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Martinsburg amends zoning to allow university campus in mall

November 19, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Martinsburg City Council on Thursday evening unanimously adopted an ordinance that removed a zoning restriction that stood in the way of Mountain State University's proposal to use retail space in the Martinsburg Mall for its Martinsburg campus.

Earlier this month, Layne Diehl, the provost of Mountain State University's Martinsburg campus, told city planning commissioners that the school intended to have a third party holding corporation operate the mall after the school buys it to put college classroom and office space there.

"We want to keep the mall, the mall," Layne Diehl said in presenting MSU's request for revisions to the original concept plan for the mall at 800 Foxcroft Ave.

The concept plan changes were acceptable to the planning commission, but City Council's adoption Thursday of a text amendment to the city's table of zoning district uses to allow a college or university to operate in a planned business district still was needed. Even with the approved change, the college's plans for the mall still are subject to a site plan review.

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The university has presented a plan that specifies plans for 13,713 square feet of available space inside the mall at the entrance to Bon-Ton and includes the former Rex electronics store. The school's proposal comes less than a year after the mall was placed in receivership of Jones Lang Lasalle, a Chicago-based corporation.

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