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The City of Williamsburg’s Comprehensive Plan (sometimes referred to as the Comp Plan) is the City’s adopted policy guide for land use and contains the following:
The 2021 Comprehensive Plan update will be the city’s eighth since its first adoption in 1953.
You can view the adopted Comprehensive Plan and its sections on the 2013 Comprehensive Plan page.
The update process is as follows:
Visit Williamsburg is a comprehensive website with information on:
Please visit the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission page for grant information and forms.
Contact 911 for Police and Fire emergencies.
Contact 757-220-2331 for Water and Sewer emergencies and for Police non-emergencies.
For other non-emergency information and requests, use our staff directory to email or leave a phone message to the appropriate person or department.
A drop box for payments is available at the main entrance to the Municipal Building to the left of the door.
The Williamsburg mailing address contains 3 localities: Williamsburg City Limits, James City County and York County.
Check the Williamsburg Street Listing page to determine if you reside in the City. If there are questions regarding the crossings of James City County, York County, and the City of Williamsburg, please contact one of our departments and we will assist you in determining your locality.
The Clerk of Circuit Court Office, who can be reached at 757-564-2242, is responsible for issuing marriage licenses. The office is located at:Williamsburg-James City Courthouse5201 Monticello AvenueSuite 6Williamsburg, VA 23188
Check out the directions page.
Information and forms may be found on the Community Building page.
The City’s business hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
City offices will be closed for the following holidays:
Building permits are required for most construction activities. Uniform Statewide Building Code Section 108 requires a permit to be issued by the building official when:
Ordinary repairs and exceptions are:
When a permit is required, it must be obtained before work begins. Only in emergency situations will work be allowed to start before obtaining a permit. These situations would include needs for emergency heat, hot water, or replacement safety glass. Permits, notifications, and inspections must be obtained the next working day.
You do not need a permit for ordinary repairs and specific exceptions to the code.
Once a plan is submitted, the zoning administrator must review and approve the plan before the building official reviews the plan. Once the building official approves the plan, a permit is issued if other requirements are met. In addition to the building division review, many projects require review by Planning, Public Works an Utilities and the Fire Department. Plan reviews ensure project can be built within code requirements which cut down on field inspection delays costing time and money.
The Planning Division will review all building permits for new work, additions, change of use, and remodeling. This department will check for compliance with the city zoning ordinance, review erosion and sedimentation control plans, ensure compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, Architectural Review Board, and review other state and local land-se laws. Contact Planning at 757-220-6130.
The Public Works and Utilities Department reviews storm drainage, street, road, and utility construction. They also assist the Planning Department in evaluating environmental and traffic impacts. This department is responsible for inspections of utilities placed in any city right of way. Contact Public Works at (757) 220-6140.
The Fire Department reviews plans with the building official for fire alarms, commercial kitchen range hoods, and sprinkler systems. The Fire Department does not issue building permits. Plans should be submitted to the Codes Compliance, who will forward them to the Fire Department for review. Contact the Fire Department at 757-220- 6220 or 757-220-6226.
In certain areas of the city, approvals may be required from the Architectural Review Board. Certain projects may require approval by the Planning Commission and City Council before the building permit process begins. For information on required Planning Commission or the Architectural Review Board requirements, contact the Planning Department at 757-220-6130.
The larger the project and the greater the impact, the more reviews, and approvals are required. Planning ahead for large projects is best and saves time. Approvals by departments and boards, and an approved site plan, if applicable, are required before issuance of building permits.
As part of the non-residential site and building review, the building official will check for compliance with the applicable provisions, as adopted in the Uniform Statewide Building Code and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Portions of ADA were adopted into the building code in 1992. The standard was adopted to ensure accessibility to persons with physical disabilities to any building.
This code has retrofit provisions in existing facilities and requires documentation at the time of permit application. A copy of renovation/addition compliance worksheet is available in the Codes Compliance Office.
When demolishing or renovating a non-residential building, there are requirements to document proper asbestos inspection and removal. Ask the Codes Compliance Division for a copy of the law to see if it applies to you.
Local and Hampton Roads utility connection fees must be paid before obtaining permits. Standard fees may be obtained and are paid through the Codes Compliance Division.
