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Abington Passes 'Wawa Ordinance'

Following a nearly four-hour special hearing, the Abington Board of Commissioners passes a text amendment to the zoning ordinance.

 

After hours of expert testimony and several passionate comments from residents, the Abington Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance late last night amending the Abington zoning ordinance by creating a new use to be known as “motor vehicle fueling center,” subject to certain criteria in "Planned Business" zoning districts.

The approval essentially gets the ball rolling for Provco Goodman’s development of a 4,900 square-foot Wawa with a fueling station at the vacant parcel in the 800 block of Old York Road, near Baeder and Hilltop roads. The company submitted development plans to the township yesterday, according to director of planning and code enforcement Larry Matteo.

The board passed the ordinance by a vote of 7-6. Abington Commissioners Robert Wachter, Richard Gaglianese, Wayne Luker, Stephen Kalinoski, Carol Gillespie, Peggy Myers and Carol DiJoseph voted yes; commissioner Dennis Zappone abstained from the vote and commissioner Lori Schreiber was absent.

Prior to the special meeting last night, the ordinance was rejected by both the Montgomery County and Abington Township planning commissions.

Developer Bruce Goodman’s attorney Michael Savona said the “fueling center” use isn’t a new one regionally, but said that Abington is lacking it. He said it would be “a positive welcome to the Abington zoning scheme, filling a void and benefitting a blighted site.”

Due to the criteria in the new ordinance, only three other parcels in the township would qualify as a “motor vehicle fueling center.” One criterion is that a parcel must have been used for an automobile-related service in the past.

To read the whole ordinance, see the pdf section above.

Fewer than 10 residents spoke in favor of the ordinance. Many of them lauded Goodman’s previous development projects and said that they were tired of seeing a blighted site.

Many more residents spoke out against the ordinance ... and the Wawa. While many of the residents said they would like to see the site developed, most said the Wawa project is too big for the shallow parcel. Some residents were upset with the extra traffic the store would generate, some were bothered by the fact that the Wawa will be open 24/7 and others were worried about the safety of the children who attend the Jenkintown Day Nursery, which is adjacent to the property.

Things got heated several times during the hearing: One resident screamed at Commissioner Thomas Bowman after Bowman said that the daycare’s traffic and parking problem is “their problem.” Another resident said if a child were to be killed due to increased traffic in the area, the “blood would be on the [commissioners’] hands.” And resident Peter Morse who was “filibustering” against the ordinance, according to DiJoseph, had to be physically removed by an Abington Police officer.

Following the vote, several residents in the audience were heard booing and muttering under their breath.

The ordinance goes into effect in five days.

