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Newtown supervisors aim watchful eyes at Wawa bypass plans

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The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to send Township Solicitor David Sander to a zoning hearing board meeting to contest an appeal filed by ProvCo Pineville Acquisitions, a company that wants to bring Wawa to Newtown.

ProvCo is proposing to build a Wawa gas station with 16 fuel pumps and a 5,585-square-foot convenience store. It holds a leasing agreement for a parcel of land located at the Newtown Bypass and Lower Silver Lake Road. The company is seeking 11 variances in its proposal for the land, which is currently zoned office research.

However, Newtown has no provision for gas and convenience stores as a land use. That flies in the face of state law, according to Sander. In December, the supervisors approved a curative amendment that forbids further applications for such a use in Newtown Township until zoning laws can be updated to include such a use.

Any changes made in the zoning code require the township to link up with its partners – Wrightstown and Upper Makefield – in the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO). The Newtown Planning Commission has been working feverishly to recommend new regulations that, hopefully, are satisfactory to both businesses and residents.

In a session that took place the night before the supervisors last met, the commission recommended that the township limit fuel pumps to eight and hours of operation to 18. Newtown also wants to eliminate any provisions for eat-in dining in future gas/convenience applications.

Because it was filed long before the current proposed changes to the zoning, Wawa’s application should not be affected by the proposed JMZO ordinance.

For the past year, residents have been speaking out against the arrival of Wawa in Newtown.

“We know that the Newtown Bypass is already an accident lane,” said Norm Seeger, who lives close by the proposal site. “We have more and more accidents because of the high speed and introducing that many more cars to that site – 874,000 (a year); I’m not against Wawa but I am against that site.”

Supervisory boards in Wrightstown and Upper Makefield as well as the Bucks County Planning Commission must sign off on the proposed legislation in order for it to become law.


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