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Saturday, July 20, 2024

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Planner Calls for New Buildings at Intersection

 

By Jack Fichter

WEST CAPE MAY — Planners and landscape architects, Rhodeside and Harwell, of Alexandria, Va. presented a vision plan for an improved Sunset Boulevard/Broadway intersection Oct. 10 that potentially removes the 7-11 store and Sunset Plaza, housing Brothers II Pizza, Brownies Ice Cream and Burton’s Grille.
All the businesses could continue to operate in new two to three-story buildings designed to fit it with the historic character of West Cape May.
Elliot Rhodeside, director of Rhodeside and Harwell, called the design, “New Urbanism,” which places parking in the rear, with retail on the ground floor with residential and commercial uses on a second floor and possibly a third floor.
While the redevelopment would be dependent on the buildings owners willingness to demolish their current structures and rebuild at their own expense, the borough may be willing to bend zoning regulations to make it an easier task.
Rhodeside presented simulations of how the Sunset Boulevard/Broadway intersection could appear with Sunset Plaza and the 7-11 replaced. The businesses would continue to operate from the ground floor of the new buildings.
Peters Lazos, owner of Sunset Plaza, told the Herald he would like to replace his building. He complimented an artist’s conception that moved parking to the rear of the stores.
Rhodeside reiterated a plan presented at an earlier meeting to create circle at the Park Boulevard/West Perry Street (CVS) intersection to act as a gateway entrance to the borough.
At the center of the circle would be a monument, a statue or sculpture, he said. His vision plan called for an additional store to be constructed in a portion of the CVS parking lot that would resemble the suggested three story buildings for the Sunset Boulevard/Broadway intersection.
Currently, the intersection has six points of access, said Rhodeside. He said circles are supported by the state Main Street/Smart Growth guidelines.
Rhodeside said implementing the vision plan for West Cape May could take 10 to 15 years.
He said he envisioned Broadway should continue as a mixed-use street combining residential, retail and office space with a focus on historic preservation.
New commercial development should be concentrated on West Perry Street and Sunset Boulevard which compliments existing building in the borough, said Rhodeside.
He offered a suggestion for far in the future off placing utility wires underground to further enhance the Sunset Boulevard/Broadway intersection.
For public spaces, Rhodeside suggested light poles that would fit in with the appearance of the historic district with hanging banners and potted plants, wood and metal fences, benches, flowering plants, flowering trees and larger street trees.
“It’s a handsome job you’ve done,” comment an audience member.

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