City Council passes Williamsburg Tourism Zone, Among First Priority for Benny Zhang

October 31, 2016

Williamsburg, VA - Today, the Williamsburg City Council unanimously approved the creation of the Williamsburg Tourism Zone (Ordinance #16-19). The Williamsburg Tourism Zone comes as a part of a series of zoning changes: along with the creation of a zoning designation (Ordinance #16-008), rezoning approximately 76 acres of property (Ordinance #16-010) and an infusion of public investment in infrastructure.

The passage of the Williamsburg Tourism Zone was a key plank of Benny Zhang’s campaign platform. Zhang said, “I am thrilled that the Williamsburg Tourism Zone will be incorporated as part of a major redevelopment plan to provide tax incentives along with public capital on ‘complete street’ improvements to spur private investment. I am grateful to have contributed my own research on tourism zones in other localities to help make this initiative a reality.”

Tourism zones are a state tool that empower localities to provide tax incentives. The Williamsburg Tourism Zone refunds a portion of future new tax incentive revenue to help new businesses grow or for existing businesses to expand. It plays an equitable, major role with City efforts to revitalize the “Northeast Triangle” planning area, which has been a stated policy objective from the Goals, Initiative, and Outcomes (GIOs) process from past and current City Councils.

“I am excited for the long term positive impact this will have, and look forward to its evaluation report in six months. City staff deserves much praise for their creativity and comprehensive approach toward developing the Williamsburg Tourism Zone. This unanimous vote indicates city council willingness to move forward on this initiative together and is a step in the right direction for the city.”

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News Coverage:

Wydaily: City rezones Northeast Triangle into ‘culinary arts’ and tourism district