Ship’s Blog

October 4, 2019
Can You Read This Now? 

by Gail Whittaker, York County Public Information Officer

Hi there.  Remember us?  While it may seem that the York2040 committee has been quiet, the fact is we have!  Well, in the sense that we haven’t been out in the community gathering input, then yes, that’s true.  BUT, the committee is active and meets every month to gather information in order to make sound recommendations for the updates to the York County Comprehensive Plan – Charting the Course to 2040.

This month, we learned about broadband, internet connectivity.  Interestingly enough, broadband is no longer just a nice thing to have.  In fact, the state has mandated that localities look into the long-term broadband needs for each community. 

The impact of broadband is immense.  Whatever you can imagine doing or expanding with broadband, multiply it.  By 100.  Virtual offices and meetings where employees truly work from home but are “seen” in the office.  School classrooms that allow students to explore the universe in ways we’ve never before imagined.  The elderly or infirm being able to remain in their homes with devices and appliances that will respond to however they are best able to communicate.

Truly, the possibilities are endless.  Check out the meeting materials complete with maps showing the current coverage of York County.

September 10, 2019
Stormwater and BMPs

by Gail Whittaker, York County Public Information Officer

Stormwater management was the topic of the September York2040 (Comprehensive Plan) meeting. Anna Drake and Amy Green, Stormwater Engineers in our Department of Public Works, presented information about BMPs and drainage, which was especially timely with the approach of Hurricane Dorian later that week and the potential for flooding in low-lying areas.  Did you know that the requirements for setbacks and shoreline revitalization all come from either the Department of Environmental Quality or the Environmental Protection Agency?  Our Stormwater Engineers are required to ensure that York County agencies, residents, and developers adhere to these requirements.

Discussion at the meeting included individual HOA responsibility for stormwater ponds and dredging of these bodies of water.  Cleaning these out could cost a neighborhood upwards of $100,000!  So, the committee will be looking into stormwater management and how best to recommend updates to the Comprehensive Plan to include BMPs and resource protection.

This was quite an interesting presentation and the materials are available here on  If you have any questions about Stormwater in York County, please call Public Works at 890-3750.

July 30, 2019
The Business of Business

by Gail Whittaker, York County Public Information Officer

At the most recent Comprehensive Plan Review Steering Committee meeting, the members received a highly informative presentation from Jim Noel, Director of the Office of Economic Development.  In his presentation, Mr. Noel discussed the ongoing challenge of business development and retention – not only in York County but across the nation.  While many residents will decry the presence of empty “box stores” up and down 17, the reality is that ongoing consumerism is leading away from brick-and-mortar and more towards online services and delivery.  We can see this in shopping malls, too.  It seems as though every few weeks we receive notice that another business is closing across the nation or reducing the number of retail stores.  An interesting trend in mall space is the leasing of former store fronts to physicians, thereby filling the space with a rent-paying tenant and also providing a service to the community.  The physician gets already built space with ample parking for patients and the mall gets a paying tenant.

Getting back to Route 17….while many of us (myself included) wonder why we can’t fill existing business space with a new retailer, let’s consider that a) rent may be a concern, b) the lease requirement might be for several years and what start-up has the capital to commit to that length of time, c) perhaps the new business’ demographics or customer base won’t fit the location of the existing business space and therefore benefits from a new location, and so on.  Let’s also consider that if one restaurant wasn’t successful in a specific location, then why would a different restaurant consider the site?  Also, a main reason may be zoning.  Do our zoning ordinances allow for certain types of businesses – things that are prevalent in the community today rather than years ago when these ordinances were put in place.  Those are the questions we need to be asking and addressing.  It’s another reason why we need to hear from the business community AND from business customers.

