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University Avenue project gets nod from Morgantown Board of Zoning Appeals

MORGANTOWN — It looks as if big changes are in the works for the vacant lot between Sheetz and Bartlett House, in the 1000 Block of University Avenue.

The Morgantown Board of Zoning Appeals on Monday granted a total of five requests — one for conditional use in the B-4 zoning district and four for variance relief — regarding a  14,536 square-foot nonresidential mixed-use building on the site.

Pittsburgh-based  HardyWorld, LLC is working with  local developer Shawn Fortney on the project, which will include retail on the ground floor and likely office space above.

“Our proposal is a two-story building. We have been working with a national coffee chain to do a drive through at that location and we’re contemplating retail or restaurant uses on the bottom floor and office and/or a mix of retail on the second floor,” HardyWorld Executive Vice President and General Counsel Cheri Bomar said.

Morgantown Interim Director of Planning Services John Whitmore explained that the structure will be two stories along its University Avenue frontage and one story facing Chestnut Street.

While all of the proposed uses of the building are permitted in a B-4 (General Business) district, multi-use nonresidential buildings are not permitted by right in B-4 districts, but require conditional use approval, which was granted.

The board also granted variance relief to allow the building to exceed the B-4 district’s 10-foot maximum setbacks along the building’s front and rear. The structure in question will sit 80.5 feet off University Avenue and 96.1 feet off Chestnut Street in order to allow parking on both sides of the building.

Variance relief was also granted regarding landscaping requirements, lighting design requirements and parking lot screening requirements.

BZA Chairman Harrison Case and members Chris Benison and Garrett Tomblin represented a quorum of the five-member board and voted unanimously on all five items.

According to the HardyWorld website, the project, called The Deck, has an anticipated opening of April 2021.