by Jackie Nunnery
HEATHSVILLE—Plans for a new retail space in Wicomico Church took a step closer to becoming a reality as the Northumberland planning commission on Thursday, July 21, voted 6-0 to recommend changing the zoning on a 3-acre portion of a parcel with frontage on Jessie duPont Memorial Highway.
The property, owned by Washington Auto Club, is split zoned between agriculture (A1) and residential (R1). The change, if approved by the board of supervisors, would take a 3-acre portion of the 11.553 acres and change it to general business (B1). The remaining acreage would become A1.
During a related public hearing, Heathsville resident James Penney expressed safety concerns about traffic coming in and out of the parking lot. He said that any type of business with that square footage “is going to generate traffic. Currently, if you come out of the property and turn left, you’ll be blinded to any traffic coming out of Wicomico Church at 40 m.p.h. and increasing to 55.”
The currently undeveloped parcel is between Glenn Lester Company and Bert & Cliff’s Machine Shop and among other businesses on that section of road.
“You have a small commercial center and that’s why we selected the site,” said John Parker with Rhetson Companies, the applicant. “The shorter end of the building would face the road, to condense the visual aesthetic. We plan to put either hardy or brick siding to keep it a nice, soft look” in addition to landscaping. He added that a deceleration lane, already reviewed with the Virginia Department of Transportation, is included in that plan….
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