The Abington Planning Commission late Tuesday night approved the final land development plans submitted by Provco Goodman, Jenkintown, LP. The firm plans to construct a 4,700-square-foot Wawa with six fueling stations and a 3,500-square-foot bank at the large, vacant parcel near the corner of Old York and Baeder roads.
Bruce Goodman, of Provco Goodman, kicked off the meeting by describing the site and showing the commission and the residents computer renderings. The Wawa will feature a brick theme, which will likely carry over to the proposed bank; there is also a 4-and-a-half-foot “Welcome to Abington” sign planned for the southernmost tip of the parcel.
Some of the changes from the preliminary land development plan include the moving of the main entrance to the northernmost portion of the site, at the request of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Motorists looking to access the site from northbound Old York Road will have a dedicated left-turn only lane, and that lane will include a 4-foot barricade to prevent Wawa traffic from turning left onto northbound Old York Road. The rear of the site will include a stone retaining wall, fashioned to look like an existing wall near the current Acura dealership.
The intersection that encompasses Baeder, Hilltop and Old York roads – including the crosswalks – will also be revamped, and Hilltop Road will likely become one-way from the site’s upper exit toward Baeder Road to help ease the traffic burden at the nearby daycare facility. Goodman said he has met with representatives from the daycare, but said the two sides have not yet meted out a solution to the challenge of peak-hour traffic.
“We are absolutely in-line with [making Hilltop Road one-way],” Goodman said. “I think it’s a great idea, and it would solve the daycare [traffic] problem. That, to us, is a very good resolution.”
While the proposed development is coming down the homestretch (it still has to be approved by the code enforcement committee and the full board of commissioners), several residents still came out to the meeting to protest. Many of them cited property value and traffic concerns as their reasons for giving the plans the "thumbs down."
Hart Road resident Greg Pennekamp called the proposed development “a tight fit,” and said the site “really needs to be revisited.” Byrant Lane resident Lora Lehman said, “This is absolutely not the place for this Wawa … [and] the plan should be discarded, as it’s fraught with difficulties.”
There were about 20 people in the audience, and no one spoke in favor of the development, though Pennekamp and resident Kelly VanBuren both lauded the aesthetics of Goodman’s prior developments.
As for getting started, Goodman, after the meeting, said should the board of commissioners approve the final plans, the actual construction would start in a couple of months.
“We have a lot of preliminary stuff to do,” he said. “We have to fix retaining walls, we have to do some grading and some excavating as well, so we have quite a bit of work ahead of us.”