Dec. 21, 2018 – Hampton’s Planning Commission Thursday endorsed a permit for an indoor off-track betting horse racing facility in the Power Plant shopping center, as well as several zoning changes for live entertainment venues and the Phoebus district.
The full agenda package for the meeting was 349 pages long, largely due to the complexity of the zoning changes. But while the ordinances themselves were complex, the effects were to simplify things, said City Manager Mary Bunting.
“A lot of these were efforts to make Hampton more business-friendly and to smooth administrative processes, especially for small businesses that want to invest in Hampton,” Bunting said after the meeting. Some changes were initiated by staff as they worked with businesses working with the city for permits or new development.
One change streamlines a process by which restaurants and breweries can get live entertainment permits if they have small performance areas with no dance floors and music indoors only. It also simplified the parking regulations for those venues. After those changes, the commission endorsed a live music permit for Bowman’s Soul-N-The-Wall at 1899 N. Armistead Ave.
The other zoning change endorsed by the Commission was to break up the current Phoebus district into three tiers, with the most dense and intense regulations for the urban core downtown area, where most of the historic buildings are located. A slightly less dense but walkable commercial and mixed-used area would surround that, and a transition area that would be more suburban and car-oriented would be permitted in the outer areas closer to the interstate and near Mercury Boulevard.
In other matters:
- The commission supported allowing a use permit for the Colonial Downs Group to operate an amusement center. The off-track betting facility and restaurant is planned to fill the space formerly occupied by Luckie’s and NASCAR Sports Grille – as well as an addition – for a total of 2,470 square feet.
- Called Rosie’s, the facility is projected to have 1.2 million visitors per year and employ 200 people. The company announced a security plan that includes 200 security cameras that the Hampton Police Department will have access to view.
- The commission supported rezoning and a use permit for the site of the former Virginia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs at 123 E. Pembroke Ave. in the Pasture Point neighborhood. The current zoning limited its use to a women’s club, and the Barrett-Peake Heritage Foundation envisions a broader educational and cultural center there.
Actions by the Planning Commission are recommendations on these issues, which will next go to City Council.