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Orange wants 3-D look at impact of proposed Wal-Mart
Developer files special-use permit request for Orange County Wal-Mart

 A plan for a Wal-Mart in Orange County calls for an indoor retail area of 133,481 square feet, with a 4,748-square-foot outdoor garden center.
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Date published: 12/10/2008

BY ROBIN KNEPPER

An Orange County official has asked a developer to use 3-D computer imagery to show the impact a proposed Wal-Mart will have on the scenery in the Wilderness Battlefield area.

Community Development Director David Grover said he has asked JDC Ventures of Vienna for a "computerized view-shed analysis" to supplement its request for a special-use permit to build the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Grover said the application filed with his office Friday "appears to be largely complete."

The Wal-Mart would cover 19.5 acres of a 51.5-acre commercially zoned tract a quarter-mile off State Route 3 just inside the border of Orange and Spotsylvania counties.

The slightly revised site plan shows the store's indoor retail area would cover 133,481 square feet, with a 4,748-square-foot outdoor garden center. It would not offer auto repair or sell fuel.

In addition to Wal-Mart, the developer's plan includes three out-parcels totaling 14.5 acres for retail development. The rest of the tract, adjacent to Wilderness Run, is in a 100-year flood plain and can't be developed.

A special-use permit is required by the county's ordinance for retail stores of more than 60,000 square feet. Supervisors passed the big-box ordinance in June in anticipation of the Wal-Mart proposal.

Although it is not required by the big-box ordinance, Grover said he has asked the developer to prepare a visual-impact analysis of the proposed development.

Historical preservation groups say the Supercenter is a bad fit with the nearby Wilderness Civil War battlefield and have asked Wal-Mart to seek another site in the county. And some in the county have raised concerns about development's impact on the Route 3 area, separate from the battlefield issue.

Grover said a visual-impact assessment "can superimpose the building on the site and create 3-D views from that site."

"It allows you to show what it's going to look like from different points. I'm concerned about how it's going to look from Route 3 and approaching Orange County from the east," he said.

While the Wal-Mart plan has remained essentially the same as the preliminary site plan submitted in the spring, some changes have been made.


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