Paul Mamolou December 08, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Well, we will see. Where are the other locations??
p small December 09, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Sean I agree with you here.
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 01:24 AM
June, you must be on Goodman's payroll. Your 1st statement is as ignorant as the rest of your blog. Your "blood of children" criticism and your insinuating that children are allowed to run wild all over Abington is ridiculous. The POINT that was being made was that with the increase of traffic in the area, increases the risks of accidents, and let's face it - kids do sometimes run across a street or parking lot. Not for the lack of the parents' caring, but it happens. How many accidents happen on York Rd.? A LOT. Not one person denies being a Wawa patron. You have missed the point completely. This wasn't an argument for the Mom and Pop shops. This was an argument for something that will create EXTREME congestion, accidents and noise. The one thing that these Commissioners, who are supposed to work for THE PEOPLE OF THE COMMUNITY, just proved is that money gets you everything. And greed is exactly what is killing this country, let alone the little known Abington community.
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I agree that what's there now IS an eyesore, but a Wawa is not the solution.
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Dottie, I agree. This is just typical of small town, tough guy cops showing their "power"... He WAS taken to the floor and forcefully removed. I hope he files suit against Abington. Goodman and his goons spoke for at least an hour (in a much rehearsed show) and limited everyone to 2-3 minutes to voice their concerns. Seriously? These people are fighting for the value of their lifetime investment! The GREED of Mr. Goodman and the Commissioners that were probably paid off to approve this, is disgusting. Just goes to show that money does talk and IS the root of all evil. Corruption? I think so.
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 01:35 AM
What is a NIMBY? Is that some Abington talk?
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Jim H - You are correct that everyone was given 3 minutes to speak. (That's not a whole lot of time, actually). Mr. Morse should have stopped when asked. HOWEVER, he and others there were fighting for their investment that they made 30, 40, 50 and 60+ years ago! Dragging him out was not the way Abington cops needed to handle this. They were just being bully tough-guys. Way to go APD.
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Funny.... Most of those OPPOSED to this WAWA ARE REPUBLICANS, you doofus.
Paul Mamolou December 09, 2012 at 03:32 AM
NIMBY=Not In My Back Yard
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Paul, After I hit the send button, I realized what NIMBY meant! LOL. Thanks.
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I disagree with Mr. Morse being prosecuted. This is an important issue. He should have acknowledged the extra time, but once he fell or lost his balance or whatever, the police had no reason to land on top of him and restrain him. This is just yet another example of "the powers that be" not really caring what the people of the community want. They made up their minds in favor of their FRIEND Mr. Goodman long before this meeting. This meeting was just a staged act. The taxpayers really have no say in what goes on in that community. The officials are going to do what they want to do regardless. Don't think for one minute that they weren't promised some kind of payoff from Mr. Goodman. And by the way, Mr. Goodman is a multi-millionaire. I highly doubt that this WAWA was going to make or break him. I wonder what he or any of you who are in favor of this monster, would appreciate having a WAWA with all the traffic, in your back yard....
Victor B. Krievins December 09, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Thank you Ms Kline. You are very correct. While Ms. Adlam is entitled to her opinion, zmr. zmorse failed to cease talking when politly asked as well when Sgt. Williams asked very nicely to calm down and exit the room. I heard this conversation first hand. I applaud Sgt Williams for his professional reaction as he was certainly protecting the safety and well being o others who were present. Mr. Morse was clearly out of control and a potential threat to the safety of others. He was never tasered or pepper sprayed. With regard to Ms. Adlams accusations of possible bribery, I hope she has proof to substantiate her accusations. WE also have another resident of bryant Lane who is well known for bogus accusations and also exceeds her alloted time frequently. Our Meetings are to be civilized and not free for alls.
Victor B. Krievins December 09, 2012 at 06:56 PM
100% correct Ms. Stutman!
p small December 09, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Mr Morse was never a threat to anyone's physical well- being potential or otherwise.
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 08:01 PM
PERFECT!
Kathy Adlam December 09, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Victor B. Krievins... There is no "accusation" here.... But politics clearly played a part in this and we ALL know that politics is dirty business. Something is fishy when there are that many opponents with facts to back them up and their concerns are swept under the carpet because SOMEONE has money to throw around. It's done in businesses and politics every single day. Instead of me proving that's not happening, please, you prove to me that it's NOT.
D. December 09, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Unlike the Wawa which is...
Victor B. Krievins December 09, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Mrs adlam. with all due respact to you. our judicial system is based upon innocent until proven guilty. you will need to prove your allegations against anyone.
Michael Curtis Sr December 10, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Politics here in Abington is not any different than in Wasington DC. The Residents / taxpayer don't mean anything to a Politician till election time then it is " vote for me ". Commissioners that passed Goodman's Ordinance, not Abington Ordinance. I do hope that Mr. Goodman team writes another Ordinance so he can build a Super Wawa on each Commissioner block that voted for the " Goodman's Ordinance 2032" . Some of these same Commissioners that voted for Goodman's Ordinance have told Abington Residents, ( on video ) " Come to your Commissioner with your problems and we will work them out " " It is our Job to help you " Do the words - BULL Sh-- mean anything? When election time comes around, make sure people " remember " these Commissioners and what they did. or should I say DIDN't DO for the residents of Abington !!
