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Contact Information:


Planning Division
101-A Mounts Bay Rd.
Williamsburg, VA 23185

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P: 757-253-6685
F: 757-253-6822




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8 a.m. - 5 p.m.



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Master Plan

What is a master plan?

Master plans graphically depict the schematic layout and other additional information (such as type of use, density, maximum square footages, etc.) for proposed future development on a specific parcel.  While most rezoning and special use permit applications include some form of master plan, the zoning ordinance requires a master plan for all proposals for rezoning property to Residential Planned Community (R-4), Planned Unit Development (PUD), or Mixed Use (MU), or to apply the residential cluster overlay.  Master plans help the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors visualize what proposed developments will ultimately look like when they’re completed.  Requirements for what must be included on a master plan are detailed in Section 24-484 (b) of the ordinance.  

When can I submit an application?

Applications must be submitted at least six weeks prior to a scheduled meeting in order to be placed on the Planning Commission agenda.  The Planning Commission usually meets on the first Wednesday of each month.  Please view the Planning calendar (provide link) for the most current meeting schedule.

How long will it take to process my application?

An application will take a minimum of 12 weeks to review, depending on the time of your submittal, the complexity of the proposal, and the Planning Commission meeting schedule.  Processing will take additional time if the Planning Commission and/or the Board of Supervisors defer action on your case or if there are outstanding items that need to be resolved.

What is the procedure?

Prior to the Planning Commission meeting, staff will review your application by making a site inspection and verifying the information on your application for compliance with County codes and ordinances. Staff will consider the impact of the proposed development on surrounding land uses and public welfare. Staff will also consider the master plan’s compatibility with the County's Comprehensive Plan (provide link to Comp Plan). Additional County and State agencies will review and comment on your proposal. Based on these comments, some changes may need to be made on the development proposal.  When all comments are received and addressed by the applicant, staff will incorporate them into a report for the Planning Commission. You will receive a copy of the staff report in advance of the Planning Commission meeting.

Additionally, a sign will be placed on the property indicating that an application has been filed.  This sign will be posted two weeks before the Planning Commission public hearing.  An advertisement for a public hearing will be run in a local newspaper both two weeks and one week before the Planning Commission public hearing. Also, written notice will be sent to all adjacent property owners at least one week prior to the Planning Commission public hearing. 

At the Planning Commission meeting, staff will present your request to the Commission and give their recommendation. After staff's presentation, you or your representative will have an opportunity to speak for 15 minutes. Then the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing where any citizen can speak about the application.  Representatives of groups may speak for 15 minutes and individuals may speak for five minutes. After the public hearing is closed, the Commission will discuss the application and make their determination. The Planning Commission will recommend approval, denial, or defer your request, and identify issues you should address before going to the Board of Supervisors. After the Planning Commission meeting, Planning staff will notify you in writing of the Planning Commission's decision. 

Finally, your request will then be scheduled for a Board of Supervisors meeting. The staff report may be changed to address any questions raised by the Planning Commission. The Board of Supervisors will hold a meeting very similar to the Planning Commission meeting.  After the public hearing closes, the Board will discuss the application and vote to approve, deny, or defer your request. If your application is approved, staff will notify you in writing of the Board of Supervisors' decision and send you a copy of the resolution. Additionally, for a rezoning, the County Attorney will record your proffers with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. If your application is denied, you will receive a letter, but there will not be a resolution.

If my application is denied, can I appeal the Board of Supervisors’ decision?

Yes. You can appeal the Board of Supervisors' decision to the Circuit Court. Call the Clerk of the Circuit Court at 757-564-2242 for information.

If my application is denied, can I try again at a later time?

If the Board of Supervisors denies your request, you may not resubmit the application for one year unless the application contains significant differences.

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