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Walgreens site plan OK'd by Martinsburg planners

August 02, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Plans to build a Walgreens store at the northern end of the proposed extension of Raleigh Street in Martinsburg were approved Wednesday by the city's planning commission.

The 14,788-square-foot store proposed to front Edwin Miller Boulevard and the yet-to-be built Raleigh Street Extension "optimistically" could be open for business by Christmas 2008, developer Robert Statkiewicz of Red Leaf Development & Investment Associates Inc. said after the meeting.

Commissioner Peter "Steve" Hartmann made the motion to approve the Walgreens site plan with the condition that an entrance onto Raleigh Street closest to Edwin Miller Boulevard may be modified or eliminated.

Hartmann was concerned that the store entrance would increase the cost of building the Raleigh Street road project by having to revamp the intersection. He questioned whether the commission had a duty to protect the state's interest. He was told by City Engineer Michael Covell that concern was beyond the commission's scope.

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Statkiewicz said after the meeting that he was aware of the concerns about the entrance, but felt strongly about retaining it as part of the development plan, if only temporarily.

CVS has a similar entrance to its store on the opposite side of the future Raleigh Street connection to the boulevard, according to Thomas R. Paquelet, the consulting planner for projects that are part of the 33-acre Destiny Pointe development, a project of Destiny Baptist Church in Martinsburg.

Paquelet said congregation leaders agreed to deed about 2.25 acres of 80 to 100 feet of right-of-way along the edge of the Destiny Pointe development at no cost to the city for the Raleigh Street extension.

City leaders agreed to allow the church property to be rezoned to accommodate plans by the congregation to build a new sanctuary that will seat more than 1,000 people, along with the other projects, Paquelet said.

"This is the first big piece (of the Raleigh Street extension)," Paquelet said, pointing to a map depicting four building sites on about 15 of the 33 acres, including the U.S. Coast Guard facility that is under construction.

Paquelet hopes to present the site plans for the church to the planning commission in September. The church holds two services each week at Martinsburg High School because they have outgrown their church at 115 Raleigh St., where parking is scarce.

The set of plans for the church will include a "developable pad" along Edwin Miller Boulevard next to Walgreens, he said.

"We're working with a national retailer right now to hopefully get that sold," Paquelet said.

A swath of land in the middle of Destiny Pointe will remain undeveloped because it is part of a flood plain, but Paquelet said development is still envisioned for the southern end of the property.

Paquelet promoted the cooperative efforts with the city as "good, forward-thinking planning" and noted the church was embracing environmentally sensitive development techniques and outdoor education opportunities as part of the development.

Paquelet said the U.S. Coast Guard building has been designed as a "green" structure with a gold rating by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

"The (U.S. Coast Guard) building is the greenest of the four," Paquelet said.

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