June 11, 2019
Open House Meetings Conclude; What Happens Next?

by Gail Whittaker, York County Public Information Officer

Did you have a chance to visit one of our Open House Public Meetings?  Four were scheduled – two in the upper County and two more in the lower County – and the input we received was great!  Monday, June 10, was our last Open House Public Meeting where citizens could join staff and committee members to discuss the current Comprehensive Plan and provide input on the future of York County through 2040.  A recurring theme quickly emerged….bike lanes and sidewalks are two items that are of interest to our citizens.  Of course, there are other opinions that have emerged through our outreach efforts.  For example, on Facebook posts about the Comprehensive Plan, comments included calls for more rec space including a dog park.  Also, great ideas were shared regarding crosswalks at major intersections for increased pedestrian safety.  Today’s County resident appears to be interested in walkability, which would, of course, relieve the traffic on our roads.

Our online survey has been taken by several hundred County residents.  So, a big THANK YOU for taking the time to answer the questions.  The online survey, along with the telephone survey, is used to gauge the wants/needs of the community and helps us build our draft Comprehensive Plan: Charting the Course to 2040. 

Open House at Tabb Library

So, what happens next?  Once the data is collected, the York2040 committee works to put together a draft.  The draft is reviewed by the Planning Commission and ultimately the Board of Supervisors for discussion and adoption.  But, there will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the draft plan because we want to get this right!  Remember, the Comprehensive Plan guides the development of the County over the next 20 years and that is not nothing. 

April 30, 2019
Did we see you at Market Days?

by Gail Whittaker, York County Public Information Officer

On Saturday, April 27, the York2040 committee set up a table at the Yorktown Market Days.  As this market coincided with the Pirates Invade Yorktown event, we had a feeling we would meet many neighbors.  Boy, did we ever!  While we didn’t keep a count, we know at least 300 people stopped by our tables to look at land use maps (they’re more interesting than they sound!) and chat about our upcoming online survey.  We passed out the website address and a couple of freebies.  But, the best part of all was meeting YOU. 

 If you did not attend the event, please know that we will be having four public open meetings end of May/beginning of June to gather your input.  We won’t be making any presentations.  Rather, these are informal sessions where you can stroll from table to table and look at maps, gather information, and jot down your suggestions.  Keep an eye on this website and York County’s Facebook page for those dates. 

We have completed our telephone survey.  SIR, the company hired to perform the scientific phone survey reaching randomly selected numbers, is compiling the information and will share the data with us before too much longer.  In the meantime, SIR’s online survey will be available with a link right here!  So be sure to stop back in a week or two and take the survey.  If surveys are not your bag, then consider calling the phone line – 890-DATA (3282) - and leaving a recorded message, or send us an email to

April 8, 2019
Road Usage, Capacity, and…Sea Level Rise?

by Gail Whittaker, York County Public Information Officer

Not long ago, a portion of Route 17 was widened from four lanes to six.  While the work impacted travel, the increased capacity was desperately needed.  In fact, plans are for the widening to continue further up Route 17 towards the historic area.  At the April 8 meeting of the Comprehensive Plan Review Steering Committee – or York2040 – a Historic Triangle Transportation Study provided interesting and sometimes brow-raising information.  For example, currently, daily vehicle travels on Route 17 total approximately 44,000.  That’s per day!  In 2040, that number is estimated to be 80,000.  Other facts…freight tonnage in 2012 (the latest figures) on Route 17 was between 500,000 to 1 million tons per year; jump to 2040 and that number is estimated to increase to 1 to 3 million.  The number of York County traffic crashes reached a 13 year high in 2017 with 1,101 crashes.  And that’s not to mention the figures on potential submergence of roadways by 2045 due to projected sea level rise! 

The Williamsburg Area Transit Authority serves the Williamsburg area with some coverage into York County.  Ridership is increasing.  But is our area conducive to busses for daily commutes?

As York2040 continues to gather information before updating the county’s Comprehensive Plan, Charting the Course to 2040, the committee members are faced with this data and how to best address situations such as these in the comprehensive plan. 

What would you do?  What do you suggest?  Additional public transit including transfer hubs?  Incentives for businesses with carpooling initiatives?