As a part of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (or USBC), criteria were established for building permits. In addition to permits for new construction, there are permits for:
Code Section 109 deals with permit applications and building permits. USBC Section 110.7 states, "The approved permit shall be a license to proceed with the work in accordance with the USBC, the application for permit and any approved amendments thereto. The approved permit shall not be construed as authority to omit or amend any of the provisions of the USBC, except when modification is granted in accordance with this chapter.
Contact 757-220-2331 for Water and Sewer emergencies and for Police non-emergencies. For other non-emergency information and requests, use our staff directory to email or leave a phone message to the appropriate person or department. A drop box for payments is available at the main entrance to the Municipal Building to the left of the door. The Municipal Building is located at:401 Lafayette StreetWilliamsburg, VA, 23185-3617
The City’s business hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. City offices will be closed for the following holidays:
The Williamsburg mailing address contains 3 localities:
Check the Williamsburg Street Listing (PDF) to determine if you reside in the City. If there are questions regarding the crossings of James City County, York County, and the City of Williamsburg, please contact one of our departments and we will assist you in determining your locality.
"Visit Williamsburg" is a comprehensive website with information on area:
Determine if you live within the City limits with our street listing (PDF). A Williamsburg mailing address does not necessarily mean the business is within the City limits. Fill out the appropriate applications and contact the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office for additional information at 757-220-6150.
First, determine which phase of the vaccination distribution system you fall under by answering questions on the Virginia Department of Health website. Each health district in Virginia is moving at its own pace. The Peninsula Health District encompasses the City of Williamsburg, James City County, York County, City of Hampton, the City of Newport News and the City of Poquoson. The Virginia Department of Health and your local jurisdictions will announce when the Peninsula Health District moves into a new phase.
The Virginia Department of Health will reach out to those who are pre-registered on the statewide system when it is their turn to be vaccinated. Pre-register now at vaccinate.virginia.gov. For those who may need to talk to someone for help filling out the pre-registration form, call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).
Gov. Ralph Northam announced that all Virginians will be eligible for the vaccine starting April 18.
To find vaccination appointments at pharmacies in your area or around the state, visit vaccinefinder.org. Vaccines are being offered at several pharmacy chains and local pharmacies.
Virginia Health Department
The Virginia Department of Health’s Peninsula Health District, which encompasses the City of Williamsburg, James City County, York County, the City of Hampton, the City of Newport News, and the City of Poquoson — is in Phase 1C of the Virginia Department of Health’s phased distribution system.
VDH has launched a statewide pre-registration system. This form simply records people’s contact information; it does not schedule an appointment for you. Peninsula Health District staff will contact those who have filled out the form to schedule a vaccination appointment.
The six localities on the Peninsula — the City of Williamsburg, James City County, York County, the City of Newport News, the City of Hampton, and the City of Poquoson — have worked together to open vaccination clinics in the region. In the Greater Williamsburg area, a clinic has been set up in the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, 101 Visitor Center Drive. a clinic has been When VDH contacts you to schedule an appointment, it will be at the location nearest your locality.
Some health systems, such as Riverside and Sentara, are offering vaccines to some of their primary care patients. They are contacting patients directly.
The Virginia Department of Health launched a pre-registration system that it will use to contact people when it’s their turn to be vaccinated. If you need help pre-registering or have general questions, you can call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).
You can find information about COVID-19, the vaccines, and other resources on the Virginia Department of Health website. You can also call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).
To contact the Peninsula Health District offices directly, visit vdh.virginia.gov/peninsula or call 757-594-7300 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). To call the COVID-19 Call Center, dial 757-594-7069 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center, call 757-594-7496 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Direct any medical questions to these channels or to your family doctor.
For those who received vaccinations through their employer at the Greater Williamsburg Clinic:
After your first dose of the vaccination, you should have received a vaccination card that indicates "no earlier than" date for when you should receive your second dose. You will receive an email the week of that "no earlier than" date with a link to schedule your second appointment that week. If you do not receive an email that week, call our vaccine information line at 877-724-1954.
For those who received vaccinations through their healthcare provider or a pharmacy:
Your second dose will be coordinated through your healthcare provider or the pharmacy.
Vaccinations are available to anyone free of charge regardless of health insurance.
Vaccination clinics will provide whichever manufacture of the vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson's Janssen) they are able to procure. You can ask clinics which vaccine they are offering, but they cannot accommodate requests. For the manufactures that require two doses, your second dose should be the same manufacture as your first .
Read about the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccines on the CDC website.
