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  • psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813
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Hinckley lawyer wants to quit after 20 years

imageBarry Levine , The lawyer who has spent almost two decades representing John Hinckley Jr. is quitting after Hinckley’s family said it would no longer pay the legal bills for his quest to spend more time at his mother’s Kingsmill home in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Levine submitted a motion Friday afternoon seeking to end his participation in the case, along with that of other lawyers at his D.C.-based firm, Dickstein Shapiro.

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Breaking News- Williamsburg City to allow Four persons in rental homes

From the Flat Hat: The Williamsburg VA City Council has approved a resolution at its Dec. 10 meeting that will allow landlords to submit their properties for permits that would expand the residential occupancy limit to four unrelated individuals.

The resolution, which was prepared outside of council by Vice Mayor Clyde Haulman, was approved by a 3-2 margin, with Judy Knudson and Bobby Braxton voting against.

Under the amended ordinance, properties within the city’s four rental inspection districts that exceed 2000 square feet would, under administrative approval, be eligible to allow up to four unrelated tenants. The properties would have to meet the approval of the city’s zoning administrator.

“I do this because, in essence, the three person rule remains in effect. What this does is allow certain exceptions when [criteria] are met.” Haulman said, “I also do this because there has been an effort by the College and the students … to engage in the process.”

What are those gates on I64 ?

hurricane_gate interstate 64 Question: Can you tell me what the gates are for on interstate 64 at the exit ramps ?

Since almost all of the clients I work with ask this question I figured I would post the answer. If you have lived in Williamsburg or Hampton Roads Va for a while then you most likely know that the  gates on the on and off ramps to the interstate are  used for Hurricane evacuation.

In the event of a hurricane or other disaster, the governor can order an interstate lane reversal to help evacuate Hampton Roads.
Should this occur, all lanes on I-64 will carry westbound traffic.

If a hurricane is due to hit the gates are dropped making  all lanes will be out bound from towards  Richmond VA only…so that means both the east and west bound lanes will travel only west.

Where Are the Gates?

Gates are located on the eastbound ramps along Interstate 64 from exit 273 east of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel to exit 200 at Interstate 295 in Richmond for use as part of the I-64 lane reversal, if the governor should call one.

Why Are There Gates at Each End of the Ramp?
Gates are on either side of each ramp to make sure the ramps are completely inaccessible when closed. This prevents motorists from driving on shoulders to go around gates.

If the Gates Are Down, How Do I Exit the Interstate?
There will be only two exits for reversed traffic before I-295:

  • Exit 234 in Williamsburg (where services include gas, food, lodging and a hospital)
  • Exit 205 at Bottoms Bridge (where services include gas and food)

hurricane_lane_reversal interstate 64Motorists exiting the reversed lanes cannot re-enter the reversed lanes. Once a motorist exits the reversed lanes, they can re-enter I-64 using the normal I-64 westbound ramps.
A temporary comfort station will be located on I-64 at Jefferson Avenue (mile marker 255) to provide restrooms and water.

Motorists cannot exit I-64 at Jefferson Avenue. Farther west, New Kent County safety rest areas will be open.
What Happens at the Interstate 295 Interchange?

  • The I-64 reversal ends at the I-295 interchange east of Richmond.
  • Motorists on I-64 west lanes must take Exit 200 and travel on I-295 north toward Fredericksburg and Northern Virginia or I-295 south toward Petersburg.
  • Motorists on I-64 reversed lanes (normally eastbound) will cross over to I-64 west lanes and continue west toward the I-95 interchange. See Exit 200 map for more information.

