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Shop expansion could ease flooding

May 19, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The expansion of a Martinsburg paint and body shop next month may alleviate some flooding problems for its neighbors.

The tripling in size of Al's Body Shop on U.S. 11 south of Berkeley Station Road was approved Monday night by the Berkeley County Planning Commission.

The area north of the shop is hit hard when rain falls.

The West Virginia Division of Highways planned to install 150 feet of pipe along U.S. 11 to get rid of standing water, but the Berkeley County Commission halted the plan to determine if the runoff would create flooding further north on U.S. 11.

Residents at the Pineview Mobile Home Park became prisoners in their homes as water flooded driveways and yards.

But engineer Tom Cronin said that will change when shop owners Bruce Gipe and Al Crawford finish storm water management.

"Because this property is located within what the county has defined as a special flood hazard area, the level of control required in this area is much, much higher than in the rest of the county," Cronin explained.

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"The consequence of that is flooding should occur less frequently or less severely because of the project," he said.

Crawford said the 600-foot-long and 55-foot-wide culvert has calmed flooding already. Last week's heavy rains, which normally would have turned the park into swamp land, left little water.

"Storm water management really does work, but not everyone is doing it," Gipe said.

County Engineer William Teach approved the project after reviewing the plan with Cronin. The culvert already holds 21/2 feet of water, preventing it from running into the mobile home park.

By the end of June, the 7,200-square-foot expansion and storm management will be completed, Gipe said. The shop measures about 4,500 square feet now.

He plans to use the original building for painting and move the body work into the addition. The $137,000 expansion is the fourth addition to the shop in four years, he said.

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