Our phone line is up for your use.  Simply dial 890-DATA (3282) and leave a message with your comments and suggestions.  Please leave your name and address so that we can ensure you are a York County resident.  While we love to hear from our visitors and neighbors, this is York’s plan and we especially need to hear from our neighbors.

If you don’t want to leave a recorded message, please send us an email to

York2040 is making plans for public outreach and that means in person, face-to-face, chatting about the future of your county.  First up, Yorktown Market Days on April 27.  That happens to be the Pirates Invade Yorktown weekend and we will set up with tablets and a quick survey.  Give us your opinion and get some swag.  There’s a special treat for the kids in attendance!  So, please stop by, meeting the committee members and staff, and let us know what you think.  Thanks in advance and see you on April 27.

February 18, 2019
Walking and Biking - two very popular ways of getting around and also great for you!

by Gail Whittaker, York County Public Information Officer

Walking and biking – two very popular ways of getting around and also great for you!  Bike paths and sidewalks were the topic of conversation at the March 6 meeting of the Comprehensive Plan Review Steering Committee (or York2040 for short).  With presentations from York County staff as well as the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, the committee – as well as a few members of the community and newspaper reps – learned about what is already in place, what is funded, and what is proposed.

As our society moves toward environmentally-friendly activity, the call for bike paths and sidewalks increases.  And that’s not unique to York County.  Be sure to take a look at the presentation materials that were discussed at the meeting.

The County has hired SIR (Southeastern Institute of Research) to conduct a random telephone survey to gather public input.  This, along with an online survey, will help the York2040 committee to determine the direction in which the Comprehensive Plan could proceed.  If you receive a call, please take the five to ten minutes required to complete the survey.  You’ll be helping your community!  Also, once the survey is available online, be sure to visit this website to complete it.  Your opinion matters.

If you do not wish to complete the survey – or are not selected to receive a call – but have some ideas, please send an email to  We are establishing a phone line where you can leave your input – 890-DATA (3282). 

If you haven’t already, please sign up to receive notices of website updates.  You’ll be the first to know when new meeting items are posted, a video is loaded onto the page, and even comments from your neighbors. 

February 1, 2019
Weigh Anchor and Set Sail for 2040
(The Comprehensive Plan Review process is underway)

by Gail Whittaker, York County Public Information Officer

Welcome to the Ship’s Blog – the official online journal of the Comprehensive Plan Review Steering Committee. As the members of the committee work to gather citizen input and review the draft plan – Charting the Course to 2040 – we will update this blog to keep you informed of where we are in the review process, what we’ve heard from the public about the vision for York County in the next 20 years, and the perspective of committee members regarding the importance of citizen participation.

Here’s a quick review of where we are….

The Comprehensive Plan Review Steering Committee was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in 2018 and is made up of your neighbors!  In addition, for the first time, we have on the committee a member of the York County Youth Commission.  Jacob Rizzio is a sophomore at York High School and brings a young person’s perspective about the County and what people in his age group would like to have available.  This means that people Jacob’s age now will be in their late 30’s in the year 2040, and many that age will have a career and/or will be raising a family.  They will have searched for (or will be searching for) the right community in which to live.  What will lure them to York County?  Or, what will cause people to stay in York County?  Those are the questions we need help answering.

But, back to our review…

The committee met in November and December.  At both meetings, members received a presentation from staff about the plan review process and demographics in and around York County and the region.   Members shared a wide variety of perspectives and it was interesting to listen to what their experience brings to the table. 

One item that was clear….the committee definitely wants to hear from the public (aka YOU!) and ensure that a sound and functional draft plan is developed.  The committee will be discussing several outreach methods to use in gaining citizen opinion of York County in 2040.  So, be on the lookout for these outreach methods.  You may even receive a telephone survey.  If you do, don’t hang up!  Your opinion is extremely valuable and helps us determine the long-range plan for the development of the County.  Are you on Facebook?  We will be there, too.  Watch for videos updating you on the committee’s progress.  We may even post a poll or two. 

The Steering Committee’s next meeting is in February, so keep checking back for updated information.  In the meantime, thanks for visiting.