This article was funded by LebTown donors as part of our Civic Impact Reporting Project.

A Wawa convenience store and gas station at the intersection of state routes 72 and 419 cleared its first hurdle Monday, Sept. 18, when the West Cornwall Township Zoning Hearing Board approved a special exception for the proposal.

Read More: Wawa proposed for corner of routes 72 and 419 on former riding club

Monday’s approval for a special exception was the second granted to Quentin Associations LLC for the 46-acre former Quentin Riding Club. The first approval was for 120 age-restricted apartments at the northern end of the tract.

Read More: Zoning board greenlights age-restricted apartments for riding club development

Both projects required a special exception from the zoning hearing board, according to the township’s zoning ordinance adopted in September 2022. That ordinance rezoned the 46-acre parcel as R-1 low density residential with a mixed-use overlay district.

The overlay district allows for both a convenience store and gas station and age-restricted multi-family apartment dwellings as permitted uses if the zoning hearing board approves petitions for special exceptions.

Located on 2.49 acres, the Wawa convenience store and gas station is one of six commercial lots identified for the entire parcel. No information was provided during the hearing about other possible commercial enterprises.

The site plan for the rest of the parcel shows about 16 acres of open space dedicated for an equine therapy program. Ten single-family homes along Maple Lane also are shown.

Quentin Associates’ site plan for the entire 46.21-acre property, submitted in July 2023.

While the special exception was approved, members of the zoning hearing board had concerns about the traffic impact for the both the former riding club property as well as Maple Lane, its eastern boundary.

Traffic counts are planned for various intersections at peak times when traffic is typically heaviest as well as on Saturdays, said John Schick, a traffic consultant for Lancaster-based Rettew Associates, working with the developer.

“We’ll be looking at the entire site, traffic delays, site distances as well as estimating traffic volumes for the next five years,” Schick told the board. “We have updated growth trends for Lebanon from PennDOT, we use historical info, and we include other developments that are approved but not built.”

Once the study is completed, PennDOT will review. At that point, the developer will know what improvements are needed to mitigate any impacts, Schick said.

Schick estimated the entire process could take 12 to 18 months. Improvements will ultimately need to satisfy both PennDOT and the township, he added.

Wawa plans a 24/7 operation with about 40 to 50 employees, company construction manager Mike Spiegel told the board.

Wawa’s single-story building with gross floor area of about 6,600 square feet will include a food operation and convenience store.

While the zoning hearing board approved the special exception, it added the stipulation that members of the Quentin Fire Company be included in all planning to provide added security against fire or spillage, said Jennifer Besse, zoning hearing board member.

Started in 1964 in Folsom, Wawa has 950 convenience stores, 750 of which offer gasoline, in the Mid-Atlantic region, according to the company’s website. 

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