News in 5: Spotswood developer halts controversial rezoning request

Frye Properties Inc. – the Norfolk-based developer looking to build more than 160 luxury homes on the former Spotswood golf course owned by Colonial Williamsburg – has withdrawn its rezoning application, for now.

Good morning!

Summer-like weather will really start to set in this week, according to Meteorologist April Loveland of WTKR News 3.

High temperatures will be in the low to mid-80s every day through Sunday, and humidity levels are also on the rise. The dew point is expected to get up to around 70 on Monday – which is widely considered to be within the “unpleasant” range.

There’s a chance of rain or thunderstorms Friday afternoon or evening. The rest of the weekend, including Father’s Day, is expected to be mostly sunny and dry.

Now to the news.


1. The Spotswood golf course development proposal has been put on hold.

  • Frye Properties Inc. – the Norfolk-based developer looking to build more than 160 luxury homes on the former Spotswood golf course owned by Colonial Williamsburg – has withdrawn its rezoning application, for now.
    • According to Rock Bell, Frye’s vice president for development, the company “has decided, in consultation with Colonial Williamsburg, to temporarily withdraw the Spotswood rezoning application while we take time to re-envision our master plan.” Bell added that Frye is considering “valuable feedback from the community” regarding concerns about density, traffic and other issues. 
  • The developer has also pulled back a request for the City’s approval of its Spotswood Pattern Book, a 62-page document that lays out the styles, patterns and materials that would be used in the development, according to The Virginia Gazette.
  • In a letter sent to the City of Williamsburg, an attorney for Frye said the developers “look forward to bringing back a revised proposal” – indicating a new plan may be submitted in the future.
  • Some background: Colonial Williamsburg sold the nine-hole Spotswood golf course to Frye Properties in December of last year, but the proposed housing development cannot move forward unless the developer’s rezoning request is approved by the City. The 39.54-acre site is currently only zoned for single-family homes, and no more than 86 homes are allowed to be built on the property under the current capacity restrictions.
  • Dozens of local residents have spoken out against Frye’s proposal at packed meetings in recent months, citing concerns about everything from traffic to population density to pollution.
  • Signs popped up on the lawns of residents’ homes, urging City Council to vote against the Spotswood rezoning proposal. The signs were provided by Citizens for Responsible Spotswood Development, a local grassroots organization that opposes the project. According to the group, the City has requested that residents “remove [the] signs in accordance with local law” until the proposal is filed again. 
A Williamsburg resident displays a yard sign in protest of a rezoning proposal submitted by Fryer Properties Inc. (Photo by The Triangle)

2. Copperhead snake sightings in Virginia are reaching record highs.

  • Reports of copperhead snake sightings are on the rise throughout Virginia. According to WAVY News, 2023 has been the worst year ever for copperhead snake sightings in the central part of the state. 
  • Virginia Wildlife Management and Control owner Rich Perry told WSLS 10 News that the company’s statewide 24-hour snake identification hotline is receiving “probably 40 or 50, maybe 100” phone calls per week and “anywhere between 250 and 300 text messages a day” reporting copperhead sightings or encounters.
  • What to know: Copperheads are venomous snakes that can be found throughout Virginia, including Hampton Roads. They’re drawn to warm, humid weather and are bound to be active at this time of year. Copperheads aren’t normally aggressive and usually only bite if they feel threatened. While their bites are rarely fatal to humans, they are notoriously painful and require immediate medical attention.
    • “Typically when people get bit, they’re bit purely by accident,” said Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources herpetologist John Kleopfer.
  • To reduce the risk of being bitten, experts say you should keep the grass around your home cut low and clear away piles of rocks or leaves, as snakes often try to hide in those areas. If you do spot a copperhead, it’s best to leave it alone or call a professional to relocate it. Experts warn against trying to kill the snake because that will increase your risk of being bitten.

3. Colonial National Historical Park is holding a public meeting to discuss a major upcoming project.

  • The public is invited to attend a meeting about a large-scale rehabilitation project planned for the Colonial Parkway in Colonial National Historical Park. 
  • $123 million in funding will be provided for the project by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Legacy Restoration fund – a landmark federal conservation law enacted in 2020. Repairs from Milepost (MP) 0.17 to MP 1.61 and from MP 6.02 to MP 14.88 are scheduled to begin in August 2023 and will last three years.
    • Superintendent Jerri Marr said that park visitors and local community “will benefit from a safer scenic parkway for years to come” as a result of the project. She also noted that Colonial NHP will make efforts to “reduce driver inconveniences” amid the repairs.
  • The upcoming work will include making improvements to about 10 miles of the parkway and 11 bridges. Original historic materials will be preserved when possible or replicated where they’re replaced, according to the National Park Service.
  • To learn more: The public meeting about the project will be held on Thursday, June 22, 2023, from 6-8 p.m. at the Quarterpath Recreation Center (Multi-Purpose Room 2) located at 202 Quarterpath Road in Williamsburg. The meeting will feature an open house format with brief presentations at 6:30 and 7:15 p.m. 
Colonial National Historical Park (Photo courtesy of James City County)

4. Williamsburg is considering creating its own school district. 

  • The City of Williamsburg is looking into the possibility of breaking away from James City County and establishing its own separate, independent school district.
  • Some context: Since the mid-1950s, Williamsburg and James City County have run a combined school division. But according to City Manager Andrew Trivette, recent feedback has suggested that residents would like to see that change.
  • The City Council voted unanimously on June 8 to launch a feasibility study to explore the possibility of running an independent school division.
    • “The Williamsburg City Council is committed to being prudent fiscal stewards while guaranteeing best outcomes. We apply that same standard to our school system,” Mayor Douglas G. Pons said. “A feasibility study is the start of a process to evaluate the best possible educational opportunities for Williamsburg students.”
  • The feasibility study will be led by a third-party consultant. William & Mary’s School of Education has formally been invited to participate. The study will run through the fall of 2023, and there will be multiple opportunities for public input. No changes will be implemented before the 2025-2026 school year, at the soonest, according to the City.

5. A new teen room has opened at James City County Library.

  • Williamsburg Regional Library has launched a new teen room – featuring a variety of programs that will take place throughout the summer – at James City County Library.
  • The cool new room features fun tech funded by the Friends of WRL Foundation, including a virtual whiteboard, Nintendo Switches and an arcade table. There’s also a new collaborative workspace, a magnetic poetry wall, board games and crafts, and comfortable seating for studying. The library’s Young Adult book section has also been relocated so that it can be accessed more easily from the teen room.
    • “We just recently opened the space and teens are already using it to connect, play, study, and have a place they can call their own in the library,” said Williamsburg Regional Library Director Betsy Fowler. “This is how our youngest library visitors transition into being lifelong readers and library users.” 
  • The teen room is open during library hours to teens ages 13+. It will house a variety of special programs all summer long, such as Teen Night Out, crafts, a video game tournament, anime films and more. To stay up-to-date on upcoming events for teens happening at WRL, visit

James City County Library has opened a new teen room. (Photo courtesy of Williamsburg Regional Library)

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