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Planning commission endorses plan for new McDonald's in Martinsburg

February 06, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The impact that a proposed McDonald’s restaurant in Martinsburg’s north end could have on traffic there was the primary concern of Martinsburg planning commissioners Wednesday night when they reviewed the project’s sketch plan.

The traffic concerns, however, were not a deal breaker for the Martinsburg Planning Commission, which voted unanimously to advance the project eyed for Old Courthouse Square shopping center in the city’s review process.

Commissioners voted separately to advance a map amendment request that also is needed for the project to City Council for approval.

The amendment is needed because the restaurant proposal isn’t in the shopping center’s current concept plan.

The McDonald’s eyed for a .99-acre site in Old Courthouse Square shopping center along Edwin Miller Boulevard would replace the current restaurant at the intersection of Eagle School and East roads, commissioners were told.

Carmen A. DiDiano, the general manager of Pittsburgh-based McIlvried, DiDiano & Mox, said McDonald’s Corp.’s proposal would “soften” stormwater runoff from the shopping plaza through the reduction of nearly 3,000 square feet of asphalt and addition of green space.

If approved, the 4,350-square-foot restaurant also would eliminate 71 parking spaces near the 19.6-acre shopping center’s main entrance along Edwin Miller Boulevard at Summit Community Bank.

The impact the restaurant would have on traffic flow at the main entrance to the shopping plaza was the primary concern of commissioners. Some questioned whether McDonald’s patrons would be backed up on the already busy road while trying to get into the restaurant.

There is no traffic signal at the shopping plaza entrance. And the sketch plans indicate restaurant patrons would have to turn left upon entering Old Courthouse Square and cross the traffic lane for motorists leaving the shopping plaza’s main entrance.

“I just ask you all to look at that real carefully,” Commissioner Jeff Molenda told DiDiano.

Michael Nestor of Clarksburg, W.Va.-based Thrasher Engineering Inc., told planning commissioners that the shopping plaza has four points of access and he didn’t expect the main entrance to shoulder all of the additional traffic created by the McDonald’s.

Nestor appeared on behalf of shopping center owner SugarOak Old Courthouse LLC of Herndon, Va. The company has asked to amend the concept plan for the shopping center to include the restaurant outparcel proposed.

The project will be reviewed by the planning commission again after developers submit a more detailed site plan for final consideration.

Wednesday’s meeting was to give the developer feedback on preliminary plans for the project.

Aside from the traffic concern, City Planner/Engineer Michael Covell told commissioners that the development would make remaining parking spaces in Old Courthouse Square more premium, but noted the shopping center has enough “capacity” for the addition of the McDonald’s.

Renderings filed with the planning department indicate the new restaurant would resemble the new McDonald’s built along Apple Harvest Drive on the city’s south end.

DiDiano said the restaurant would be a 2013 prototype for McDonald’s and that the owner may choose to install a patio for outside seating.

The new restaurant would have “side-by-side” drive-thru service, which DiDiano said reduces patron’s wait time.

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