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Walgreens developer eyes Virginia Avenue location

It would be the first of the drug stores in Washington County

August 05, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • In this file photo, shopping baskets are seen in the aisle at Walgreens, in Burlington, Vt. A developer of Walgreens drug stores wants to build the chain's first Washington County store at the intersection of Virginia Avenue and Halfway Boulevard near Hagerstown, according to county planning documents.
Associated Press

A developer of Walgreens drug stores wants to build the chain's first Washington County store at the intersection of Virginia Avenue and Halfway Boulevard near Hagerstown, according to county planning documents.

Development company Peco NNN held a preliminary consultation with county planning officials on Feb. 10 for a proposed 11,600-square-foot Walgreens store with a drive-through window, county Division of Plan Review and Permitting records show.

The store would be built on 1.2 acres at 17703 Virginia Ave., the site of a former gas station and used-car lot at the southeast corner of the intersection.

It would be the first Walgreens in Washington County. The closest Walgreens stores to Hagerstown are in Martinsburg, W.Va., and Chambersburg, Pa.

Peco NNN is a provider of development services — such as site identification, site-plan design and construction management — that has been a preferred developer for Walgreens in the Baltimore area, according to the company's website.

Neither Peco NNN Eastern Region Director Cameron Denton nor Walgreens' Media Relations Manager Tiffany Washington responded to messages seeking comment.

The proposed site is zoned Business Local, a zoning district that allows drugstores as a principal permitted use. However, the project will need approvals from the Board of Zoning Appeals for several variances from zoning ordinance requirements, according to minutes from a March 7 Washington County Planning Commission discussion of the project.

One such variance — allowing a 30-foot front setback from Virginia and Glenside avenues instead of 40 feet — was approved in 2008.

At that time, the appellant, KCE Engineering Inc., said the owner proposed building a 10,560-square-foot Walgreens on the site.

But property owners along Glenside Avenue testified in opposition, citing concerns about increased traffic, light pollution and potential parking difficulties.

KCE Engineering officials testified in rebuttal that the lighting would be directed downward, and the store would have 33 parking spaces, according to zoning appeals board records.

Variances also would be required for the proposed canopy setback, property line for the parking area, sign locations, monument locations and number of parking spaces, Senior Planner Lisa Kelly told planning commission members, according to meeting minutes.

The company was proposing 37 parking spaces instead of the required 56, she said.

A site plan will have to be reviewed by a variety of agencies and approved by the county planning commission.

Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore expressed concerns about allowing left turns out of the Walgreens onto Halfway Boulevard because of the proximity to the intersection with Virginia Avenue, according to a letter in the project file at the county planning office.

Kelly said at the March planning commission meeting that only right turns in and right turns out would be allowed at the Halfway Boulevard entrance. There would also be an entrance on Glenside Avenue.

An updated traffic-impact study will be required as part of the plan review process, and any change in traffic pattern for Glenside Avenue will require approval from the Washington County Board of Commissioners, Kelly said at the time.

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