Public Works facility meets local regulations

Strasburg’s new Public Works headquarters will comply with the town’s development rules, officials say.

The Planning Commission gave its final approval of the site plan for the future Department of Public Works facility on Tuesday. Representatives with Wendell Engineering presented the plan to the panel. The commission also looked at how the design followed the regulations in the town’s new Unified Development Ordinance even though the document includes a exemption for Strasburg projects.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Wyatt Pearson said Wednesday the commission made few comments about the plans. Chairman Bob Flanagan did voice concerns about the site’s uneven topography. Wendell’s representatives explained how the engineers were designing the project to overcome those kinds of obstacles.

Plans call for the construction of the facility to face the recently extended Borden Mowery Drive that runs through the North Shenandoah Industrial and Business Park. The facility also will lie adjacent to an extended Colley Block Road. The town’s community plan calls for the two road improvements and Strasburg holds a 50-foot, right-of-way along the parcel.

Pearson notes in his staff report that town departments rarely go through the same process as private developers. Staff recognized that the future of the business park is contingent on the first businesses or buildings located there since the town annexed the area known as the Golden Triangle, Pearson adds. The Department of Public Works and the contractor worked to meet the sections of the UDO on a “very challenging piece of land,” Pearson notes.

Interim Town Manager Jay McKinley said Wednesday that the site plan complies with the regulations.

“I attribute that to the fact that we really did our homework on it, made sure this facility met the intent of the UDO,” McKinley said. “So we spent a lot of time making sure it would pass without a lot of issues.”

All aspects of the exterior design fell under town officials’ scrutiny, from screening to building location. While the plans call for using a metal-framed building, McKinley said they want to put a brick front on the administration area. The design includes landscaping and trees. The storage area and the yard are in the rear of the facility.

The design of the building is about 60 percent complete, McKinley said. Crews with English could break ground on the project in the next month or two and start clearing the site, McKinley said.

The town will cover the $5.5 million project cost, including the land purchase, design, and construction, with a $3.4 million loan and the remaining amount taken from savings in the water and sewer funds.

Earlier in the design process, the cost of the project came in higher than desired. The Planning Commission and town officials scaled back the design by about 30 percent to bring the cost down. The reduced space should still suffice for the department, McKinley said. The design does allow for expansion in the future if necessary, he added.

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