Kathy Adlam December 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Jim H - Hilltop became dangerous road a long time ago. It started with the car dealerships when they would test-drive cars up Hilltop Road. They ran over several family pets along there (I was witness to one) and the driver slowed down after hitting my dog and then sped away. The Nursery across the street has cars all up and down Hilltop, blocking the view of cars going in either direction. Pulling out of Hilltop to get onto York Rd is near impossible because of the timing of the light and the rudeness of people not allowing you to get into the traffic lane (admittedly because they are trying to make the light that doesn't last very long). As I was born and raised in that house right behind where the WAWA is supposed to go, I also lived there while my youngest son was just 3-7 years old. I used to sit outside watching the kids as they played and witnessed cars driving fast up and down that hill. I've yelled at cars, telling them to slow down. Wyndale isn't any better, as people try to make that a short-cut somehow and it's a very tempting road to "put the pedal to the metal" and zoom up the street. I'm not the only one, so in answer to your question.... yes, there is proof to back it up.
Kathy Adlam December 11, 2012 at 12:07 AM
We all know how our judicial system works. Deals are made every day and there is no doubt in my mind that there were deals made here, too. Politics is always crooked. Promises made and promises broken. And I hope that people remember what Michael Curtis stated in his post. "When election time comes around, make sure people " remember " these Commissioners and what they did. or should I say DIDN't DO for the residents of Abington !!" He is right on with that remark. They only do what is in THEIR best interest.
Dale Wynn December 11, 2012 at 06:37 AM
The overall result of the Wawa Public Hearing - and the fact that NONE of the yes-voting commissioners even said a SINGLE word to explain or defend WHY they were voting yes - has me tempted to concur that with you our local representative are just as bought and paid for as so many of those pols in Washington. However, I do take hope in the fact that some commissioners did NOT bow to the considerable influence of Mr. Goodman and instead voted NO on the ordinance. And some of these no-voters made statements that indicate their understanding of exactly whom they work for -- the PEOPLE of Abington Township. Not the big money, not the power-brokers, not the influential elite, but WE THE PEOPLE. As you very astutely mention, the 2013 elections will give the PEOPLE a chance to reward these no-voting commissioners by sending them some colleagues with better values and priorities. And we shall also show the yes-voting Goodman-collaborators that you pay a price at the polls when you make your REAL BOSSES -- the PEOPLE -- take a back seat to some powerful developer!
sean December 11, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Kathy, I have no idea why the police doing their jobs is bullying. I'm sure it won't be bullying when you need them next time.
Kathy Adlam December 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Sean, I have no problem when the police are doing their job. You are correct that the officer started out doing his job, but what ensued after that and once Mr.s Morse hit the floor, whether intentional or not, was just a little extreme, I think. The whole situation got out of control that night and tempers were a little hot. I agree that Mr. Morse should have conducted himself better, but the force that took place thereafter is almost comical. The bottom line, though, was that people have a right to be heard and 3 minutes is hardly enough time to say what's necessary. Neither side was right.
Victor B. Krievins December 12, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Thank youJim H. You are very correct! I was within three feet of Mr. Morse. There was no evidence of the officer using any excessive force or knocking him to the ground.. Mrs. Adlam continues on the bullying route as well as Commissioners being paid off. She really needs to support her accusations with some sort of proof. She is beginning to sound like another Twp resident who continues to make blindless accusations. The only thing missing is an accusation that her telephone is being wire tapped. The Sky is really not falling.
Victor B. Krievins December 12, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Mrs. Adlam, again you continue to make false accusations. Is your telephone being tapped as well?
p small December 12, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Victor: I think if we are going to have a conversation on this site, we should keep it civil and respectful. I was sitting right next to where Mr. Morse fell & the ensuing activity happened. I don't believe Mrs. Adlam is making false accusations but rather expressing her opinions as to what she observed.
Dale Wynn December 13, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Even after one week's reflection, I still find it unconscionable that NONE of the yes-voting commissioners gave any justification for or explanation of their votes in favor of the Wawa Ordinance, even though at least one testifying resident openly urged them to do so. Several of the no-voters certainly explained their rationales, some of them quite eloquently. Also, Commissioner Kline clearly asked about voting by roll-call, in which each commissioner must vote YES or NO after his/her name is called, instead of simply by a show of hands. I think that this would have forced them to accept a more direct and personal responsibility for their votes in the eyes of the residents and the cameras. Unfortunately, Mr. Kline's request was denied. To me, that is a way of SHIRKING responsibility. It is truly a shame!
Kathy Adlam December 13, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Victor, I can think of something that's being tapped and it isn't my phone. Are you just arguing for the sake of arguing? You're certainly entitled to your opinion and so am I. Your approach is pretty childish - find someone else to pick on. I'm not stooping to your level. Grow up.
Kathy Adlam December 13, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Thanks p.

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