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[Martinsburg] Henshaw Orchard 1,100-acre sprawl

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Land slated for development

By Naomi Smoot, The Journal [Martinsburg], July 25, 2007

If a 1,100-acre community is approved, the small community of Gerrardstown could be home to Henshaw Orchard, home to 3,550 residential units on the site of an apple orchard. National Fruit Product Company previously owned the land along WV 51 in Berkeley County, but sold the property last year following a merger with Winchester, Virginia-based NFP Holdings LLC.

The development plans include 300 apartments, 705 townhomes, 234 duplexes, 1,381 single-family homes, 630 residences for active adults (???), and 300 convalescent care units. The total should be more than 3,000 new residences that could house approximately 8,875 people. That's 60% of the population of Martinsburg, home to just 14,792 (2000 census). It is far larger than any project approved recently in the county's southern end, where in 2006, only 138 new residential units had final plat approval. An additional 374 units were granted preliminary plat approval.

Along with the residential units, it will contain a 300,000 sq. ft. shopping center, 100,000 sq. ft. of office space, and a 15,000 sq. ft. day care. Around 40.7 acres of the 1,100 acre community will be "open space."

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Gerrardstown project raises questions

By Naomi Smoot, The Journal [Martinsburg], July 27, 2007

The talk of the town is literally revolving around a planned 3,550-unit residential development on 1,000-acres at an apple orchard. The development, known originally as Henshaw Orchard, was recently renamed to Orchard Mill. It could contain 8,875 new residents.

There are many concerns regarding the proposed development, including increased traffic congestion on two-lane highways such as WV 51. It already takes as long as 20 minutes to travel four miles from Gerrardstown to Inwood during the morning rush-hour. There are also schools that are nearing capacity, and the inclusion of a new development could produce overcrowding situations. Others are worried about the environmental impacts of the development, although the developer noted that orchards are home to "contaminants like arsenic."

These comments are not only coming from the residents, but from county commissioners. The Berkeley County Planning Commission have not yet set any dates for public meetings, and it could be some time before it even reaches this phase. It might not even be constructed due to the softening housing market. Other projects throughout the county are either being constructed at "a snails pace" or have been canceled.

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Gerrardstown project raises questions

By Naomi Smoot, The Journal [Martinsburg], July 27, 2007

The talk of the town is literally revolving around a planned 3,550-unit residential development on 1,000-acres at an apple orchard. The development, known originally as Henshaw Orchard, was recently renamed to Orchard Mill. It could contain 8,875 new residents.

WOW! is Martinsburg your biggest city? 8,000 people would double the population! it will be neat!

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