Residents air concerns about proposed project

November 07, 1997

Residents air concerns about proposed project


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A home improvement center might not improve the value of some nearby homes, according to several property owners who raised objections to the project at Thursday night's city council meeting.

In September, developer Bruce Van Wyk told the city council he wanted the city to annex a 20-acre tract for retail development along W.Va. 45 across the railroad tracks from Foxcroft Avenue. He said then that the property, owned by Oates Partnership, is under contract to be purchased.

Van Wyk wants the property zoned light industrial when it is annexed. Wednesday night the city planning commission voted to recommend that the council approval the zoning request.


Attorney Lee Van Metre told the council Thursday the project would be a home improvement center that would include space for retail sales, a lumber yard and warehouse. He said the project would be consistent with the use of surrounding properties, the city's comprehensive plan and light industrial zoning.

"I'm not at liberty to tell you who the entity is because they haven't filed a site plan," Van Metre said. He added later that the site plan is expected to be filed at the Jan. 7 meeting of the planning commission.

While Van Metre said he couldn't reveal the name of the company, he said it would be something like a Lowe's, Home Depot or Hechinger's.

"If this plan goes through, I'm going to be surrounded on three sides by a light industrial zone. I just feel that the price of my property is going to go substantially down," said Ron Porterfield of 2009 Old Arden Road.

Neighbor Mike Gerver said he moved to Old Arden Road three years ago thinking that all the lots in his development would be used for homes. The plan, however, includes three small lots that would become part of the home improvement center.

Gerver said he believed the lots would be used for a stormwater detention pond.

Gerver said he believed the project could include an entrance from Old Arden Road into the center that would be used by delivery trucks and other heavy vehicles.

"I'm going to try and do a conscientious job," Van Wyk told the homeowners during the meeting.

During the summer, a sketch plat was filed with the Berkeley County Planning Commission for a Lowe's Home Improvement Center at the intersection of W.Va. 45 and New York Avenue. Gerver said after the meeting he heard the deal for that location had fallen through and that Lowe's is looking at the site next to his home.

The city council could approve the zoning request at its meeting Thursday. The annexation of the land must be approved by both the council and Berkeley County Commission.

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