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A Zoning Change Would Allow for Drive-thru Wawa on Lincoln Highway in Falls

A Zoning Change Would Allow for Drive-thru Wawa on Lincoln Highway in Falls | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

Falls is considering a zoning change to help revive a stagnant shopping center with a new addition — a Wawa with gas pumps.

 

Supervisors voted Monday to advertise rezoning a portion of the Fairless Hills Shopping Center at 500 Lincoln Highway from shopping center to highway commercial.

 

The move could allow for the construction of a 5,500-square-foot Wawa with gas pumps on a 2-acre site currently occupied by an existing restaurant — Arosso, A Touch of Sicily. If approved, the restaurant that sits in the shopping center's parking lot would be demolished and move into a storefront in the center.

 

Falls attorney Lauren Gallagher said during a meeting Monday that gas pumps could be permitted under a conditional use. 

 

Even if the zoning is changed, supervisors would not be obligated to approve the Wawa, Gallagher said.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

On Sept 23, 2020, the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted in favor of a "curative" zoning amendment that would allow a Wawa to be built on the Newtown Bypass. The vote was 3-2 in favor. Kyle Davis and I voted no.

 

The amendment passed by Newtown, however, specifically does not allow a drive-thru Wawa. However, the amendment specifies approval of any application to build by "special exception," which means approval is up the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) - NOT the Supervisors as in the case of Falls. The ZHB is notorious for granting "variances," which Wawa may ask for to (1) add additional fuel pumps than the 12 allowed, (2) add a Drive-thru window, (3) sell alcoholic beverages (e.g.,beer) on site, etc. - all of which are not allowed in the special amendment passed by the NT BOS.

 

A little history - "A Wawa in the Park": Silver Lake Park at the intersection of the Bypass and Lindenhurst Rd achieved fame in May 2017 when a certain Supervisor suggested it as a potential site for Wawa (read "Idea To Bring Wawa To Newtown" https://patch.com/pennsylvania/newtown-pa/idea-bring-wawa-newtown-be-discussed-wednesday). Two supervisors attempted to pursue this at the time after talking to an owner of an athletic club who was also approached by Wawa to build on property he had a stake in another property on the Bypass. All this happened before I was elected a supervisor in November 2017.

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Newtown News of Interest
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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