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Wal-Mart coming to King George!

Final site plan to be reviewed this week by Planning Commission

A Wal-Mart is the anchor store of a site plan of a retail development up for approval this week in King George.  
The Planning Commission is slated to review a final site plan for a project called King George Gateway, which indicates an anchor store containing 133,473 square feet.  
This week’s review and approval is slated for Tuesday, August 11, after The Journal goes to press with this issue.
The applicant is listed as OMZ King George LLC, represented by Edward Murphy, though tax maps indicate that the bulk of the property appears to currently be owned by Monmouth West Limited Partnership.
The brief staff report, comprised of one page with a cover sheet, does not mention Wal-Mart.  No formal announcement has been made by Wal-Mart or the applicant about siting a store in King George.  
Nor is Wal-Mart prominently named on the final site plan drawings.  But at least two sheets of the 83-sheet plan set refer to Wal-Mart construction details by name.  

 

 

Sheet 4 refers to a pictured design of a light pole base which is captioned, “Wal-Mart Light Base Detail,” and sheet 5 has instructions for, “Foundation Subsurface Preparation Wal-Mart Store (#5779-00).”
16 sheets are listed on the site plan index as having been removed from the complete plan set, likely because they contain the name, “Wal-Mart” and/or proprietary engineering.  The site plan was prepared by The Engineering Groupe, Inc., of Fredericksburg.
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry declined to comment on the planned development, neither confirming nor denying that Wal-Mart is part of the proposal.  
Wal-Mart has become skittish about announcing new stores until after all local approvals have been obtained.  That’s because plans for siting the ubiquitous chain stores are not always met with universal appeal, and sometimes actual protests take place.  
King George has been buzzing about the possibility of a Wal-Mart being sited in Dahlgren off and on for the last several years, with speculation heightening in the last couple of years.
Most of the expressed public opinion has been overwhelmingly positive by residents clamoring for retail shopping alternatives within the county.
The approval of the final site plan is the main action required by the county, since the commercial development is in line with the existing zoning.  
ACREAGE & ZONING
The property for this phase of the development contains about 124 acres zoned Retail Trade District (C-1) and General Trade District (C-2).  Retail sales are permitted by right in both the C-1 and C-2 zoning districts.
The plan for Phase I depicts a total of 214,748 square feet of retail space including the anchor store, with an additional 81,275 square feet of retail space broken into 10 multi-tenant retail spaces.  The plan shows 1,419 parking spaces.
It also indicates a row of seven additional pad sites fronting along US 301.  The staff report says site plans for those sites will be submitted separately.
LOCATION
The retail development is planned on several parcels on the west side of US 301 in Dahlgren.  
That’s directly across US 301 from the Dahlgren Technology Center, where office space for several government contractors is located off Commerce Drive. The property is south of Chatham Village and Monmouth, with the Sheetz station fronting those subdivisions on US 301.  
The planned Dahlgren Education and Research Center post-graduate facility will be constructed on the south side of the shopping center property.  
Access is provided to the state-owned university property by the retail development’s main entrance to be constructed into the Gateway development.  
Bayberry subdivision is farther south of US 301.
All of the property to be developed will be served by internal roads with two entrances from US 301.  
The main entrance will be directly across from, and a continuation of, Commerce Drive, but named “University Drive,” with the site plan requiring a traffic signal at that intersection with US 301.  
A second traffic light is slated for future installation at a second entrance to be named, “Market Center,” about 1,300 feet to the north of the first light.  Both entrances will provide access to the development served by a grid of internal cross roads to be constructed.
Other transportation improvements on US 301 include creating turn lanes.  
Letters of approval are included with the staff report from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the King George County Service Authority, which will provide water and sewer service to the development.
There is no reference to how traffic is expected to be increased or affected by the development and the signaling to be constructed.  
During holiday weekends, that section of US 301 experiences slow-downs resulting in backups for vehicles travelling north to go across the Harry W. Nice Bridge over the Potomac River.  
Last month, on the 4th of July weekend, it was backed up for 10 miles to the Circle intersection at Route 205.  
FUTURE DEVELOPMENT    
The plans indicate a Future Phase II idea for additional retail development between Monmouth and Chatham Village subdivisions on the north end and the current Phase I plan.  
Future Phase II is earmarked for 23 acres also owned by Monmouth West Limited Partnership fronting on US 301.  
Behind that, there is another parcel containing 11.7 acres owned by Ed and Joy Veazey not currently indicated in the plan for development.
A retail broker’s website indicates plans proposing a future office development on adjacent property containing about 40 acres behind the Dahlgren Education and Research Center post-graduate facility, and an additional opportunity for development of two possible hotels along US 301 south of the pad sites on four acres.

 

By Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter

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