John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Wawa is Back!

Wawa is Back!

On March 17, 2021, attorneys for Provco Pineville Acquisitions, LLC, submitted a Zoning Hearing Board application for a hearing to grant a “special exception” E-30 use to build a Super Wawa combination convenience store and gas station on the SW corner of Newtown Bypass and Lower Silver Lake Road in the Office Research (OR) district. This is the same location as in it’s original application that was presented to the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) back in In May 2018 [Read “Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass”].

Some History

Excerpted from the application:

In October of 2019, Provco submitted a "substantive challenge" to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO) to the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB). Provco's challenge asserts that the JMZO is de jure exclusionary with respect to a "retail store with fuel dispensing facilities" use. Alternatively, the zoning application requested a use variance to allow a retail store with fuel dispensing facilities at the Property.

Prior to an evidentiary hearing being held on the Application, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors ("BOS"), together with boards of supervisors of Wrightstown Township and Upper Makefield Township, amended the JMZO by adopting JMZO Ordinance #2020-02 ("Ordinance Amendment".) The Ordinance Amendment, in addition to other provisions, amended section 501.A.3 of the JMZO (OR District) to permit a Use E-30 Motor Vehicle Fueling and Convenience Store by special exception and listing criteria therefor. Applicant granted the ZHB an extension of the time within which the ZHB must hold a hearing on the 2019 Zoning Application through December 31, 2021.

The amendment passed by the JMZO allows the E-30 use in the OR zone of Newtown as well as other locations in Wrightstown and Upper Makefield.  [Read “Discussions of E-30 Zoning Amendment”  for more details about the curative amendment.]

Wawa Still Pushing for Variances
Wawa Gas Canopy® Stack 8-Frame [Source: March 17, 2021, Zoning Hearing Board Application]

The new Provco application still requires several variances, including:

  • To permit a Use E-30 Motor Vehicle Fueling and Convenience Store with eight (8) fuel dispensers on the 4.95 acre Property where six (6) fuel dispensers are permitted by right;
  • Various signage variances such as locating a wall sign to be located within 1,000 feet of and facing the limited access portion of the Newtown Bypass;
  • Applicant also proposes two (2) electronic message center monument signs - one (1) of 49.9 square feet in area and 10' in height located along the Newtown Bypass, and one (1) of 35 square feet in area and 8' in height located along Lower Silver Lake Road. Electronic signs are prohibited throughout Newtown Township and especially not on the Bypass – not even within 1,000 feet of the Bypass. Electronic signage has been denied to other gas station owners such as Rick Steele’s.

NOTE: JMZO Ordinances do not allow signs along the Bypass and prohibit electronic signs. See JMZO General Signage Ordinance: “Properties Located Along Non-Limited Access Portion of the Route 332 and Route 413 Bypass. No sign located within 1,000 feet of the Route 332 or the Route 413 Bypass legal rights-of-way shall face onto the Bypass so that the message or symbol on the sign may be visible from any location within the Bypass legal rights-of-way…” and “Electronic message centers are prohibited within the Jointure.”

One variance NOT requested concerns an electric vehicle charging station such as a Tesla SuperCharging station. There are quite a quite a number of Tesla owners in the Newtown area. This is something specifically requested by Newtown request and the new zoning ordinance requires a minimum of one electric vehicle charging station for Use E-30 when located in the OR District.

There are several steps and public meetings/hearings before this application reaches the ZHB for its decision. Meanwhile...

What Do You Think?
Should Newtown Allow a Super WaWa on the Bypass? Take My Survey

DISCLAIMER: This is not an official Newtown Township approved survey. Its purpose is solely to inform John Mack – a Newtown Supervisor – of the public’s opinion regarding this issue.

Posted on 18 Mar 2021, 11:11 - Category: Development

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