The City of Williamsburg and James City County have worked together to open a vaccination clinic at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, located at 101 Visitor Center Drive.
Vaccinations at this clinic are by appointment only; walk-ins are not permitted.
No. This site is for vaccinations only.
The Greater Williamsburg Clinic is not allowing walk-in vaccination appointments. Appointments will be coordinated through the Virginia Department of Health, which is scheduling people who have pre-registered at vaccinate.virginia.gov.
For appointments coordinated by the Virginia Department of Health, you will be assigned a clinic based on your location. All appointments at the Greater Williamsburg Clinic are coordinated by VDH.
We estimate that the entire process takes about 30 minutes.
The clinic at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center is following federal and state health guidelines.
When you arrive at the Visitor Center parking lot, you will see signage that leads you to the entrance. Please stay in your car until 5 minutes before your appointment time. Staff will guide you through the process once you arrive in the building, including any questions you may have about the vaccine itself. After you receive the vaccine, there will be a 15-minute observation period to monitor for any adverse reactions.
Only children/minors or those assisting someone with a handicap or other special needs are allowed to accompany someone scheduled for vaccination at the Visitor Center. All others should remain outside or in their vehicles for the duration of the appointment.
Vaccines will be administered by Licensed Registered Nurses and EMS providers who are certified as EMT-Intermediates or Paramedics. Each provider is trained in medication administration and have had specific training on the COVID-19 vaccine being administered.
Three COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen — have been authorized in the United States. Read about the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccines on the CDC website.
Elevators need an inspection for several reasons. The primary reason is to ensure their safety for use. The Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) and Virginia law require elevator testing and inspecting at least once a year. The integrity of an elevator and the elevator shaft are critical elements in the fire safety of a building and can affect the fire fighting techniques of the Fire Department.
The Building Code (Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) - 2012 Virginia Maintenance Code) applies to the buildings’ maintenance. This code sets minimum standards in which all buildings must meet. However, the standards may vary depending on the installation date of the elevator. Elevators installed after September 1973 must comply with the code in effect at installation. Elevators installed before September 1973 must comply with the minimum safety standards of the USBC-2012 Virginia Maintenance Code. All elevators must receive an inspection if they are in operation.
The code requires the training and certification of elevator inspectors. The city does not provide an inspector to inspect elevators. Elevator owners are responsible for making arrangements with qualified inspectors to have their elevators inspected and tested. The city will maintain a list of known qualified elevator inspectors. Owners may use inspectors on the list or submit another inspector’s credential for inclusion on the list. Qualified inspectors must possess:
The city charges a processing and administrative fee of $76.50 per Certificate of Compliance. The cost of the inspections and tests is the responsibility of the owner.
The city requires the performance of what is known in the code as a "periodic inspection and test." These procedures are outlined in Section 1002 of the elevator code, known as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers A-17.1.
Certificates are valid for one year from the date of inspection. Owners are responsible for ensuring that their elevators are properly inspected and certified.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas and is toxic to both pets and humans. Because it is impossible to see, taste, or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. Low levels of Carbon Monoxide will cause symptoms that mimic the flu. Usually, you will experience:
According to the Center for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the most common cause of poisoning death in the United States. Unintentional CO exposure accounts for an estimated 15,000 emergency department visits and 500 unintentional deaths in the United States each year.
If you suspect that you have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately....don’t wait! Do not try to stay in your home for a long amount of time without getting fresh air first. At higher levels, carbon monoxide can lead to a loss of consciousness, reduce brain function, or you may lapse into a coma and even death.
Secondly, call 911 or your local emergency number. Carbon monoxide poisoning is serious and you will need medical attention immediately.
Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are designed to alarm before potentially life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide are reached.
The safety standards for CO alarms have been continually improved and currently marketed CO alarms are not as susceptible to nuisance alarms as earlier models.
Follow the steps for proper installation:
If you have any questions or concerns about carbon monoxide detector placement, please call Fire Administration at 757-220-6220.
Never ignore an alarming Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm! It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard.
If the alarm signal sounds do not try to find the source of the CO:
If authorities allow you to return to your home, and your alarm reactivates within a 24 hour period, repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 and call a qualified appliance technician to investigate for sources of CO from all fuel-burning equipment and appliances, and inspect for proper operation of this equipment. If problems are identified during this inspection, have the equipment serviced immediately.
