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    The Greater Williamsburg area is an exciting place to live and work, especially because of the large number of entrepreneurs who have built businesses from the ground up. These entrepreneurs have taken their passion and made it their profession. Many of us want to take that step. Before you begin, you need to think of the type of business entity you want to form. Our attorneys have extensive business experience, from small one-person companies to publicly traded major corporations. Our attorneys are among the leaders in Virginia in the representation of Common Interest Communities. These communities are generally referred to as "homeowners associations," or "HOAs," and "condominium associations." In the greater Williamsburg area alone, we provide legal assistance to nearly 100 associations. Our attorneys have successfully prosecuted and defended a wide array of civil disputes involving community association covenant enforcement, commercial transactions, construction disputes, contracts, real estate matters, boundary line and easement disputes, employment matters, antitrust litigation, copyright violations, administrative proceedings, and estate issues. Real Estate law encompasses a wide variety of matters, and our attorneys have vast experience to assist you. Whether you need assistance with a commercial or residential closing, or you have questions relating to residential or commercial leasing, we provide experienced advice and counsel to our clients. Zoning law can be a complicated maze of statutes and ordinances. We have ample experience in successful applications for rezoning, variance, and special use permit requests. Finally, commercial and residential construction provide special challenges with respect to financing issues and the construction process. We serve as counsel to various financial institutions.

Zoning and “Adaptive Reuse” – What does that actually mean?

DOG Street Pub, the former SunTrust Bank

Today, in both rural and urban communities, adaptive reuse is a necessary and successful tool for economic development. In its traditional form, adaptive reuse is used to preserve unique or historic buildings that are important to the character of a city or town. In urban centers, this can mean turning abandoned warehouses into loft apartments or shuttered factories into art studios and galleries. Today, more peripheral “sprawling” areas are being targeted. Aging hotels and motels that would have once been razed are being reconditioned into housing for college students. Small startup churches fill vacant storefronts and abandoned shopping malls become event centers and charter schools. This reuse can bring new life not just to a specific building, but entire areas within a town or city.

Our own community has a long history of adaptive reuse. Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant was once a warehouse, and the former U.S. Post Office Building in downtown Williamsburg is now host to multiple shops and two restaurants. A local developer’s proposal for the conversion of and older hotel into high-end student housing is up for discussion this month. Even front and center on one of America’s greatest and most historic streets, the former SunTrust Bank on Duke of Gloucester Street has been converted into the DOG Street Pub.

Adaptive reuse in peripheral, sprawling properties is particularly important in today’s economy because of a glut of vacant, highly leveraged commercial and business space. Adaptive reuse in these areas helps control vacancy rates and support traffic flow, two factors important to maintaining property values. As a result, local governments have become mindful of how their zoning ordinances and architectural requirements impact adaptation in these areas. By allowing a creative use of a vacant shopping center or office building, a locality can provide the interim support for a property until it is used as originally intended or can become the catalyst for an entirely new use for the property. 

Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

John Tarley

John Tarley

John is the firm's managing partner and chairs the firm's small business and litigation practice areas. In the community, John has served on the City of Williamsburg’s Economic Development Authority; is a member of the Williamsburg Bar Association, where he served as President and Vice-President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, and the Virginia State Bar; currently serves on the Virginia State Bar Council as the representative for the 9th Judicial Circuit; and for 11 years, has taught at the William & Mary Law School as an adjunct professor covering classes in professional responsibility, legal writing, and trial practice.

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Filed under: Business Planning, General Interest, Land Use Planning, Real Estate Strategies, Zoning by John Tarley

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