This link will explain more


Hurricane Evacuation Guide For Hampton Roads VA

Hurricane Evacuation Guide
Preparing for a hurricane
What is a hurricane?
Storm surge and evacuation
Bridge, tunnel and ferry closures
Interstate 64 lane reversal
Hurricane gates on I-64
Disaster supplies
More info
Order a hurricane guide

Calling all Williamsburg Business Owners

Ever participated in a “Meetup?” Mr Williamsburg and The Liz Moore eTEAM has launched its latest marketing initiative – The Williamsburg-Peninsula Internet Marketing Group!

img_invite11-4 What is it? A group of local business owners who will gather (physically) on a monthly basis to learn, collaborate, share ideas and generally network with a theme of building their online presence.

This will not be your  average networking meet-up. There’s no guise of self-promotion. We’re focused on sharing valuable knowledge among local business owners.

The group will also gather “virtually” at the meetup website, just visit http://www.meetup.com/Williamsburg-Peninsula-Internet-Marketing-Group/  to check us out!

Our first meeting will be Wednesday, November 4th, from 4-5 at the Liz Moore building in Williamsburg ( Across from the Green Leafe) for wine and cheese and our organizational meeting. It’s free, so come and join us – sign up by visiting the link above.

Williamsburg ,Newport News and VA Beach Virginia named Great Places and Streets

Duke of Gloucester Street, Hilton Village in Newport News and The Boardwalk in Virginia Beach have each been named Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Places of America by The American Planning Association

Each was one of only 10 selected in 2009

The American Planning Association (APA) has announced that Duke of Gloucester Street has been designated one of 10 Great Streets for 2009 by APA’s Great Places in America program.   There will be a ceremony to mark the achievement Saturday, October 31 at 9am on Duke of Gloucester Street.
APA singled out Duke of Gloucester Street for its unique ability to evoke the past at the same time it maintains a lively mix of modern-day uses. Early visionaries, with the financial backing of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., transformed Duke of Gloucester from a vehicle-dominated U.S. Highway to a pedestrian street that recreates the Williamsburg of 200 years ago. While it is a living history museum, Duke of Gloucester is also a vibrant community street for residents and the College of William and Mary. 

"We’re very excited to single out Duke of Gloucester as one of this year’s Great Streets," said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. "While many people think of Duke of Gloucester as just part of a historic district, it actually serves present-day needs with Merchants Square. There aren’t very many streets in America like this, and we commend city leaders and citizens for their thoughtful and grand vision to revert this once-U.S. highway into a living museum," he added.
Located at the center of Williamsburg, founded in 1699, Duke of Gloucester Street is home to restored and reconstructed houses, shops, religious and governmental buildings erected in their original locations during the 18th century, as well as the modern day shopping district known as Merchants Square. Flanked by the reconstructed Capitol Building to the east and the College of William and Mary’s historic campus to the west, the street has been visited by historical figures both early and late including former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
Working with historic preservation advocate the Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, Rockefeller began acquiring privately owned properties along the street in 1926. The purchases, along with the support and backing of the town, eventually led to reconstruction of more than 80 buildings along the mile-long street based upon archaeological investigations and historic records.
In addition to Rockefeller’s major investment, Duke of Gloucester Street has been shaped by six comprehensive plans and related measures dating to 1953. Outcomes of these plans included closing the street to motor vehicle traffic beginning in 1969 and requiring review of new buildings and building alterations by the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals and Architectural Review Board. Other steps involved locating parking on the interior blocks of Merchants Square so cars would not detract from the colonial views and atmosphere recreated along the street.

Hilton Village in Newport News was the first of some 100 federally financed housing projects during World War I.  Historic Hilton Village today remains much as it did when it was first planned and built in 1918-19. On the east bank of the James River about three miles north of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., the village is patterned after principles and designs of the late-19th century Garden City movement begun in the United Kingdom by Sir Ebenezer Howard. The city established a historic overlay district for the village in 1969, the same year the neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The village is compact with amenities and commercial areas within easy walking or bicycling distance of the homes, which are mostly in the Jacobethan, Dutch Colonial, and Georgian Colonial architectural styles. A streetcar originally transported workers between the neighborhood and the shipyards.  

