After nearly two years and numerous sketch plans presented to the Lower Moreland governing bodies, a new Wawa gas station will begin construction in the township in the near future.
The construction of the convenience store at the corner of Red Lion Rd. and Philmont Ave. received approval from the LM Planning Commission at last night’s meeting despite two votes against it.
They gave it the OK under the condition that the following issues are addressed before breaking ground:
- Overlapping left-hand turns at the intersection
- Design and aesthetics of building (since it changed from original plan)
- Curb widening along the street
According to township officials, there are still 28 “minor” matters associated with the project. These include on-site changes, driveway and curb widening, clarifying dimensions, elevations, and the aesthetics of the site. Some officials felt these issues should all be resolved before giving approval, but representatives from Bohler Engineering assured them there were no pressing matters that would put this project in jeopardy.
Developers have presented four different sketches to the Lower Moreland governing bodies and last night marked the first time it was finalized to go to the next stage of developement.
But one of the main reasons some residents and board members alike have a problem with the proposed project is traffic buildup at a very busy intersection. One problem LM will need to work on is the overlapping left-hand turn that will occur in the congested area. The township is currently looking into widening the curb to allow more traffic flow. The current driveway is 24 feet wide, which allows for about six inches of space between a car and the curb without a real shoulder.
LM officials said last night that township traffic engineer, Joe DeSantis, didn't foresee the traffic as a 'horrible problem.' DeSantis will give the township further direction on how to manage the site and he is currently reviewing the latest PennDOT recommendations.
While traffic is always a concern along Philmont Ave., Hurricane Irene proved a perfect example of how fallen trees can wreak havoc for oncoming drivers. Philmont Ave. was forced to close for about two days earlier this week to clean up the mess from the disaster. Currently there are tall trees that stand close to property lines and these would have to be cut or trimmed in order to prevent a potential tree falling on the actual building.
Representatives from Wawa who were at last night’s meeting also explained they plan on using bollards instead of concrete stoppers seen in most parking lots. There are some bollards in the lot of Oh, Bryon’s! at Pine & Tomlinson Rd.
The plan still needs to go through a building permit stage, where details like open spaces in the lot, facades, heights and elevations will still need to be approved.
Being called a ‘very clean plan’ by Bohler, they explained the township is getting a “typical-plus” type of Wawa with a gabbled-stlye roof (peak). This simply means there will be more bells and whistles at this Wawa then a traditional one. All of those details, however, were not available at last night’s meeting due to financial costs of creating a 'typical-plus plan.'
The chairman of the LM Historical Review Board, Luis Vincente Rivera, was at the meeting and said, “We would too happy to review the plan and make sure it’s consistant with what (Wawa) is saying they would do.”
Patch will continue to follow the developments of this project.