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Martinsburg board OKs site plan for mission's new shelter

December 02, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission hopes to break ground early next year on a new men's shelter in the city.

A site plan application for construction of a 18,449-square-foot, two-story building at 608 W. King St. was unanimously approved Wednesday by the Martinsburg Planning Commission.

The commission's approval was contingent upon the city planning department's final OK of stormwater management plans.

After the commission's vote, architect Robert T. Eckels and Rescue Mission board member Terry Lindsay said they anticipated construction could begin in February or March and possibly be complete in 12 months, weather permitting.

The 78-bed facility at the corner of West King and Elijah streets would replace the current shelter, which would be demolished, Eckels said.

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The proposed demolition of the historic shelter building would not be subject to review by Martinsburg's Historic Preservation Review Commission (HPRC) because City Engineer Michael Covell said it is not within the city's special overlay district established to protect historic buildings in downtown.

The old shelter building at 602 W. King St., is included in the proposed expansion of the Historic Preservation District, but an HPRC review of the demolition proposed is not required if the Rescue Mission's plans have been approved before it is expanded, Covell told commissioners Wednesday.

In September, the Martinsburg Board of Zoning Appeals approved the Rescue Mission's plans, which include a 33-space parking area where the current shelter now stands near the Winchester & Western Railroad tracks.

In addition to sleeping quarters, the new shelter is expected to include classroom and counseling areas.

The Rescue Mission's store at 606 W. King St., and a second building that is used for offices, sleeping quarters and storage at 604 W. King St., will not be torn down, according to the site plans approved Wednesday.

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