The devices retail for $15 to $60 USD and are widely available. They can either be battery-operated or AC powered (with or without a battery backup). Battery lifetimes have been increasing as the technology has developed and certain battery-powered devices now advertise a battery lifetime of over 6 years.
They can be purchased at your local hardware store and at most large department stores. They can be purchased online as well. It is up to the homeowner as to what model suits their lifestyle.
Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) can respond to emergencies ranging from automobile accidents to major fires. When they arrive at an emergency, they quickly determine the nature and extent of the patient’s condition. They provide emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient to a local medical facility.
EMTs are trained to provide basic life support (BLS) services in a pre-hospital setting, ranging from cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to spinal immobilization.
Paramedics can provide advanced life support (ALS) services to patients during medical emergencies. The advanced training enables them to perform some invasive procedures and dispense medications under the supervision of a physician.
Members typically are dispatched by a 911 operator and work closely with police officers at the scene of an emergency.
We do not have a residency requirement for fire department personnel except for the Fire Chief and Deputy Chief. They must live within 10 miles from the city limits.
You must be a minimum of 18 years of age to be hired. There is no maximum age limit.
No, the Williamsburg Fire Department offers only full-time employment.
First, candidates must submit a completed application to the City’s Department of Human Resources. The selection process includes the successful completion of:
Each selection process is a stand-alone process. Therefore, candidates interested in continuing to seek a Firefighter-Medic position with the City of Williamsburg must reapply during each open application period.
Maintaining a good physical condition is extremely important in Firefighting / Emergency Medical Services (EMS) duties. Fire academy recruits must pass a physically demanding Work Performance Evaluation in order to successfully complete the training program. After completing the fire academy, firefighters are required to pass the department’s Work Performance Evaluation twice a year.
Yes, at times the Firefighting / Emergency Medical Services (EMS) job is stressful. However, training, physical fitness, and Fire Department support all help to minimize stress.
The job is as safe as we can make it. Firefighting and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) duties contain inherent dangers. Training, equipment, teamwork, and applied individual study all maximize safety.
The Hampton Roads Recruit Fire Academy is typically scheduled for Monday through Friday, 7 am to 5 pm, and lasts for approximately sixteen weeks.
Once assigned to shift work, you will work 24-hour shifts, 8 am to 8 pm. You will work an average of 56 hours a week and 10 days a month on-duty. However, schedules are at the discretion of Fire Administration.
A career as a Firefighter-Medic can be rewarding in many ways, but specific benefits include:
Yes. You are required to attend and graduate from the Hampton Roads Recruit Fire Academy (HRRFA).
The program is scheduled for approximately sixteen weeks.
Typically, Hampton Roads Recruit Fire Academy (HRRFA) is hosted by the City of Newport News and City of Hampton Fire Departments.
Hampton Roads Recruit Fire Academy (HRRFA) graduates are certified in:
Yes. The Williamsburg Fire Department is comprised of dual-role personnel, therefore you will rotate between medic unit and fire apparatus duties.
Yes, all new members are required to go through the Academy regardless of past years of firefighting experience. A consideration to waive the Academy for candidates who are graduates of Tidewater Regional Fire Academy (TRFA) may be made at the discretion of the Fire Chief.
We accept applications for Firefighter / Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) only during the posting period. Make sure and submit an application by the posted deadline. Applications will not be accepted once the posting has closed.
Candidates are hired as openings become available in the department due to resignations or retirements. There is no way to predict when these positions will need to be filled.
We welcome out of state applicants. We encourage applicants who will be traveling to Virginia to be aware of our hiring process.
Yes. If a conditional offer of employment is made, the candidate must satisfactorily complete a full medical physical examination.
The Williamsburg Fire Department is very selective when hiring new Firefighters. The most desirable candidates will possess a clean criminal record and meet all of the other requirements. Candidates who have a serious misdemeanor conviction within the past five years or a felony conviction will not be considered eligible for the position.
The requirements to apply for the Fire Fighter / Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Position are:
The following will disqualify an applicant from being a firefighter:
Williamsburg Fire Department operates one station that is staffed by career firefighters. Depending on the day, volunteer members will aid career staff during shift work.
Williamsburg considers the candidate interview to be the strength of its hiring process. For an applicant who qualifies, there will be a panel interview. During the panel interview, candidates are asked questions by a group of 3 to 5 professionals to include firefighter / Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), administrative personnel, and fire officers. The session lasts 20 to 30 minutes.
