Auto Zone Site Plan On Route 50 Approved

Auto Zone Site Plan On Route 50 Approved
The approved site plan for the new Auto Zone on Route 50 is pictured. File Photo

BERLIN – The Berlin Planning Commission approved updated plans for an Auto Zone on Route 50.

The commission on Wednesday voted 6-0 to approve plans for an Auto Zone near the intersection of Route 50 and Seahawk Road. The approval came after developers added architectural elements to the proposed store in response to concerns voiced by the commission earlier this month.

“It looks great,” commission member Austin Purnell said.

After reviewing plans for an Auto Zone proposed for the site of the former McDonalds on Feb. 10, commission members asked developers to make a few improvements to the building and soften the design of the store. They held a special meeting this week to reconsider the plans once changes had been made.

Applicant Kevin Murphy said he’d made a variety of adjustments based on previous comments. He added four faux windows to the building and created three different roof height variations. A decorative cornice was also added around the roof line.

“By my account this is five to six architectural variations to please the commission,” he said.

Three trees have also been added to the front of the site. Planning Director Dave Engelhart said developers had begun improving the plan the day after the commission’s last meeting.

“They jumped on that right away,” he said, adding that the trees wouldn’t impact stormwater or the view line on Route 50.

Chris Denny, chair of the commission, said the area could be improved further once the old Harley Davidson property was redeveloped. Commission member Pete Cosby agreed.

“The building at least has some interest now,” he said. “Given the commercial nature of this area … it’s about as good as we can do I guess.”

When asked whether they wanted the building in Auto Zone’s traditional grey color scheme or in an earth tone color scheme, the commission agreed they wanted the latter.

Denny said he appreciated the adjustments the company had made to the store.

“It would’ve been nicer to see this the first time around,” he said.

The commission voted 6-0 to approve the site plan.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.