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McDonald's gets OK from Middletown

By Alex Bridges

The Middletown Planning Commission gave the green light this week for a new McDonald's restaurant to locate near Interstate 81.

Plans call for the construction of a McDonald's at 91 Reliance Road at the north end of the town on property shared with the former Super 8 motel on the west side of the interstate.

Town Zoning Administrator Fred Wharton noted that the site plan endorsed by the Planning Commission on Monday call for the McDonald's to sit on a 1.4-acre parcel in front of the hotel. The site plan, which met the town code requirements, calls for the 1-story, 4,300-square-foot restaurant to lie north of Reliance Road with Liberty gas station across the street.

"It's gonna help Middletown an awful lot," Wharton said. "It's really going to be a big deal for a small town."

The owners plan to improve the access road by constructing a deceleration lane off of the interstate that allows a right turn into the property, Wharton said. The owners need to submit the plans for the lane to the Virginia Department of Transportation for the agency's approval, Wharton said. The deceleration lane would be built before the restaurant and the hotel open, Wharton added.

Developers plan to begin construction in March and expect the project to take 90-120 days to complete, Wharton said.

Wharton received the plan for the restaurant and forwarded the documents to the Planning Commission for its recommendations. Wharton approves the plans based on the commission's recommendations, he said. The commission recommended that Wharton approve the plan.

The town's zoning ordinance allows restaurants as a by-right use in the business district, Wharton explained.

Originally a Stuckey's restaurant had been built on the property, followed by the Super 8 motel. The previous owner of the entire property recently sold it to McDonald's. This allows for the new owner of the Super 8 to convert the motel into a Comfort Inn & Suites, Wharton explained.

The McDonald's project coincides with a $1 million renovation planned for the hotel. The new owners had to upgrade the Super 8 in order to become a Comfort Inn, Wharton explained. Improvements include new furniture and an eating area on the first floor. Comfort Inn will require that tractor-trailers park behind the building.

Work on the hotel likely would start next month, Wharton said. The hotel plans to close for a couple of months for the renovations, he noted. Wharton said he expects work to be completed in January.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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