (Plan Number: Z-23-0008)
 
This development of approximately 368.4 acres by D.R. Horton Inc., one of the largest U.S. homebuilders, was initially submitted to the County on November 15, 2023. Cardinal Ridge would be on Eastern State land to the rear of current Eastern State hospital buildings. Access would be via Longhill Rd., Galt Drive and Foster Rd. 
 
The proposed plan would allow up to 946 residential dwellings, broken out as: 
  • Apartments = 396
  • Cottages = 78
  • Townhomes = 139
  • Single family = 333
In addition to the residential area, the rezoned land would include:
  • Colonial Behavioral Health site (10.9 acres)
  • Hope Family Village (35.4 acres)C
  • Commercial space – (19.6 acres), and
  • Public use site, possibly a middle school (25.5 acres).
D.R. Horton has proposed development in six phases starting with an area of apartments and cottages along Route 199. The commercial area is hoped to be “a grocer-anchored center” along Longhill Road. The submitted project description concludes:
 
“The applicant is proposing a large master-planned development that is consistent with the surrounding land use designations of the area and roadway corridors. The project will also provide additional Public Land for future County use, active and passive recreational amenities, substantial upgrades to the public utilities to serve the project, turn lane improvements to serve the development, a looped public street with a 60’ right-of-way, and multiple large BMP impoundments to provide stormwater management for the development and reduce downstream to control stormwater runoff before releasing it back into the downstream waterway.”
 
JCC Planning Department has completed its initial review of the documentation and is requiring resubmittals in several areas. Two traffic studies have been completed and changes to major thoroughfares are anticipated. 
 
 
Posted on April 1, 2024 6:55 AM by Mary Cheston
 
From his porch chaise, Chuck Stetler could peruse much of the comings and goings of the Elizabeth Davis Boulevard area, and was always ready with a quip or comment, especially if your car was parked wildly or your trash can was a little late being put away. Often, Chuck was one of the first people that new owners would meet. And with his trademark suspenders, who could forget him? The Stetlers helped to organize the first social gatherings in Charlotte Park as new neighbors moved in. In fact, to support the Tremba family who bought a home while their daughter played for the William & Mary women’s basketball team, Chuck (and David Burket) encouraged Charlotte Park residents to turn out for their games – a tradition that still continues today.
 
Sadly, Chuck passed away on February 29th, about 60 days after the death of his wife Susan. The Stetlers arrived in 2011, theirs was the second home built, as Charlotte Park’s single family homes were being developed. Thus, Chuck had a wealth of institutional knowledge about the NTRA. We fondly called him “Mr. Mayor” since all manner of issues were within his grasp. 
 
Chuck first volunteered for the NTRA’s Finance Committee. With an eye for return on investments, he championed a proposal to show the Developer Board how the NTRA’s replacement reserve funds could generate more money if invested in a CD ladder (See February 2016 Town Crier, page 5). As a reward for his insights, Chuck was nominated from the floor of the NTRA Annual Meeting and elected to the 2016 Residential Advisory Board (RAB). He served as Vice Chair and then RAB Chair from 2017 through the assumption of Homeowner control in mid-2020. He kept his sanity by following professional sports, watching the stock market, and grilling on his beloved Green Egg. “I am a man of few words. At least that’s what my wife, Susan tells me. I’m quiet because I listen to what our residents have to say.”
 
Chuck was elected to the NTRA Board of Directors in June 2020 and served as its first homeowner Association President until January 2021 when he resigned due to family health issues. 
 
Chuck considered his greatest New Town legacy to be the removal of the cobblestone rock circle at the intersection of Casey Boulevard and Settlers Market. Chuck pursued the removal of this hazard with James City County, getting the intervention of Supervisor Jim Icenhour and the Board of Supervisors so that the County would move ahead with removal while the Settlers Market bankruptcy and bond issues were tied up in court. As Chuck put it, those “jaw breaker rocks" had to go!  
 
Susan Stetler was also active in our Association serving on the Landscape Advisory Committee and its Chair from mid-2014 to 2019. The LAC oversaw the selection of a new landscape contractor (2018) and coverage for trail maintenance under her leadership. A talented artist, Susan loved to create whimsical paintings and share them with friends. To ensure that New Town residents were showing their Tribe spirit, she made green and gold scarfs for all the neighborhood women to wear at William & Mary basketball games.
 
New Town was a special place to the Stetlers, even as they relocated to a retirement facility. This quote that Chuck used in April 2020 at the start of Covid captures them both, "I think that when the dust settles, we will realize how very little we need, how much we actually have, and the true value of human connection." 
 
