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Traffic, other concerns aired over 170-unit subdivision plan in Falling Waters

April 16, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Planning Commission Monday advanced the sketch plan for a residential development that proposes the construction of 170 single-family homes along Grade Road near Vineyard Road in the Falling Waters, W.Va., area.

Bella Vista subdivision would be built on 120.71 acres, according to project documents. Neighboring residents who attended a public hearing held by the planning commission Monday voiced concerns about the project’s impact on traffic, wildlife and stormwater runoff.

County officials noted that the project was originally submitted under the county’s 2004 regulations as a 124-home project on 88 acres, but was reconfigured and expanded and now must adhere to the county’s 2009 development regulations.

Thomas E. Ressler said each development added in the area only worsens an already dangerous intersection at Grade Road and U.S. 11 and asked planning commissioners to write letters to state highway officials to get them to install a traffic signal.

Another resident cited the additional vehicles that would be driving Grade and Vineyard roads as a result of the development, citing the dangers of “hairpin turns” and blind hills.

Daniel Llewellyn of Site Planning & Design LLC, told planning commissioners and those concerned that the revised development plan leaves a significant amount of open space and noted the county’s stormwater ordinance is now more stringent than the 2004 regulations. Homes built in the subdivision would be connected to public water and sewer district services and Llewellyn indicated traffic conditions are being studied.

In other business, the planning commission approved the final plat for a Sheetz store and gas station at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Business Park Drive in Tabler Station Business Park after the commission held a public hearing for the project.

Sketch plans for a 6,489-square-foot convenience store with a carwash, gas pumps and a drive-thru on 4.07 acres were advanced little more than a year ago. 

The project was delayed because of an issue involving state-imposed limits on the number of entrances allowed along Business Park Drive between U.S. 11 and Interstate 81, according to Berkeley County Development Authority Executive Director Stephen Christian.

Christian said after the hearing that Sheetz is expected to build a new two-lane road in the business park from Business Park Drive to Techology Drive and then donate the new street to the development authority. Sheetz customers will be then be able to get to the store via the new road, Christian said.

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