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    Wawa Denied Building Permit in Maryland

    Despite support from local residents, Prince George County's District Council refuses proposal.

    CLINTON, Md. -- Over the objections of residents who turned out in support of new combination convenience store and gas station, the Prince George's District Council denied Wawa Inc.'s proposal to build in Clinton, Md.

    The District Council upheld an earlier decision by the Zoning Hearing Examiner by an 8-2 vote, citing a saturation of fueling stations in the Clinton area. The County Council acts as the District Council when it authorizes zoning and land use, according to the Maryland Gazette.

    More than three dozen individuals -- including residents supporting Wawa, and representatives of businesses opposed to the company building a new convenience store and gas station in the area -- attended the meeting on an application hearing that has been the subject of contentious community debate the past two years. The Zoning Hearing Examiner had denied the application, as had the Prince George's County Planning Board.

    Proponents argued that the area, which has up to 26 gas stations depending on who defines the "area," needs a Wawa for added convenience. Proponents also argued that a Wawa facility would be good for competition, and would occupy a vacant lot, which has become a dumping ground and breeding ground for illegal activity, the report said. Meanwhile, opponents contended that the lot is not zoned for a gas station.

    Wawa could appeal the decision to the circuit court. A member of the zoning office explained legal technicalities that could give Wawa an advantage in court. One issue raised was the fact that the term "need" or "necessity" was not clearly defined in zoning ordinances.

    Bruce Rice, regional real estate manager for Wawa, said he was unsure whether the company would pursue the application in court. "At this point, we don't know," he said.

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