BAR Reviews Sharpe Site

BLYTHEWOOD – Shortly after convening for its regular monthly meeting at the Manor on Monday evening, the Board of Architectural Review and its audience took a 20-minute field trip to the backside of Larry Sharpe’s EXXON/Bojangles facility on Blythewood Road, which is undergoing what the meeting agenda termed Rehabilitation. The BAR has given conditional approval for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for the rehabilitation of the building that houses the gas station and Bojangles restaurant. Members of the BAR have, for several months, been considering changes they would like Sharpe to make to the rear parking lot of his facility where they say 18-wheelers and smaller trucks pull into the lot off McNulty Road that runs behind the EXXON/Bojangles, often swerving across McNulty, causing unsafe driving conditions for other vehicles traveling along that end of McNulty Road.

The point of interest of the field trip was to view and discuss the section of the parking lot along the curve of McNulty Road that fronts part of McNulty Plaza, Subway, the Comfort Inn and McDonalds. After some discussion at the site between the BAR members, Town Administrator John Perry, architectural advisor Matt Davis and Sharpe, it was decided that Sharpe would install a pair of 5-inch high, 18-inch wide, sloped rollover curbs that would delineate an island where the parking area meets McNulty Road. The five-inch high curbing outline would be filled with concrete, scored and tinted to emulate brick pavers.

“Small trucks and automobiles will tend to avoid it (the raised curbing),” Perry speculated, and big trucks will follow the tracking of the curbing rather than swerve into the roadway. They will drive over the rollover curb as intended.

Perry also discussed future possibilities for that section of the road to improve traffic flow and make it safer for vehicles and pedestrians, including resurfacing and making the road one-way with traffic turning left out of McDonalds, but he said that would be part of separate projects. Perry explained that one of the problems in moving forward on improvements to McNulty Road is that portions of the McNulty roadway are actually owned in fee simple by Sharpe and that he has some long-standing obligations to the Comfort Inn and McDonalds in terms of truck parking and traffic flow. There is a prescriptive easement for the town to use the road.

Perry said the BAR could require the project to be completed in 120 days as a condition of the COA. The Board voted unanimously to grant Sharpe an unqualified COA, contingent upon Davis signing off on the project being built as designed.

In other business, the Board discussed ‘Subcommittee Updates,’ for subcommittees that they say have not met. Bob Mangone, who chairs the Training Committee, asked members to submit training ideas they would like to see implemented. Dr. Michael Langston said he and Mike Switzer have talked about lighting and signage for the town. The Chair and committee member of the Interior Regulations for Historic Structures Committee were not present, but BAR Chair Langston led a discussion of needs for regulations for historic structures in the town.

Three members of the Blythewood Historical Society, Karen Kuhner, Frankie McLain and Chris Keefer, asked to be added to the agenda. They expressed their concern about the upkeep and maintenance of the interior of the Hoffman House (Town Hall) should it ever be occupied by a group other than the Town government. They asked that steps be taken to preserve the historic nature of the building since it is on the National Registry.

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