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City approves funding for property at Pleasant Valley

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- The city took a major step toward fixing a long-standing traffic issue Tuesday.

The City Council's planning and development committee voted to recommend the approval of an ordinance to authorize spending $176,000 on property at 1675 S. Pleasant Valley Road. The purchase is needed to further the Spring Street Connection Project, according to Jim Deskins, director of redevelopment for the city.

The city can recoup the cost of the acquisition, Deskins told council, and thus the purchase would not impact the general fund. The $176,000 includes the fair-market price of $160,000 for the land and other costs and fees.

According to the resolution, Somerville, S.C. Associates owns the 16,000-square foot parcel, also referred to as the Kmart property. Planning Department staff on May 26 recommended interconnectivity of Spring Street to South Pleasant Valley Road.

"Such interconnectivity will help alleviate some of the traffic concerns at the intersection of Millwood Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road and that such interconnectivity is supported by the city's Comprehensive Plan," the resolution states.

The intersection ranked third among the top eight locations in the city for traffic crashes according to the Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Planning Organization 2030 Transportation Plan.

The city already had acquired 0.623 acres of land known as the Donnegan property for use as a public right of way. With the exception of the Kmart parcel, the city has the property needed to extend Spring Street to South Pleasant Valley Road, the resolution states.

Councilman Michael Butler did not attend the meeting.

Also at the meeting, the committee voted unanimously to forward to council recommendations to approve:

* A conditional-use permit request of Oak HIll Rental Properties for extended-stay lodging at 2011 Valley Ave. The property includes The Elms, a former hotel, and the building occupied until recently by C-CAP.

* A conditional-use permit request of Stephanie Levenson to operate a nightclub at Sweet Caroline's, 29 W. Cork St. The permit approved for the same use issued in 2008 to the previous owner, Terry Hudson, expired when the business changed ownership. City officials said the new owners "raised the bar" by proposing additional conditions beyond those already required under the previous permit.

* A conditional-use permit request of Oakcrest Properties to convert a ground floor non-residential use to residential use at 163-165 N. Loudoun St.

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