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BY DAN McFARLAND
Orange supervisors have accepted a deed for right of way from Walmart at the eastern edge of the county, where the retailer initially planned to build a SuperCenter.
Walmart's first site was near State Routes 3 and 20 in the Wilderness battlefield area. But after the Board of Supervisors approved a special-use permit to allow construction there in 2009, resistance from historic-preservation groups and individuals led Walmart to change its plans in early 2011.
Walmart said at that time that it would build another store elsewhere in the Route 3 corridor and preserve the original site by buying the land but not developing it. It also agreed to compensate Orange County for legal and administrative expenses related to the project.
The deed offered by Walmart included two sections. The first, a 25-foot-wide section totaling about two-tenths of an acre adjacent to the north side of Route 3 on the county's eastern border, is for a potential lane addition to Route 3.
The second is a 70-foot-wide section consisting of almost three acres that meets Route 3 between the 7-Eleven and the Wells Fargo Bank properties and extends west behind the bank and adjacent retail center. Its purpose is to allow the county to build an access road parallel to Route 3.
The offer included a request for a determination by the supervisors that the donation was consistent with the county comprehensive plan. The supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the right of way.
The remaining 47 acres of the Walmart property will be donated to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources as soon as arrangements can be made, according to Walmart spokesman William C. Wertz.
"This will complete our commitment to ensure that the land is preserved for future generations and not developed commercially," Wertz said.
In other business at their meeting Tuesday, supervisors re-elected board Chairman Teel Goodwin and Vice Chairman Lee Frame to those positions for another year.