In most instances, the probationary period is one year from date of hire.
About 10 square miles. Don’t let the size of our responding area fool you, the City lends itself to a variety of emergencies:
Included within the city boundaries are Colonial Williamsburg - a 1.5 square mile outdoor museum of 18th-century structures - and the College of William and Mary. Each of these areas presents unique hazard potential within the city limits. The Williamsburg Fire Department protects the City of Williamsburg and aids James City County and York County on a daily basis. We protect approximately 14,000 residents, and at times, the population of the city will more than double due to the influx of out of town guests and college students.
According to the United States Fire Administration, approximately 2,600 Americans die in home fires every year. Over half of these deaths (52%) occur between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am, when residents are typically sleeping. Smoke and toxic gases from a home fire are as deadly as heat and flames. Just two or three breaths of toxic smoke can render you unconscious. The majority of fire victims die or are injured from exposure to smoke and toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, not actual burns. In addition, smoke obscures vision, decreasing your ability to escape.
Smoke alarms save lives, prevent injuries, and minimize property damage by detecting fires early and alerting residents, allowing crucial time to escape. The risk of dying from a fire in a home without working smoke alarms is twice as high as in a home that has working smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms are designed to detect the presence of smoke as it passes through the device. Once smoke is detected the alarm will sound.
There are many types of alarms, but they are generally broken up into two categories: Ionization and Photoelectric.
Both types of alarms have their strengths, and it is up to you to decide which type of alarm you prefer. To make the decision easy, alarm manufacturers have created dual sensor smoke alarms that have photoelectric and ionization detecting capabilities.
The United States Fire Administration recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with one of the following:
After you have decided on what type of alarm you would like, there are a variety of sounding mechanisms to choose from. Some devices simply loudly beep, while others will talk to you and direct you to evacuate. If you are hearing impaired, manufacturers have designed detectors that use strobe lights and/or vibrate in order to alert the occupant. Smoke alarm technology has come a long way and there are many alarms on the market today to suit the needs of every customer.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or early in the morning, so the U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
There are two types of power sources for smoke alarms:
Smoke alarms should be tested once a month by pressing the test button located on the device. Batteries should be replaced once a year (except for lithium batteries)....for safe practices, change your batteries every time you change your clocks!
Smoke alarms are fairly inexpensive and reasonably priced. Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms cost between $6 and $20. Dual sensor smoke alarms cost between $24 and $40.
Hardware stores and most department stores sell smoke alarms. You can also purchase them online. If you are unsure of what type of alarm to purchase, please feel free to contact us at 757-220-6220 and we will point you in the right direction. Don’t cheat yourself out of an important life-saving tool....get one today!!
To apply for Social Security Benefits and/or Medicare, an individual must go through the Social Security Administration office located at:11706 Jefferson AvenueNewport News , VA 23606Phone: 800-772-1213
Emergency assistance is a one-time crisis assistance program for City of Williamsburg residents. Emergency financial assistance and/or coordination and referral to appropriate service agency is provided based on the situation. Determination for financial assistance is based on established eligibility criteria to include a budget analysis. Residents may call the Department of Human Services to inquire about the application process. Once the application package is completed the individual will then meet with a social worker to help determine the best possible plan of action for the emergency situation.
During normal work hours (8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday) you may report abuse by calling our main number 757-220-6161 and asking to speak with a social worker regarding suspected abuse.
After hours or on the weekends you may call the state abuse hotlines:
Sign-up to receive emails from the recreation department announcing special events, reminders of deadlines, sports schedules and standings, etc. Subscribe to our Recreation Announcement Mailing List.
Check out the Leagues page.
Check out the Adult Leagues page.
Registration for all programs or activities offered by the Williamsburg Recreation can be processed in person at the Quarterpath Recreation Center during the regular operating hours.
Online registration is available for youth basketball, softball and volleyball leagues during the dates of open registration for each respective sport.
Registrations may be taken by telephone, 757-259-3760, if paying with MasterCard or VISA.
Forms of payment include cash, check, MasterCard or VISA.
Rooms can be rented by calling 757-259-3760. For information, check out the Quarterpath Rental page.
A building permit is an authorization to begin construction, alteration, or demolition of any residential, commercial, or industrial structure required by the Uniform Statewide Building Code.