Chuck and Susan modeled how human connection can make a true difference. For those of us lucky enough to know them, their passing is a huge loss.
Posted on April 1, 2024 6:47 AM by John Marston
Categories: Life in New Town
 
The winter months brought with their chilling winds the loss of several neighbors, including Larry Salzman, a long-time New Town leader. Now as we enter Spring and begin to look forward, it is worthwhile to share some reflections. Most of us who have lived in New Town for more than a few years knew Larry as the “Developer” in his roles as President of the New Town Residential Developer Board, President of the New Town Commercial Association, and point person for New Town Associates.  I had the unique experience of interacting with Larry often in my years on the Residential Advisory Board (RAB) and as a member of the NTRA Developer Board before it was turned over to the homeowners, and more recently as a neighbor just a few houses up from Larry and Bonnie’s home.
 
Larry was a key player right from the start of New Town, when it was just a vision of a walkable community held by the consortium of the Casey family, William & Mary, James City County, New Town Associates, and others a quarter of a century ago. Anyone who has served in a leadership position knows that things never go perfectly smoothly or even as planned. Larry was in position to have responsibility for a complex interaction between Atlantic Homes (the main builder), New Town Management, the commercial side, VDOT, and James City County. No doubt there were some mistakes made and some strong disagreements at times between the developers and the homeowners. However, under his watch he established the RAB to give homeowners a voice during Developer control, which was not a requirement.
 
At times, when something went wrong, critics typically blamed the Developer. Sometimes it was the Developer’s misjudgment. But I know of more than one occasion when the real problem had to be placed at the door of the management company, the builder, and oh my, even the RAB. Despite some contentious episodes, Larry always held the vision of a friendly walking community. Behind the scenes he worked to better fulfill that vision for our evolving community.
 
Larry was a businessman and most of the time we only knew him in his more formal roles. However, he had a kind softness too. For example, I was often with him in those mysterious Board meetings called Closed Executive Sessions. Frequently, these meetings were about homeowners who were not following the declarations and time had come to impose sanctions and fines. Larry was always very sensitive to the reasons the person had gotten into the predicament. On one occasion, we had to insist Larry get with the rest of the Board to practice “tough love” because the violator had received multiple warnings and registered letters. Even when the history of violations was frustrating, it did not keep Larry from being sensitive toward homeowners.
 
Larry was consistently passionate about building a strong community and often mentioned moving here someday. In late 2020 he in fact became a neighbor. I remember his dog Kelly who often appearing in Zoom Board meetings during the Covid years. Those of us who have dogs got to know Larry in a different light when we would meet Larry walking sweet Kelly. We found Larry and Bonnie to be good neighbors and he will be missed. To honor Larry, we all should stay committed to the vision he championed, revitalize the flow of volunteers to the Association, and most of all be neighborly.
 
Larry Salzman pictured on left
(along with representatives of Town Management LLC and the New Town Commercial Association)
Posted on April 1, 2024 6:45 AM by Town Crier Staff
 
Recently, neighbors gathered to remember Doug Zoller, a retired school superintendent and resident since 2012 who was also an expert wood carver. In Doug's memory, a new bird feeder with memorial plaque has been installed in Elizabeth Davis park. Two inspirational poems were read and residents related stories about Doug's carvings, activities in New Town, and his love for birds. Multiple residents have volunteered to keep the feeder well stocked with seed over the next year.
 
Posted on April 1, 2024 6:42 AM by NTRA Emergency Preparedness Committee
 
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms.  By definition a tornado is a violently rotating column of air touching the ground, usually attached to the base of a thunderstorm. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. 
 
Here in Williamsburg, we occasionally hear about “tornado watches,” but less often about “tornado warnings.” You may ask, “What’s the difference?” The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a Tornado Watch when weather conditions in an area indicate an increased risk for severe weather that may be capable of producing a tornado. However, when the NWS issues a Tornado Warning, it does so when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. In this case, one should take shelter IMMEDIATELY.  Warning times vary in the range of 10 to 15 minutes.
 
The 6 warning signs that a tornado is approaching may include:                            
  • The color of the sky may change to a dark greenish color.
  • A strange quiet occurring within or shortly after a thunderstorm.
  • A loud roar that sounds similar to a freight train.                                                                    
  • An approaching cloud of debris, especially at ground level.
  • Debris falling from the sky.
  • A rotating funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm.
Note that if you find yourself outside when a tornado is approaching and there is no time to take shelter in a sturdy building, lie flat (in a ditch, trench, or other area of recessed ground, if possible) covering your head with your hands or other available material for protection.  
 
