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Media Borough Council Not in Favor of Super Wawa Concept Plan

Wawa again presented a concept plan to Media Borough Council for a proposed Super Wawa at Baltimore Avenue and Route 252.

representatives to at Thursday's workshop meeting for a proposed Super Wawa at Baltimore Avenue and Route 252 and several members of council were not in favor of the plan as it stands currently.

Wawa has not yet submitted a formal plan to council or the planning commission. Wawa would need borough council approval to purchase and alter Baker Street, which runs through the proposed Wawa and would need to be altered in order for the project to move forward.

Super Wawa Concept Plan

The possible Super Wawa at the vacant lot bordered by State Street, Providence Road and Baltimore Avenue would include a retail store, 72 parking spaces and a gas station at the 1.73 acre lot.

Robert Linn, Wawa's architect and representative, presented council with the concept plan that also included a decorative brick wall around the property, seating on the Baltimore Avenue side and Media's logo and welcome sign in the decorative wall to showcase the gateway to the borough.

Linn said the Super Wawa would be a 24/7 operation, bring new jobs and the two Wawa's that already exist in the area would remain open. The possible Super Wawa would wrap around that sits on the corner and the on Providence Road would be removed.

The vacant lot, where the Media Inn formerly sat, is owned by . And while no formal plan for any business or building has been presented to borough council or the planning commission there has been talk of a 30,000 square foot office building or a Dollar Store also being constructed at the empty lot.

Traffic

Traffic was the main focus of concern around the possible project.

Wawa's traffic planner Matt Hammond said the traffic a Wawa would bring, would be less than the traffic an office building would bring.

Hammond, who had not yet conducted a formal traffic study, explained that an office building would bring more "new trips" compared to a Wawa, because Wawa generates mostly "passerby trips." Meaning, people who are already driving or passing by, enroute to a destination, will stop at the Wawa but people driving to a new office building or destination that now exists would bring "new" traffic to the area.

Hammond said a preliminary study showed that Wawa would bring 88 new trips (or 44 vehicles) while an office building would bring 112 new trips (or 56 vehicles) to the area during peak rush hour times.

Council Opinions

Borough Council President Brian Hall and Councilmen Dr. Eric Stein, Kent Davidson and Monica Simpson each said they were against the concept plan. Councilwomen Monika Rehoric and Dawn Roe each said she was in favor of exploring the plan further and that it deserved more consideration. Councilman Paul Robinson was absent from the meeting.

Hall said he was not impressed with the preliminary traffic study and believed a Wawa would increase traffic.

Hall said Wawa is a great corporation but the quality of the traffic that a Super Wawa would bring does not coincide with the borough's small town ambiance and pedestrian traffic.

He said Wawa customers are in and out of the store quickly and they do not stick around. An office building or store would bring a different clientele and those people may stop and stay for awhile, he said.

Stein said he didn't think Wawa was a good fit for that location because of the already congested intersection.

"It would make a bad situation, worse," Stein said.

Rehoric said she was initially concerned with the traffic issues but was happy to see that Wawa pushed back the vehicle entrances to the property on both Baltimore Avenue and Providence Road.

"I'm not totally opposed to this," Rehoric said. "We are always going to have traffic issues there. Traffic is a nightmare at that intersection. But I'm in favor of exploring this more."

Media Mayor Bob McMahon said Wawa is the best option for the lot that has sat vacant for six or seven years, compared to the possibility of an office building or Dollar Store. However, he said, council has to be satisfied with the traffic issue and the houses directly behind the property would also be a concern.

Davidson pointed out that if a traffic study was done now, it would not be accurate because , has yet to be constructed and would likely affect traffic in that area as well.

Roe said her concerns mostly regarded Baker Street but said the concept deserved further consideration.

Baker Street

Baker Street, which runs through the possible Super Wawa, would need to be altered and borough council would need to approve the roadway change in order for the project to move forward.

Baker Street, in the basic sense, dead ends at Manchester Avenue but technically that is not the case. A vehicle can not drive through the intersection of Baker and Manchester. There is a small staircase there, leading to the remainder of Baker Street, which is an alley or parking lot that runs between several houses that face State Street and a strip of stores that face Baltimore Avenue. (See the attached photos).

Wawa is proposing to turn Baker Street at a 90 degree angle, at the end of the row of houses, to run behind the proposed Wawa and on to State Street.

"You'd be trading one alley for another and there is not a lot of activity there now," Linn said during his presentation.

Wawa representatives left the meeting following their presentation and prior to council's discussion. After much council discussion at the meeting, borough council members went in to executive session to discuss the Baker Street issue privately. 

 

Tony Ieradi August 03, 2012 at 10:55 AM
I worked for Wawa for 25 years and they are a good company to call a neighbor. I would agree that traffic is an issue that should be dealt with more aggressively. As we all know too well here in Lima from the Franklin Mint plans, traffic studies can be easily interpreted. An office on the site will definitely increase rush hour movement, while a Wawa will create a more steady flow - and I think the numbers that were presented were low. Do a formal traffic study Wawa and let the residents and council review it.
MLP August 03, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Another office building or a cheap dollar store will compromise the aesthetics of the community. Wawa's architectural interpretation is exactly the right concept upon entering the Borough. It shows CLASS, heightening the historic beauty of Media. The current, and ongoing, traffic dilemma at the Wawa a few blocks south on Baltimore Pike (Ave), should justify the replacement, new location and design this Corporation has painstakingly set before the Council. Don't let this one go...
MediaResidentEvil August 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
A Dollar Store? Really? The sheer consideration of putting a Dollar Store in Media explains the lack of ability for Council to view and appreciate Media's charm, citizens and character. You shoot down the idea of a Wawa, yet you entertain the idea of a Dollar Store? Lets just put in a Thrift Store, a septic treatment center and/or a salvage yard while you're at it.
Courtney Elko (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Just to clarify--a Dollar Store is not currently on the table and council is not formally considering any option at the moment. No developer or business has formally submitted any plans to the borough. Nothing has been shot down as of yet. Wawa is seeking opinions and council is giving their opinions.
Chickadee August 04, 2012 at 02:30 PM
It seems to me that there are already a couple of Wawa's in town, and those intersections are difficult. I can see how a nice office building that draws people to town for good jobs would bring more business to the restaurants and retail shops of Media. Our main employer of the Borough is the Courthouse -- think how important it is for the lunchtime business and what the possibilities could be. And while I appreciate Wawa, I don't think that it spells class, nor does it generate long-term career opportunities for most who work there.
Chickadee August 04, 2012 at 02:35 PM
One other piece that I think is holding up Council is that Media Real Estate/Wawa wants to build on top of a borough-owned road. It is an alley, but all the same it is not on the Media Real Estate property, and they are asking for a major variance so they can basically take over a borough road. Granted it is not a major road, but not an insignificant issue. I hope Media Borough can get something from Media Real Estate/Wawa if they do give up the road. And I heard that it is Media Real Estate who has threatened to put a Dollar Store there. Borough Council would not have authority to approve or disapprove of it because there would not be a zoning variance (i.e. they wouldn't build on top of a borough road).

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