VA Beach Boardwalk was originally from wooden planks during the nation’s Gilded Age, the five-block promenade attracted thousands of Victorian vacationers. Today, more than 2.2 million people visit the three-mile-long concrete boardwalk each year and it is an integral part of the City of Virginia Beach’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism. As such, the boardwalk has been the focus of numerous improvement and planning efforts, the most recent of which explores extending a light rail line from Norfolk to the boardwalk.

The boardwalk extends 40 city blocks between Rudee Inlet to the south and 40th Street to the north.

Popular among residents and tourists alike, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk offers an abundance of cultural, recreational and historical events and activities. From its de rigueur amusement park and fishing pier to the Naval Aviation Monument, the boardwalk presents an unparalleled range of sights, sounds and diversions.

Since its construction in 1888, the boardwalk has been a community treasure. Reminders of the boardwalk’s historic past are the 1895 deWitt Cottage — the oldest beach house along the city’s oceanfront — and the 1903 Coast Guard Station, which stands on site of the waterfront’s original 1870s Seatack Life Saving Station.

APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement

For more information about these areas and , as well as lists of the 2009 APA 10 Great Neighborhoods, Streets and 10 Great Public Spaces, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.

James City County Harvest Festival featuring the Haunted Forest

hauntedforestOur family has attended  The Haunted Forest for many years. While overshadowed by Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens this volunteer effort hosted by James City County has always been great fun for our kids ( and the adults ! ).
It has moved this year to Chickahominy Riverfront Park from  it’s previous venue at Upper County Park.  The date for the event is Saturday, October 17, 2009 from 2-8pm.

James City County has combined The Haunted Forest with the Fall Harvest Festival this year . It will feature  local bluegrass and folk music, a DJ and entertainment,  crafts,  agriculture and fair foods, rides, art and craft vendors, a Farmer‟s Market, fall food favorites and more!
Begin the afternoon by making the biggest, the best, and maybe the only scarecrow in your neighborhood. Stuff „em, paint „em, name „em, and take „em home! Make this a family activity and create a scarecrow together.
Stay for the Haunted Forest if you dare to venture out after dark and experience the journey for the fun, for the fright, for the things that go bump in the night!
Children 6 and younger, along with their parents, will especially enjoy Goblinville with its moonwalks and a pumpkin patch hayride traveling through a maze of pumpkin faces and Nursery Rhyme Characters. In the Fall Fest Family Area you‟ll also enjoy the costume contest, pumpkin bowling, arts and crafts and games. Don‟t forget your camera!

Info: www.jccEgov.com/recreation  or 259-3200.
  Journey through the forest: $1/person. (Wear a costume and take the journey for half-price!) Parking $3 a car.

Scarecrow Stuffing, 2-6pm, $17/scarecrow, , first come, first served while supplies last!

If it’s a warm day you may want to rent a canoe, kayak or jon boat and do some exploring or fishing on the scenic Chickahominy River.


If approaching from Hampton Roads, follow Interstate 64W to Exit 242A. This will be Route 199 towards Jamestown. Follow 199 to the Monticello Ave exit. Turn left onto Monticello Ave and head straight for 8 miles. Monticello Ave will turn into John Tyler Hwy or Rt 5, the Park is the last driveway on the right before the bridge over to Charles City County.

If approaching from Richmond, follow Interstate 64E to Exit 234.This will be Route 199 towards Williamsburg. Follow 199 to the Monticello Ave exit. Turn right onto Monticello Ave and go straight for 8 miles. Monticello Ave will turn into John Tyler Hwy or Rt 5, the Park is the last driveway on the right before the bridge over to Charles City County

Map of Chickahominy Riverfront Park

View Williamsburg VA Neighborhoods in a larger map

Another Huge Developer Foreclosure in Williamsburg, VA

UPDATE- January /2009

The foreclosure was postponed in late September, however. At the time, substitute trustee Peter Zemanian postponed the scheduled sale “to facilitate discussions that are ongoing among the lender and property owner

With negotiations over, the auction has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 5 at the Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse.
The owner is in default of a $55 million loan and owes at least $68,823 in back taxes on the four properties that make up the tract, according to documents provided by Zemanian.
A $100,000 deposit is required to bid on the land.

