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    Wawa Opponents Take to the Web

    An online petition is circulating against the chain's plans for a new store in central N.J.

    EATONTOWN, N.J. -- The battle to stop a proposed 24-hour Wawa convenience store from being built on the edge of a residential area here has moved onto the Internet, as critics of the proposal are soliciting signatures for an online petition against the development, reported APP.com.

    The Internet-based petition is against the proposed construction of a Wawa convenience store and gas station that would cover 5,773 square feet with a 12-pump gasoline station and 82 parking spaces. It's slightly more than 50 feet from a residential area -- too close for the comfort of area homeowners who have objected each time the application has been heard before the Planning Board, according to a report by APP.com.

    In order to build the store, Wawa is asking the board to approve a waiver from an ordinance that bans gas stations from being built less than 2,000 feet from another service station or closer than 200 feet from a residential area, according to the report.

    The Wawa proposal fails the ordinance on both counts. If the board does not grant the waiver, the Wawa store will not be built, the Web site reported. The panel began considering the application last March and since has held eight meetings that have included hours of testimony, arguments, comment and discussion.

    Wawa wrapped up its presentation to the board at a February meeting. Residents who oppose the plan then called their own witnesses, and that testimony is scheduled to continue at an upcoming meeting.

    Residents have raised about $7,000 of their own money to support their opposition, and hope to raise another $20,000 to retain a lawyer for the upcoming meeting and any subsequent actions, APP.com reported.

    Wawa also is facing resistance in Brick, N.J., where the c-store chain has targeted a Mantoloking Road site that’s flanked by residential communities. Last month, Wawa withdrew a similar application proposed for Route 35 in Middletown, N.J., which also prompted neighbors there to collect hundreds of signatures in opposition to the project.

    Some Middletown residents have said they share some of the same concerns that have been raised about the Eatontown proposal -- traffic and noise chief among them.


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