Thursday, Aug. 13-New Wal-Mart Super Center Plans Move Ahead

SNOW HILL – The Wal-Mart Super Center slated for construction behind the existing Berlin Wal-Mart received site plan approval last week.

The Worcester County Planning Commission required several changes in the site plan before approving the project.

The new, 193,000-square-foot Super Wal-Mart, including a grocery store and drive-up pharmacy, will replace the roughly 100,000-square-foot existing store. The redevelopment will also add three out lots or pad sites.

The current store will remain open while the new one is built. When the Super Center is complete, the original store will be demolished.

Developers began working with the county on the new Super Wal-Mart three years ago, first bringing in elevations that looked like a more generic strip mall.            Over the winter, the developer brought in new elevations created to conform to proposed architectural guidelines.

Project planners had already made some changes to the site plan previously requested by the planning commission during sketch plan review, such as reducing parking around one future pad site, and turning it into a grassed area.

“Now we’re parked essentially at code, not above it,” said engineer Mike Birkland of Bowman Consulting Group.

The store will provide transportation from a temporary parking area to the store, he said, though the company has not determined the form of that transportation, whether golf cars, vans or buses. That area could also be assigned as employee parking.

“That would eliminate the need for customers to come from that area,” Birkland said.

Traffic into and out of the site, as well as within the site, was a major topic of discussion between the planning commission and Wal-Mart planners.

Birkland said there would be another light added to Route 50. That second light was approved when the Ocean Landing II commercial development to the west of the existing Wal-Mart and Home Depot was approved several years ago, said Wal-Mart attorney Mark Cropper.

For all full story, and dozens of other news articles of the week, see The Dispatch tomorrow morning.