What are 4 survival tips for tornadoes?
  • If possible, avoid sheltering in any room with windows.  Go to an interior windowless room (even a closet or a bathroom) within your home or building.  Put as many walls between you and the exterior of your home or building as possible. Bathtubs are anchored directly into the ground; getting into a bathtub with a couch cushion over you gives you protection on all sides, as well as an extra anchor to the foundation.
  • For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench).
  • Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress.
  • Protect your head with anything available.
Here are 5 free/low-cost tornado preparation tips:
  • Identify/Prepare a tornado safe room in your home.
  • Know how to identify potential places to shelter when outside your home or office. 
  • Remove potential projectiles before tornado season.
  • Memorize the warning signs of a tornado and track the weather.
  • Stockpile tap water and canned goods for after the tornado.
Fun Fact:  Tornadoes have been documented in every U.S. state (not including the non-state territories of Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico) at least once since 1950, although some regions and states are hit by tornadoes far more than others.
Posted on April 1, 2024 6:40 AM by Town Crier Staff
 
Thanks for bringing some joy to area families!
 
Here are a few photos from the Giving Initiative's winter food drive in New Town. 23 bags of nonperishable food were collected in early March and delivered to Fish and the House of Mercy for distribution to those in need. Even more food was donated at yesterday's Easter egg hunt and through the Women's Lunch Club recent lunches. This drive was a very successful charitable effort and we appreciate the New Town community's support. 
 
   
Posted on April 1, 2024 6:38 AM by NTRA Activities Committee
 
The 2024 Easter Egg Hunt in Lydias Park was a smash success. See how our parents got into the spirit of the day! And yes, the Easter Bunny had a grand time - we even caught up with Bunny helping with the food drive donations. 
 
Many thanks to the volunteers of our NTRA Activities Committee for bringing the community together in such a FUN way. It was great to see so many neighbors out and about. 
 
To see all the day's photos or add some of your own, log into the new Easter Egg hunt photo album on the website. 
 
     
 
   
 
 
Posted on April 1, 2024 6:37 AM by New Town Commercial Association (NTCA)
 
Posted on March 1, 2024 7:00 AM by Eden Glenn
 
There are many reasons New Town is a special place to live.  What makes it special may vary from neighbor to neighbor, but most would agree, we are all fortunate to live here.  Feeling grateful is one reason the Women’s Monthly Lunch Group supports a Giving Back Initiative for the purpose of sharing some of our resources to benefit the greater Williamsburg community.  Last year the lunch group and others donated classroom supplies to the JCC/Williamsburg Teacher Supply Closet and winter coats to FISH and House of Mercy to distribute to those in need.
 
Now in 2024, the Giving Back Initiative is conducting a food drive during the months of February and March.  FISH and House of Mercy are both in urgent need of food items during this time of year when donations typically drop off. In the United States, over 44 million people, including 13 million children, at some point in the year don’t have enough to eat and don’t know where their next meal will come from.  Williamsburg is not immune from this problem. In 2023, FISH and House of Mercy provided, through their respective food pantries, the equivalent of over 400,000 meals.  Food insecurity is a growing problem in our community. FISH, for example, reported an 80% increase in food requests over the past year.
 
Please help us help others by bringing healthy, non-perishable food items to:
  • the NTRA meeting space located at 5118 Center Street between 11AM-1PM on either March 1st or 2nd,
or
  • bring your donation to the Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30 at 2PM at Lydias Park in Abbey Commons
Items most needed are canned soups, vegetables, fruits and protein (chicken, tuna), applesauce, dry spaghetti and canned sauce, boxed macaroni and cheese, cereals & oatmeal, rice, instant potatoes, and peanut butter and jelly (no glass jars please).
 
The Giving Back Initiative plans to donate school supplies to local teachers again this summer and collect 100 new winter coats for kids in 100 days later this fall. Thank you, New Town, for generously supporting these efforts.
Posted on March 1, 2024 6:50 AM by NTRA Activities Committee
 
 
 
Come join the Easter Bunny for an Easter egg hunt and games!
 
The New Town Residential Association Activities Committee will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt in Lydias Park (Abbey Commons - at corner of Lydias and Town Creek) on Saturday, March 30th, with a March 31st rain date.  The festivities begin at 2.00 PM.
 
The Easter Bunny will be there to join in the fun and provide a photo opportunity. There will be an egg hunt where the younger children (up to age 4) will go first and then will be joined by the older children (5 and up). Games and prizes will follow the egg hunts.  All New Town residents, families and friends are invited. Even if you do not have kids or grandkids, that’s ok, come join in the fun!
 
If you are interested, collection boxes will be available for your donations of non-perishable food items to help stock the food pantries at FISH and House of Mercy.
 
RSVP:  Please let us know if you plan to attend and the ages of your children. Email:  Susan Schlimme at  skschlimme@hotmail.com
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