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Study of possible development continues

August 14, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Development officials are continuing their study of 219 acres between Interstate 81 and U.S. 11, land they hope can be the future site of businesses.

Known as the Criswell property, the land is off Tabler Station Road south of Martinsburg.

John Harris, with Harris Land Advisors, gave an update on the project at the Berkeley County Development Authority meeting Wednesday morning.

"We're a long way toward being done," he said.

The property fronts U.S. 11 and also will front a possible new road proposed by state highway officials. Construction of that road, which would connect the Tabler Station Road interchange off Interstate 81 to Novak Drive, might hinge on what happens with the Criswell property.

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"I think a (business) prospect will make this road happen," Harris said.

Berkeley County Commission President Howard Strauss, a member of the development authority, said during the meeting that medium to large buildings are expected to open if the land is turned into a business park.

Harris is concerned about an old stone house on the property. If the house is found to be a historic resource, state officials may try to save it, Harris said.

Attorney Clarence E. "CEM" Martin, another member of the development authority, said the home was built by the first clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Evidence of prehistoric tool making exists elsewhere on the property, Harris said.

"People stopped and made their tools and left," he said, indicating that no evidence of a settlement exists.

Tire piles and an old septic system will need to be removed, but Harris said no problems have arisen with the acres of the property that formerly were used as an orchard.

A final report on the project is expected at next month's development authority meeting.

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