You may apply for a permit at Codes Compliance:
Williamsburg Municipal Building401 Lafayette StreetWilliamsburg, VA, 23185-3617
You should provide the following information to complete the building permit application:
In addition to completing a building permit application, you will need to provide the following:
Yes, the fee is based on a schedule adopted by the City Council. These permit fees along with sewer and water fees, if applicable, must be paid at the time of permit issuance.
If you have submitted the required information, it will take three to five business days to review plans and issue plan review comments. If plans meet code requirements, a permit is issued if other requirements are met.
Permits are valid as long as work proceeds but become void if no work is accomplished during any six-month period.
You may request an extension prior to expiration. If not, must reapply and pay the applicable fees.
Upon completion of the work, request a final inspection by calling Codes Compliance at 757-220-6136. When the work passes the final inspection, request a certificate of use and occupancy.
The certificate of use and occupancy is an essential step in the process. There may be considerations unrelated to the house construction in a development, such as sewer, water, and roads, which prevent the issuance of a certificate of use and occupancy even though the "building" is complete.
It is illegal to use or occupy any structure without a certificate of use and occupancy.
Notify both the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office immediately if you move or your vehicle has been sold, stolen, donated, or totaled. Virginia DMV requires notification within 30 days of a change of address or selling, trading, or junking a vehicle by completing the back portion of the vehicle registration form.
Once DMV has been notified, you are required to notify the Commissioner of the Revenue. You may notify the Commissioner of Revenue’s office by filling out the Personal Property Notice of Change (PDF). The City of Williamsburg does not prorate personal property tax. You will be responsible for the tax bill for the remainder of the year.
The largest driver of Williamsburg’s economy is tourism. This industry gets the credit for keeping the real property tax rate in the City at one of the lowest in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The industry employs thousands and supports all of the quality of life we enjoy as residents. However, since the mid-1990’s we have seen a significant decline in visitation which results in fewer jobs, less tax revenue, and a reduction in programming.
It is difficult to credit one national trend or action for this reduction so we will not speculate. The community has spent years talking about the decline and trying to address it. However, ultimately every corrective action depends on additional revenue to add reasons for visiting Williamsburg, for advertising new and interesting events or activities, and for creating a place that people want to visit and remember.
The goal is to "kick start" private investment that will bring new and exciting projects to our destination. It is impossible to know just yet what specific projects might be submitted for consideration, but this is a list of some types of things we would expect:
Virginia Senate Bill 942 (2018) increased the Virginia sales tax 1% in the Historic Triangle (James City County, York County, and the City of Williamsburg). A portion of that 1% goes to fund the Tourism Development Fund (TDF).
The city budget cannot accommodate new expenses of nearly $2.1 million annually without new revenue sources or eliminating services and programs.
Yes, the funding is available for use by any project and applicant if approved by the City Council after review by the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) committee.
The program will work like a grant program meaning that interested parties would apply for funding. This includes establishing a review committee that would accept applications once annually. They would then review the applications and recommend a funding plan to the City Council for approval.
The committee will be appointed by the City Council. The application process will include two phases. The first phase is a preliminary review by staff to determine eligibility. The second phase, if eligible, would be more detailed requiring studies and analysis of the concept at the applicant’s expense.
The committee members serve two years and must be replaced or reappointed. A member may serve as many as three terms. This means that no one member’s terms on the committee shall exceed six years of service. The committee consists of three representatives of the tourism industry, two at-large community appointees, and two ex officio members (one from the Planning Commission and one from the Economic Development Authority. The committee will solicit project applications, review every Phase 2 Tourism Development Fund (TDF) application, and will make funding recommendations to City Council. City Council will make final funding decisions.
The private sector will invest in opportunities where return is certain and profit is likely.
The Williamsburg market is not as strong as it once was which hinders private investment in new products. This is particularly true in cases of newer concepts like boutique hotels, attractions, and mixed-use developments with integrated living and retail options. In communities where these types of developments are desired, the government’s role is to provide risk reduction to encourage this investment. This does not mean the government or the taxpayer has to fund the majority of the cost. It means we, the taxpayers, have to reduce the risk of investment to a point where the private sector is willing to invest. This threshold is different for each project.
Discussion began in the fall of 2016 as the City started developing the 2017 to 2018 Goals, Initiatives and Outcomes (GIOs) as City Council recognized the need for a renewed investment in tourism infrastructure, place, and attractions. This is reflected in the adopted 2017 to 2018 Biennial GIOs.
