Park event center will require public hearing

Published 1:25 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

If and when the bed and breakfast and events center come to fruition at Windsor Castle, the town, as the property owner, will have to apply for a special use permit to operate them, according to town staff.

A special use permit requires a public hearing. 

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However, the main thrust of the project is to restore the existing structures, and plans for the bed and breakfast, as well as the event center are in a state of flux and far down the road, said Smithfield Planning and Zoning Administrator William Saunders. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

At the same time, there have been no discussions on any changes to Jericho Road — a narrow, brick-paved road that provides access to Windsor Castle Park, said Town Manager Peter Stephenson.

Right now, the Town Council must approve special events that involve the road, Stephenson added.

Jericho Road and Cedar Street provide the main access to Windsor Castle Park and the manor house. However, neither road is designed to handle a large amount of traffic and neither have marked pavement, according to Smithfield’s comprehensive plan.

The area also does not have access to the Route 10 bypass, which is a limited access highway. Access was granted to the Cypress Creek development across the bypass on the condition that no access be extended to the Jericho Planning Area, which includes Windsor Castle Park.

At the time, the town feared that access from the bypass would threaten the stability of the Windsor Castle property and it is unlikely that position will change in the foreseeable future, according to the comp plan, which was adopted in 2009.

The town also lacks a parks and recreation zoning ordinance that defines possible uses and limits of the property and just has a parks and recreation future land use designation in its comprehensive plan, according to Saunders.

The property that includes Windsor Castle is currently zoned community conservation, the closest to agricultural use in the town, Saunders said.

The Smithfield Town Council recently approved a lease by Historic Windsor Castle Restoration LLC to restore the 18th century manor house and outbuildings. The house was once owned by Smithfield founder Arthur Smith IV. Additional future plans include adding a bridal suite and other amenities inside the manor house, as well as a separate and new event barn on the property.

The manor house and the surrounding acreage around it are under an historic easement issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which is overseeing the restoration process.

The manor house and outbuildings are part of Windsor Castle Park and are owned by the town of Smithfield.  {/mprestriction}