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Developer requests rezoning for new Sheetz station in Shepherdstown

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Dec 11, 2020

The location of Shepherdstown's current Sheetz station is leased. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shepherdstown may be getting a new Sheetz service station in the future, if a zoning map amendment is passed by the Jefferson County Commission.

During the JCC’s regular session meeting on Dec. 3, via the GoToWebinar platform, the JCC discussed the rezoning request, which was recommended by the Jefferson County Planning Commission.

“The role of the Planning Commission is to provide input into whether a suggestion fits within the comprehensive plan,” said County Planner Jennifer Brockman, referring to Jefferson County’s comprehensive plan.

Specifically, the comprehensive plan’s Step Urban Growth boundary is what the JCPC consulted, before submitting this recommendation.

“This property is within the Step Urban Growth boundary,” Brockman said. “The only comment of note is that the comprehensive plan wanted a mandatory mix of commercial and residential use in the property, but the request here is only to rezone a portion of that property. The Planning Commission found it within lines of the comprehensive plan.”

The three-way stop light will likely be turned into a four-way stop light, if the Jefferson County Commission chooses to rezone a portion of land across from Maddex Square. Tabitha Johnston

According to Brockman, one reason the JCPC recommended this rezoning of the land from Residential Growth to Residential-Light Industrial-Commercial, is because it will only include 5.4 acres of the 23.48-acre property. The property is owned by James Van Evera III.

“The discussion was that they only wanted to rezone a portion of the property. The other parts of the area is asked to remain recreational,” Brockman said. “Because of this, the planning commission’s recommendation is that we go ahead with this rezoning.”

According to William H. Gordon Associates, Inc., Senior Project Manager Chad Wallen, the land will be used to build a new and larger Sheetz gasoline station, with a car wash and drive-thru window. The current Sheetz, located at 8332 Martinsburg Pike, is a leased property, and will be evacuated after the new station, at 7948 Martinsburg Pike, would be built.

“The property is across from the Maddex Square development,” Wallen said, mentioning it’s 2,000 feet down the road from the current Sheetz station. “What we propose is a new Sheetz convenience store with 10 pumps and a 6,000 foot blueprint. Right now, the property sits on a signalized intersection. Currently, there are three legs to the intersection, and this will punch in the fourth leg. It’s within our future growth plan.

“We would prefer a new building with a nicer structure,” Wallen said. “Moving into this, we have met with the Department of Highways, and it has become clear this will become a four-way intersection with controlled lights.”

While the JCC agreed to continue pursuing the property’s rezoning, it was not without dispute from the local community. Jefferson County Vision president and longtime Shepherdstown resident Stacy Tabb questioned the need for an entirely new gas station near Shepherdstown, and pointed out that the current building location for the station would require two historic homes on the property to be taken down.

“Yes, there is a Sheetz down the street, but it’s a small footprint. It seems excessive to have four gas stations in Shepherdstown, with this gas station added as well. It would be more appropriate to access the site from the bike pass, and to preserve those two existing historic homes at the entrance of the property,” Tabb said, mentioning she also thought the development plan lacked consideration of pedestrians. “Shepherdstown appreciates walkability. I think it’s something that should be considered by the developer — the impact of safety to people walking in and out.

“As far as growth, I’m not going to deny it’s not needed, but some of the details of what’s being presented, their exact fit for this area, I’m not sure that’s quite clear,” Tabb said.

The JCC will make a final decision on the rezoning amendment next week. To participate in the community comment period on the matter, email JCC President Jane Tabb at vinemont.farm@gmail.com, Commissioner Patsy Noland at commissionerpnoland@gmail.com, Commissioner Josh Compton at jjcompton05@gmail.com and Commissioner Caleb Hudson at calebhudsonforjeffersonwv@gmail.com.