The conversation matured in January 2017 during the City Council budget retreat. City staff was asked to look for ways to finance the kind of projects the community lacks. This question was partially driven by the pending completion of the Williamsburg Downtown Vibrancy, Design and Marketing Plan, and the resulting question of how to implement the changes and improvements suggested.
During the April 2017 City Council Work Session, the concept of a Tourism Development Fund (TDF) was discussed. It was again reviewed in detail during the June 2017 City Council Work Session and Business Meeting. Council reviewed comparable programs from other tourism-based localities and considered operating models for a local TDF at a July 8 work session.
At the July 10 work session, the Council considered the existing budget and potential new revenue sources for funding the TDF. At the July 13 business meeting, the Council delayed action on the TDF and asked staff to organize a community forum to answer questions regarding the proposed TDF. That Forum was held on July 27 and was well attended generating lots of good comments and discussion. The Council then adopted components of the TDF in August and finalized the process in September.
Yes. Any unspent funds would be available in subsequent years for project awards. Additionally, if the committee realizes an inability to expend all of the revenue, they can recommend that the tax rate be reduced as needed or warranted.
We identified Asheville and Virginia Beach as similar markets. These are both competitive markets for Williamsburg and we compete for the same audience or visitor.
In Asheville’s case, we find that in the early 2000s the community, led by the hospitality industry, worked to create the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF). Funded using similar revenue streams this program has funded 31 projects with $27 million since 2001. It is credited as helping create Asheville which today welcomes record visitors and boasts a wealth of attractions. For more on Asheville’s program here is a video that describes tourism’s impact on their community.
Virginia Beach tells a similar story. Virginia Beach utilizes two programs aimed at boosting tourism. The Tourism Investment Program (TIP) is a discretionary funding tool utilized to jumpstart major projects in its market. Projects and events like the Rock’n’Roll Marathon and Beach Street USA benefit from the program.
While this is not conclusive data-driven proof of success, it is indicative of the efforts that create a successful tourism community.
Annual reporting and evaluation of the program staff and committee are an important part of this process. The City Council and the community have to consistently evaluate all City programs for effectiveness. Obviously, as with any program, there is a building period. The Tourism Development Fund (TDF) will take at least five years to reach a point of measurable outcome.
For Calendar Year Filers the due date for your Virginia Income Tax Return is May 1. If the due date falls on Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, you may file your return on the next business day. The United States Postal Service postmark is used to verify the date your return is mailed. If you are a fiscal year filer, your return is due the 15th day of the fourth month, following the close of the fiscal year.
See Instruction Booklet Page 3 for more information on Fiscal Year Filers.
For the tax year 2019 you must file if you:
Complete Form 760, Line 1 through Line 9 to determine your Virginia Adjusted Gross Income.
You may electronically file or use paper forms to file your State Income Tax Return. There are three e-File options to choose from - Virginia Free File, Paid e-File and, new this year, Virginia Free File fillable forms. Please visit the Virginia Tax website to find out more about these programs.
If you wish to file paper returns you may refer to the back cover of the 760 Instruction booklet to find the address to mail a paper return. The fastest way to file is electronically. If you file online please do not send a paper copy of your return.
If you file your return electronically your refund will typically be issued in about one week. If you file your tax return on paper your refund will typically be issued in about four weeks from the date it is received.
At the filing website you may check the status of your refund even if you did not file using online filing. You may use your touch tone phone to call Tele-tax at 804-367-2486 for the automated refund tax service, or you may call the City of Williamsburg Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office at 757-220-6150.
Generally, you will need to file the Virginia part-year resident form, Form 760PY. See Page 5 of the 760 Instruction booklet for more information.
You may download forms from the Virginia Department of Taxation’s website. You can request forms and instructions from the Virginia Department of Taxation’s Forms Department by calling 804-440-2541. The Department of Taxation will no longer send forms to this office for distribution. For Customer Service call 804-367-8031.
No, there is no penalty assessed if you are due a refund, even if you file your return after the due date. However, you must file a return within three years of the original due date in order to claim your refund.
If your Virginia income tax liability, after subtracting income tax withheld and any allowable credits, is expected to be more than $150, then you must make estimated tax payments on Form 760ES (or have additional income tax withheld throughout the year from your wages or other income).
