Home > Lower Moreland > Lower Moreland Brings Back Wawa Proposal

Lower Moreland Brings Back Wawa Proposal

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Jesse Reilly
The Public Spirit/Globe Times Chronicle

Two months after the Lower Moreland Board of Commissioners voted against a text amendment that would allow a Wawa to move in at the corner of Red Lion Road and Philmont Avenue, the issue is back on the table and moving forward.

In a 5-1 vote Wednesday, with Commissioner Eleanor Schneider dissenting, the board set a public hearing on the matter for its meeting March 16.

The board’s decision to re-asses the plan came after representatives from Wawa agreed to significant road improvements in the area and addressed some issues surrounding the project, board President Fran Devinney said.

“The applicant provided us with a detailed analysis of the project at our last meeting,” Devinney said. “If you want to revitalize you have to take the first step and you’re always going to run into some problems.”

According to preliminary plans, the 1.7-acre property would include a 4,000-square-foot store, much smaller than average Wawas, as well as 12 fueling stations.

The township’s revitalization ordinance, that was passed this summer, does not permit gas stations. It created a new district that includes commercial and residential uses. Some allowable uses include apartments and townhouses, offices, restaurants and retail stores as well as banks and financial institutions.

If the fueling stations were not a part of the plan, the convenience store would be allowed under the new zoning code and a text amendment would not be needed.

Although the board was comfortable moving forward, a number of residents were not.

“Significant public opinion should be telling you that the development is not right for that location,” resident John Derderian said. “But apparently you’re determined to move it forward anyway.”

Resident Jim McGuigan was concerned with the risk the 24-hour store could pose for children in the district.

“Are you planning to sit a police station outside the Wawa,” he asked.

Business owners and members of the township also presented the board with two separate petitions against the Wawa with a combined 1,000 names on them.

“I don’t understand how they’re getting this far,” Ken Traub, co-owner of the Bethayres Market said. “You’re pushing the envelope.”

Although the majority of the board was in favor of moving forward with a public hearing, Commissioner Eleanor Schneider wasn’t.

“My voting against this doesn’t mean that I am opposed to revitalization,” she said. “I just don’t think this a good location for a development that will contaminate the ground in a floodplain.”

In the months leading up to the public hearing the township will complete a traffic study of the area paid for by Wawa.

Republished with the permission of The Public Spirit/Globe Times Chronicle

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