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“Busch Gardens Madrid” slated to be tallest attraction at park

Busch Gardens Madrid Williamsburg new attraction

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is applying for a height limit waiver as its new ride is set to tower 315 feet.

The proposed attraction is well over James City County’s height limitation and will be higher than any other ride at the Virginia theme park.

The proposal bears the project title “Busch Gardens Madrid”.  It does not include any specific details about the future attraction. The application was filed by civil engineering firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. on behalf of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, LLC., which owns Busch Gardens.

“Busch Gardens Williamsburg is seeking a height waiver with James City County for potential future development,” says Ron Vample, Communications Manager for Busch Gardens. “Beyond the information contained in the filing, we have no further details to share at this point.”

The James City County’s Board of Supervisors will need to make a decision regarding a height waiver for the project at their meeting tomorrow.  According to the county’s zoning ordinance, any structure over 60 feet requires a height limit waiver.

County staff have not found any unfavourable factors for the attraction. They have recommended that the board grant the waiver, subject to conditions.

These conditions include the planting of evergreen landscaping around the park’s entrance.  Busch Gardens will also be required to paint the attraction in muted colours past the 60 feet point.  In addition no lights will be allowed on the structure above 60 feet, unless the Federal Aviation Authority requires them.  The theme park will need to start construction within three years of the permit.

The board were advised by staff that the conditions necessary to grant the waiver have been met.  These ensure that the attraction is more than 2,000 feet from the property line and that it will not obstruct light to adjacent properties.  It is not a safety hazard and will not spoil the enjoyment of any historic attractions or reduce property values in the neighbouring area.

A balloon test simulated the attraction’s height.  It showed that the project will be visible at points along Route 143, the Route 60 and Grove interchange, and near the Kingsmill entrance.

The Board of Supervisors has granted height limit waivers for Busch Gardens attractions before.  These include Verbolten, Tempesto, Apollo’s Chariot, Griffon and Mach Tower.

Image courtesy of James City County.

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