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Penndel Zoning Board Approves Variances for Wawa Project

By Vic Monaco, correspondent | Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2016

If all goes smoothly, the construction of a proposed Wawa store and adjacent pharmacy in Penndel will begin this fall and take 12 to 15 months to complete.

That was the word Wednesday night after the borough’s zoning hearing board voted 3-0 to approve three minor dimensional variances for the project eyed for 3 acres bounded by Old Lincoln Highway and Bellevue, Park and Lincoln avenues.

Project attorney Tom Hecker and developer Tom Verrichia provided the construction timeline after a 40-minute presentation to the board. Hecker said he is hopeful of being able to make a more detailed presentation to the borough planning commission by March as the development team continues to work out traffic changes with PennDOT and seek approvals from such entities as the state Department of Environmental Protection and the county Soil Conservation District.

Project engineer Adam Benosky testified that the redevelopment of the land would improve serious drainage problems around the site. He said the land has no stormwater controls and the plan includes a rain garden that would detain water underground, and “greatly reduce” the rate of flow from the site. The project also would reduce impervious coverage by 13 percent, he added.

The project has been planned since 2012 and many details were revealed Wednesday night. Chief among them:

Verrichia said ongoing environmental testing at the site, part of which was home to a PECO building with hydraulic lifts, indicates the need for a “normal cleanup”
Hecker said the developer has agreements of sale with five of the seven owners of properties on the site and the other two “are on board” with the project, having given consent to Wednesday’s presentation
the Wawa store, comprising 5,605 square feet, would front on Bellevue with another entrance on Lincoln Avenue
there would be one traffic access to the development on each of the four streets
the pharmacy would be closest to Park Avenue
there would be 12 gas pumps under an 18-foot canopy
the project would include sidewalks surrounding the site along with trees and grass

Hecker pointed out to the board that the project would increase the tax base of the small borough. After the hearing, Verrichia said it is too soon to quantify that.

About two dozen people attended the hearing. None testified for or against the project.

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