Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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Wawa Passes Two Hurdles in Hereford Township
Written by Jennifer Frieze, Correspondent
2019-01-10

            Last Wednesday the Hereford Zoning Hearing Board heard the request of HRES Hereford, LLC, regarding its request for variances from certain requirements of the Townships sign ordinance.

            The property that is the subject of the application fronts the northeast corner of State Routes 100 and 29 and is currently zoned for mixed use (MU).  The property is currently owned by Troy and Tracy Heuer and Chestnut 4, LLC.

            Variances are requested to permit deviation from size requirements of free-standing signs, single-occupancy business signs and directional/spanner signs.

            In addition, it was requested to permit signage on a proposed canopy to cover a gas pump station area. The requested variance was for larger signage in proposed areas as well as sign placement in an area not regulated under the ordinance.

            The proposed plan for the property is to build a Wawa that includes a 16-vehicle fueling station, front and back store entrances, parking on all four sides of the building, and two controlled vehicle traffic entrances to be located on route 100 and route 29.

            The construction of the project is contingent upon overall approval by Hereford Township. The hearing on January 3 only addressed the signage dimension variance. The ordinance deviation request includes two free standing signs at each vehicle traffic entrance with a height of 20 feet. The ordinance permits two free standing signs at a maximum of 16 feet in height.

            Building signs on the front and back pedestrian entrances would measure approximately 67.7 square feet for front and 36.9 square feet for the back entrance.

            In addition, the fueling station is planned to have three canopy signs. These would include two signs on horizontal beams measuring approximately 7.84 feet and one canopy sign on a structural beam approximately nine feet in length.

            Project engineer John Hornick, of Bowler Engineering, stated that the signage dimension variance request is an industry standard specific to Wawa and are vital for the safety and efficient use of the facility. Public notice was provided in the local media and residents adjacent to the property received

notification of the Zoning Board hearing.

            Residents entered appearance at the hearing and by doing so, may appeal decisions regarding the proposed construction project for this property and several residents that live in close proximity to site entered their appearance during the hearing.

            During the hearing, Attorney William F. Colby led the testimonies of Hornick and Traffic Engineer Matthew Hammond. It was stated that the variance requests for signage dimensions are within industry standards and are intrinsic aspects to the project. Detailed plans were provided for the hearing, but it is important residents understand the extent of this project request. Gordon McAlpin of the Zoning Board, asked "with exclusion of ethanol fuel signs and traffic direction, is this plan similar to the Wawa on Grosser Road and Route 100? Can those interested get a visual representation? "

            McAlpin added, "I'm interested in residents having a good idea of the plan". As the Zoning Board deliberated its decision, the engineers discussed the project with residents and explained the details using plans and other exhibits.

            The Board reconvened and approved the variance requested, contingent upon all other ordinances, regulations and land development approvals by Hereford Township.

            On Tuesday, HRES appeared at a Public Hearing with the Hereford Township Board of Supervisors requesting conditional use for the property in order to establish a convenience store with a fuel dispensing station in the 8000 block of Chestnut Street in the Township.

            There are three parcels under contract for the possible project. In addition to the conditional use request, HRES also sought the Board's approval for the use of Transfer of Development Rights (TDR). Each additional TDR allows for the utilization of more square footage. HRES would like to use 35 percent of the TDR, which is well below the 65 percent cap established by the Township.

            Attorney Colby led the proceedings and called to testify in front of the Board, Kathleen Hess, Vice President of Sales for Hunt Real Estate, Project Engineer John Hornick and Traffic Engineer Matt Hammond. Project evidence was provided by the applicant and, as presented, met all building, driveway, parking, landscaping/screening requirements set by the Township.

            The project does have a few engineering concerns. The plan is to tap into public water and construct a septic tank system. The applicant's representatives testified that these plans, when presented, will comply with all requirements set in place by Hereford Township.

            Environmental concerns included storm water management, well water protection and drainage into a major watershed.  According to the applicant's representatives, the required plans for storm water management are in process and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will be taking part in ensuring the watershed is not negatively impacted by the land development.

            The Hereford Board of Supervisors approved the applicant's request for conditional use, contingent upon the condition that all present understood the purpose of the hearing, and that the plan presented at the hearing must be consistent with conditional use and that all conditions and requirements are met and satisfy the standards set by Hereford Township.

            The next step in the process will be for the applicant to attend a Planning Commission meeting. The applicant must have all information and documents submitted two weeks prior to a scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission. 


 

 

 

 

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