For more information, see Form 760ES. You are not required to file Form 760ES if:
See the Estimated Income Tax Worksheet on page 3 of Form 760ES.
If you sell, lease, distribute, or rent tangible personal property to customers in Virginia, or otherwise meet the definition of a “dealer,” and have “sufficient activity” in Virginia, you have nexus as defined in Virgina Code Section 58.1-612, and must register to collect and pay sales tax in Virginia.
For additional information on registering, filing and paying Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax, please visit the Virginia Tax website.
Generally individuals and businesses making sales with, or at, one or more physical locations in Virginia (like an office, warehouse, fulfillment center, or similar place of business) must register to collect sales tax as an in-state dealer.
Generally individuals and businesses located outside of Virginia, but with sufficient physical or economic presence to establish nexus in Virginia must register to collect sales tax as an out-of-state dealer. Starting July 1, 2019, this includes remote sellers or online retailers that make more than $100,000 in annual Virginia gross sales or 200 or more transactions to Virginia customers.
Marketplace facilitators and remote sellers that have economic nexus in Virginia (i.e. more than $100,000 in annual Virginia gross sales or 200 or more transactions to Virginia customers) must register to collect and pay sales tax starting July 1, 2019. Generally, businesses without a physical location in Virginia that meet the economic nexus threshold should register as an out-of-state dealer, and businesses with a physical location should register as an in-state dealer. Marketplace facilitators must indicate that they are a marketplace facilitator when registering.
You may come into the Voter Registrar Office during regular business hours (8 am to 4:30 pm) during the 45 days before an Election and fill out an Absentee Ballot application, and then vote in person at the office. The Voter Registrar’s Office is also open for Absentee Voting on the two Saturdays prior to the Election from 8 am to 4:30 pm. For further information, you can call our office at 757-220-6157. You may also call 757-220-6157 to have an application mailed to you.
For Primary Elections, Absentee Voting is held during the 30 days prior to the Primary, and our office is open on Saturday (only on the Saturday immediately prior to the Primary).
You may download an Absentee Ballot Application (PDF), call 757-220-6157 to have an application mailed to you, or stop by the Williamsburg Voter Registrar Office in person.
You must complete an Absentee Ballot Application and mail it to the General Registrar,:P.O. Box 3538Williamsburg, VA 23187
You may also fax the application to us at 757-220-6157.
Be sure to complete all information on the form, including the reason you need to vote absentee, the address where you want the ballot mailed, your full name, home address, and social security number. The application must be signed by you.
You may vote absentee if you are unable to go to the polls on Election Day because you...
Important! If you are in the armed services, a citizen residing or working overseas, or a dependent of such a voter, visit the Federal Voting Assistance page for absentee voting information.
The Electoral Board begins mailing ballots 45 days before each general election. Ballots are mailed the next business day after the absentee ballot applications are received. Please apply early enough to allow time to get your ballot and return it by Election Day. Call the Voter Registrar’s Office at 757-220-6157 or email the Voter Registrar’s Office if your ballot doesn’t arrive within a reasonable time.
Once the Electoral Board has received your Absentee Ballot request, you can check the status of when your ballot request was received, your ballot was mailed to you and when your voted ballot was received by visiting the Virginia Department of Elections website.
All absentee ballots, both in-person or by mail are tabulated on Election Day in the Central Absentee Precinct (CAP). The City of Williamsburg uses manual paper ballots for mailed absentee ballots and the Sequoia Edge Voting Machine which is handicapped accessible for In-Person Absentee voting. Please follow the marking instructions on your ballot and return it in the envelopes provided. Be sure to fill in all the information on Envelope B, sign the oath, and have a witness sign the envelope as well.
Each Election Officer is required to attend a training class prior to each election. Classes, lasting about two hours, are held at the Community Building at 401 North Boundary Street. Additional classes are held prior to special and primary elections.
Election Officers are paid $100 which includes the training class and working at the precinct to which they are assigned on Election Day.
Whenever possible, Election Officers are assigned to their "home" precinct. However, if there are no vacancies at your polling place, you may be assigned to the other precinct or asked to work in the Central Absentee Precinct (CAP). Unassigned officers are asked to serve as "Stand-bys" to fill in for scheduled officers who cannot serve.
That would be great! Please email the Voter Registrar or call the Voter Registrar at 757-220-6157.
Yes, email to email@example.com