Conshy Planning Commission votes no Wawa

January 22, 2013 9:12:50 PM PST
The Conshohocken Planning Commission has turned thumbs down on a proposal for another Wawa on Fayette Street.

"I love Wawa. I've always been a fan of Wawa. It just doesn't belong in our neighborhood," Conshohocken resident Elizabeth Patruno said.

Tonight, Conshohocken residents packed Washington Fire Company, fired up about plans to build a 4100 square foot Super Wawa gas station right in the middle of the borough at 11th and Fayette Streets.

"I don't really see the need for a Super Wawa especially since there are already two in the Conshohocken area and I feel the property can be better developed," resident Holly Holst said.

Those against and those for, along with attorneys for each side, stepped to the mic and made their cases to the planning commission.

"Wawa has created about new 40 jobs at these new prototype stores and they become great community partners," developer Michael Cooley said.

That community outreach is the reason Mark Marine wore the Wawa logo on his sweatshirt, showing his support for the popular store.

"It's not just the store. They want to be involved in any youth organization and I thought that was great," Marine said.

For this residential area, the concerns were noise, bright lights, and traffic.

The developer offered experts to each saying there would no significant increase in noise, state of the art LED lights would be used and studies showed the area would be able to handle vehicles safely and efficiently.

But for longtime Conshohocken gas station owner Bob Wilson, he believes a Wawa here would put him out of business after 40 years.

"I can't compete with Wawa. Their sales are in the billions," Wilson said.

In the end, the planning commission voted down the Wawa 2 to 1.

But the developer still plans to move forward and take his fight to the council which will have final say on the proposal.

Obviously, the planning commission's recommendations carry a lot of weight with the council.

Wawa doesn't know when it will make its case in front of borough council members.

Residents who are against this plan say they'll also keep fighting.