Update From Supervisors On Proposed Wawa Project
Supervisors: Wawa Plan is Dead
Despite media coverage portraying otherwise, plans for a super Wawa have been “dead” since the Falls Township Zoning Hearing Board unanimously rejected the plan last year.
If the Falls Township Supervisors had supported plans to construct a super Wawa on West Trenton Avenue, officials would have voiced its support to the zoning hearing board. And, when the plan was rejected, the board would have appealed the board’s decision.
“We didn’t do that,” Supervisors Chairman Robert Harvie said. “We didn’t take that position.”
Instead, the supervisors, realizing that portions of the township’s zoning ordinance were outdated and illegal – making the township susceptible to litigation - waited until the Wawa proposal was rejected and the appeal period had ended before taking steps to revise the ordinance.
“We weren’t going to change anything until after we knew what was going to happen with that project,” Harvie said.
Failure to make changes to the ordinance leaves the township open to winnable lawsuits that would waste township taxpayers’ money.
“The state law supersedes ours,” Harvie said. “Our ordinance just is not legal.”
A misrepresentation in the press twisted what would have been a simple housekeeping item to update portions of the township’s zoning as it relates to automobile service stations. The board had no hidden agenda in amending the ordinance.
The best interests of township residents are at the forefront of all decisions.
That’s why, when residents voiced concerns about the provision to decrease the distance between service stations from 1,500 feet to 500 feet, the supervisors, following a suggestion from Supervisor Jeff Rocco, voted unanimously to keep that portion of the ordinance as it currently stands. The board also voted to re-advertise the proposed ordinance amendments, which will bring the matter back before the board of supervisors and open it up again for public comment during a future meeting.
Should Wawa resubmit a plan, Harvie said the supervisors, as well as the zoning hearing board and the planning commission would all have to review any plans before any projects could move forward. The review process is open and members of the public are always welcome to share their comments and concerns.
As of now, the township does not have a plan for Wawa, or any other service stations.