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Dirty Dawg Saloon clears two hurdles to expansion

Zoning appeals board approves variance, exception

June 01, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- A country-style saloon's bid to expand in Martinsburg cleared two hurdles Tuesday evening when the city's zoning appeals board unanimously approved a variance to parking requirements and an exception to rules for enlarging a nonconforming structure.

The requests by George O'Connell, owner of the Dirty Dawg Saloon at 1017 S. Queen St., were backed by several people attending the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meeting, including Ward 2 Councilman Richard Yauger.

No one opposed the requests.

"As much as I am anti-bar, I do understand that this particular establishment is doing quite well," said Yauger, who indicated he had visited the business. "It's not a hoochie-coochie bar."

The parking exception was approved contingent upon the recording of a "cross-parking" agreement with the owner of neighboring Towers Restaurant, which would provide 19 additional spaces. The exception granted Tuesday for a nonconforming structure was to allow O'Connell to build space for a walk-in cooler and supply storage area.

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Towers Restaurant owner Glenda VanMetre told the board that O'Connell has done a "marvelous" job since opening the saloon about a year ago, noting he replaced a "horrible" establishment.

VanMetre, who signed a memo agreeing to allow the restaurant's parking to be used for the saloon for five years, told the board she had no objection to entering a legally binding parking agreement to benefit the saloon. The operating hours of both businesses only overlap for a short time and not during peak hours for the saloon, according to O'Connell's application.

O'Connell said he had plans to expand by building outdoor pavilions to cater to nonsmoking guests and bolster ongoing charitable activities. Site plans for pavilions still must be reviewed by the Martinsburg Planning Commission.

In other action Tuesday, the BZA approved new "ambulance" and "emergency" signage above two exterior canopies at City Hospital in Martinsburg.

The signage is part of a $28 million project under way to expand the hospital's emergency department by 17,000 square feet, and build a new cardiac catheterization laboratory and a 120,000-square-foot intensive care/critical care unit.

The "cath lab" is on schedule to be completed by the end of September and the 20-bed ICU/CCU is projected to be done in January 2011, West Virginia University Hospitals-East spokesperson Teresa E. McCabe said Tuesday. The new emergency department space is scheduled to be completed by February 2011, and renovation to the existing ED is slated to be done by next summer, McCabe said.

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