Wawa gas station, road improvements get thumbs-up in Falls, PA
By Thomas Friestad staff writer | May 16, 2017
Falls residents driving to visit relatives during the holiday season will be able to fill up on gas at a new Wawa in the township.
The township supervisors approved a conditional use permit 4-1 Monday evening, allowing the 5,586-square foot store, which will be located at the corner of Pine Grove Road and West Trenton Avenue, to operate gas pumps. The store will be located in the township’s highway commercial district, where a conditional use approval is necessary to operate a fueling station.
Vice Chairman Jeffry Dence was the lone dissenting vote. Dence said the traffic study conducted on the 24-hour Wawa was inadequate. The most recent traffic study was done when the retail area’s plans entailed a restaurant instead of a Wawa, in addition to an unidentified 1,850-square foot fast food restaurant and a 14,578-square foot Rite-Aid.
Even though the state Department of Transportation was satisfied with the study, Dence said, a Wawa could have ramifications for the site formerly occupied by an Acme market.
The developer’s traffic engineer stated that, “Wawa isn’t a destination, it’s more passer-by traffic,” he said. “This may be true in some areas, but in the location where the Wawa is going, there’s actually no gas stations in the area, so it will definitely be a destination.”
Wawa officials prefer building new stores on sites zoned to allow gasoline sales, per its company website
Some residents also had opposed fuel sales on the property, worried about noisy trucks delivering fuel. However, township Manager Peter Gray said Wawa would be attentive to residents’ concerns in arranging delivery schedules.
“They’re going to try to work it out in a way that they won’t deliver during overnight hours,” he said.
The property will have 12 gas and diesel pumping stations. One gas pump will be designed to accommodate those with disabilities, according to a township release. Motorists also will be able to request that employees pump their gas for no additional charge.
The supervisors also unanimously approved a final amended development plan, accounting for the Wawa rather than a second restaurant. Construction is set to run from July through December for the Wawa, which officials expect to service about 900 cars each day.
Bundled in with development plans for the store are multiple road and traffic improvements. These include a new traffic signal on Pine Grove Road, timing improvements to existing signals and 26 handicapped-accessible ramps at nearby intersections and sidewalks.
And Falls’ roadwork won’t end there.
The supervisors also voted 4-0 to give James D. Morrissey Inc. the go-ahead on the township’s 2017 road improvement program. (Dence left the meeting early, saying he would have stayed home with a fever if the Wawa vote wasn’t taking place.)
Gray said the existing Walton Drive roadway will be ripped up and remade anew, complete with new storm sewer pipes. Meanwhile, mill-and-overlay preservation will be conducted on six township roads, including the stretch of Mill Creek Parkway between Falls-Tullytown Road and Levittown Parkway.
The other five roads include:
• Laura Way (Angela Avenue to Lesha Drive)
• Lesha Drive (Rice Drive to Andrew Drive)
• Rice Drive (Lesha Drive to Andrew Drive)
• Andrew Drive (Rice Drive to Makefield Drive)
• Makefield Turn (Woolston Drive to dead end).
Construction likely will begin in June, Gray said, and cost about $1.3 million.