Wawa Gears Up For Court Battle

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Wawa Gears Up For Court Battle

MARSHALLS CREEK, Pa. -- Wawa Inc. is taking Middle Smithfield Township to court over 33 conditions township supervisors slapped on a proposed Route 209 store and gas station when the project was approved this fall.

The Wawa, Pa.-based operator of 550 convenience stores, is challenging nine of the conditions, including those that require it to install a traffic light at the corner of Route 209 and Sellersville and those that deal with water quality testing, woodland buffers and parking spaces, according to the Pocono Record.

A series of public hearings over the 86-parking space, 16-nozzle, 24-hour Wawa lasted almost a year and sparked residents to form a group, Concerned Citizens of Middle Smithfield Township, to protest the project. Calling the conditions "arbitrary and capricious," Wawa attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick wrote in his appeal that, "The conditions are not reasonably related to a valid public interest and the objectors presented no evidence to justify the imposition of these conditions," the report said.

Township supervisors disagree. "They're a large corporation and they have the means to do this sort of thing," said Debbie Kulick, chairwoman of the board. "If we didn't think the conditions were reasonable we wouldn't have included them. We thought long and hard about them and are comfortable with them."

Wawa is challenging conditions that would require them to:
* Test a nearby pond for gas contamination at least four times a year.
* Install a groundwater monitoring well near the store.
* Use pervious blocks in the parking lot to allow water to soak into the ground.
* Keep a wooded buffer on the north and west sides of the property.