NORTHAMPTON TOWNSHIP >> Plans for a new Wawa in the heart of Richboro are scheduled to go before the township’s Planning Commission and zoning hearing board in April.
Provco Pinegood Northampton LLC has submitted plans to the township to build a 5,585 square foot store with 16 fuel pumps and 50 parking spaces at Buck, Holland and Rocksville roads across from the Pheasant Valley Shopping Center. The site is zoned for commercial use and is located in the village overlay District.
The new store would replace Wawa’s much smaller existing store, which is located across the street from the site at 236 Holland Road.
The zoning hearing board will consider an appeal regarding Wawa on April 12. The next night, April 13 the planning commission will review plans for the convenience store and gas station. Both meetings will take place via Zoom with links available on the township’s website.
The zoning board case involves an appeal filed by neighboring resident Mohan Ranade challenging the action of the township’s zoning officer who accepted the subdivision and land development application from Provco.
The zoning officer concluded that the proposed use of the property is a permitted retail store use in the C-2 Zoning District with an accessory fuel pump and dispensing use.
In his appeal, Ranade argues that the zoning officer “misinterpreted and/or misapplied” the relevant provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.
Residents from the Holland section of the township have voiced support and opposition to the plan. In 2020, residents posted competing online petitions at Change.org - one in favor and one against the proposed convenience store and gas station.
At a township meeting in October, Hope Road resident Pam Duffy called on the board of supervisors to reject the plans.
“Please do not approve building this monstrous Super Wawa in beautiful, quaint Holland,” said Duffy. “Even though the land is zoned C-2, this eyesore does not belong in a mostly residential area. We don’t need it. There’s a small Wawa right across the street that meets our needs. There’s a Shell gas station next door that will become a blight because no one can compete with Wawa. We have two Super Wawas – one in Richboro and the one they just built at Bustleton and Street roads - within three miles of the proposed site.”
Duffy launched an online petition, which has garnered more than 1,000 signatures against the project.
“We don’t want this here. We are your residents. We want you do to the best you can for us and we’d like you to listen to us, please,” she said. “Holland is a beautiful, quaint village. Most of it is residential. There are so many issues with this. Please, please think about your friends and neighbors here. There’s light pollution. The creek is right there. It’s gas station. They’re going to put 100,000 gallons of gas in the ground. Most of the people have well water in this area. We do not on Hope Road, but most of our neighbors do. My two neighobrs at the end of the street will be 125 feet from the gas pumps. Please hear us,” she said.
“We’re begging you. This will destroy our beautiful, quaint village.”
An online petition supporting the Wawa posted by Pam Nicholls, argues that a “stylish new Wawa” will “enrich and improve our community.
“This proposal will have significant positive effects on the livelihood and lifestyle of local residents and our sense of community,” reads the petition. “Get ready to welcome Wawa to the quaint feel of the Holland Village area. This is a wonderful addition to our community!
“Look forward to lower gas prices, plentiful hot and pre-prepared foods and friendly staff, new good paying-jobs (with great benefits) and many convenience items at fair prices.”
In addition, the petition says that Wawa is known to support local residents. “For example they worked with Children’s Hospital to deliver items a small child needed during his treatment for free by FedEx twice a week for two years. There are countless stories like this.
A new Wawa, says the petition, would also save residents “gas and time driving to other neighboring towns. Keep our tax dollars local and support the new Wawa!”
The zoning application and accompanying documents are available for public review by contacting Mike Solomon, Director of Planning and Zoning, at 215-357-6800ext. 214 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other planning and zoning news, Supervisors Barry Moore announced that zoning hearing board on April 22 will hear an appeal by Trinity Reformed UCC to develop part of its property with townhouses and apartments.
The church is located at 1400 Buck Road (Route 532) and East Village Road in the Holland section of the township.
Not far away, plans are also under review by the township for nine single family homes in the R3 zoning district on Stoneyford Road near the Village Shires Shopping Center.