Attorney John VanLuvanee Proposes Ordinance Change to Allow Super WaWa on Bypass
Land use attorney John VanLuvanee, speaking at a Work Session meeting of the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) on Monday, May 14, 2018, made a case for amending a Township ordinance in order to allow a Wawa Super Store to be located at the southwestern corner of Newtown Bypass and Lower Silver Lake Road.
One major stumbling block is the fact that the site is within the Office Research (OR) zoning district, which does not allow retail stores or the selling of gasoline according to a memorandum prepared by CKS Engineers.
According to Article III, paragraph 300, of the Newtown Area Zoning Jointure (JMZO) an OR zone is specifically intended to "provide for special office and research, industrially related uses on large tracts of land, which will provide a major employment center for the Region while enhancing its open space characteristics and natural features."
"This site is never going to be a corporate headquarters or office building," claimed land use and zoning law attorney John VanLuvanne in remarks to the BOS. Therefore, Mr. VanLuvanne proposed to amend the CO ordinance to allow as a special condition the use of the site for a Super WaWa type convenience store with fuel pumps. Supervisor Mack questioned Mr. VanLuvanne on this issue and asked what, if anything, would be the financial benefit to Newtown. The following is an edited audio excerpt from that discussion.
It should be noted that employment centers envisioned by the OR zone could generate significant Earned Income Tax revenue for the Township. Retail stores, such as WaWa, that pay a wage of $10 per hour to a minimal number of employees, do not provide any significant tax income for the Township.