Terms of the foreclosure sale require the buyer to honor the terms of those businesses’ leases. The land itself is in foreclosure, not the individual businesses operating within the shopping center.


Will Settlers Market in New Town become the next Marquis debacle ?

According to a notice in a local newspaper there is a foreclosure sale scheduled for the land and property currently owned by AIG Baker Williamsburg LLC. The sale will not affect the operation of Trader Joes , Bakers Trust or BB& T Bank . Nor will it have an effect on the leases already signed by Michaels Arts and Crafts which haven’t yet started construction. It had been rumored that Home Goods and Steinmart had signed leases in Settlers Market. No mention of those stores either.

Plans for the Wal Mart Neighborhood Market, an upscale boutique market seem to be up in the air. A chief plan examiner for the James City County Codes Compliance office, said Friday that while Wal-Mart had applied for a building permit the company had not followed through to actually obtain it.

Wal-Mart originally applied for the building permit for the proposed 40,000-square-foot store in February 2008. If built as planned it would be more than three times the size of Trader Joe’s.  It seems that Wal Mart was released from the deed of trust.

settlersmarketwiliamsburgva Settler’s Market was designed as a  mixed use center with a proposed 350,000 square feet of retail and office along with 210 residential ( Condos) flats and townhouses. So far the only businesses to open have been Trader Joes, BB&T Bank and Bakers Crust restaurant.

The center is located at the northeast intersection of Highway 199 and Monticello Avenue within the New Town Master Plan Development corridor, there are connecting roads and walking trails into New Town.

The property in questions as a combined assessed value of approximately $16 million dollars and is about 42 acres in total area.

The lender on a nearly $55.5 million note has declared the loan in default. The appointed trustee for the lender indicated the loan balance is far below the $55.5 million on the original note.

Five properties currently leased at Settler’s Market are specifically mentioned in a trustee’s sale legal notice as being obligations any successful buyer must honor. They include three already open businesses: Baker’s Crust, a popular southside chain that opened in May; Trader Joe’s and BB&T Bank. Also with signed and protected leases are Cingular Wireless and Michael’s Arts and Crafts, which have not opened.

The property  includes several shell buildings that appear on the verge of occupancy, there is little else at the development. A paved road, complete with decorative street lights and curbs, bends through acres of cleared property. An on-site sales office sits idle for the proposed condo units . This office was closed months ago.

It’s interesting to note that the developer  AIG Baker in their sales brochure was touting a projected  increase in population in James City County of  94% by 2025.

The developer behind Birmingham-based AIG Baker has indicated that the  company’s fortunes are not tied to teetering insurance giant American International Group Inc.

AIG Baker is not a subsidiary of New York-based AIG, though the insurer’s global real estate division is a longtime investor in AIG Baker.

The Federal Reserve has orchestrated what amounts to an $85 billion takeover of AIG to prevent the world’s largest insurer from a bankruptcy filing that could have disrupted global financial markets.

AIG formed a joint venture with then-AB Shopping Center Properties Inc. in 1993. AIG has provided some financing on the front end of projects according to company representatives. The company has projects under way in Alabama New Jersey, Virginia and Texas.

Unless a workout is accomplished with the current lender the sale is scheduled to occur on Monday October 5, 2009 at the Williamsburg and James City County Circuit Court Building.

Stay tuned for further updates

,image Map of Settlers Market, Williamsburg VA












 View Settlers Market in a larger map



5395 This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf.  John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market.  His websites, www.WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and   www.MrWilliamsburg.com, were created as a comprehensive resource about living in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, with the hopes of selling a house now and again.  You can reach him at 757.254.8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com.