Manassas Church blows up plan for Wawa next door | Headlines
A planned new wawa on Sudley Road in Manassas faces backlash from a neighboring church ahead of the city council vote next month.
A number of Manassas Baptist Church leaders and parishioners spoke out against the proposal to build the first wawa within the city limits at the council’s public hearing on Monday evening for the rededication motion. One councilor insisted the proposal did not fit into the city’s overall plan.
The gas station and grocery store slated for the intersection of Sudley and Digges Roads, just across from Digges from UVA Health’s Prince William Medical Center, would make a number of contributions to the area, city officials and Wawa officials said Monday . They would include new sidewalks along Digges Road and Champion Court (which separates the grounds and church), a zebra crossing on Digges for easy walking access from the hospital to the grocery store, and a landscaped buffer on all sides of the Terrain.
Instead of the cycle path recommended in the city’s own mobility master plan, Wawa would build a 2.40 meter long shared path in front of his property.
Rick Slusher, a member of the church board of directors, said the ward had a number of concerns about the proposal, including hazardous materials, trash, traffic and noise.
“We are concerned about the increase in traffic, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Slusher on Monday evening before the city council. “The delivery, reloading, storage and delivery of large quantities of hazardous substances in the form of gasoline and diesel takes place next to the church building, which houses the majority of our children’s services and activities. … We certainly praise the city for its business development efforts, but this is a business development project that is in the wrong place. “
Other speakers said they fear their property will be used as a passage to the store. However, Jessica Pfeiffer, a development representative, said her group reached out to the church to build a fence or add another barrier to better separate the plots, but she said the church leadership rejected the ideas .
The management of the UVA hospital submitted a declaration of support for the project, which would replace three mostly empty buildings on 1.5 hectares. According to a representative of the property developer, only the property owner is the tenant in the three office buildings, who would sell if the rededication and special use permit were approved.
Although the city’s community development staff recommended approving the project with a number of conditions, the Planning Commission at its hearing recommended a 4 to 3 vote rejecting it. Next month the council should have the final say on whether the project can continue.
The majority of the planning commission said the project is inconsistent with the Sudley Medical Area section of the comprehensive plan, which calls for a “critical mass of medical facilities and related businesses.”
The commission also said it did not meet the draft standards of the comprehensive plan for the area. And where the city’s comprehensive plan calls for “complete streets” that emphasize safety for pedestrians and cyclists, the auto-centric plan expands Sudley Road on the property’s facade for a Sudley right-turn lane into the gas station.
Councilor Ralph Smith confirmed the majority of the planning commission on Monday night.
“How does a wawa or gas station serve as a magnet for medical facilities?” Asked Smith, using the language of the comprehensive plan adopted last year. “We go against what we say, what we want. This plan is still in its infancy … and we’re already thinking about it [changing] it.”
Christian Samples, the city’s senior planner, said the store would fit under the appropriate uses of the comprehensive plan for the area, which includes “retail / services,” one reason city officials recommended its approval. The city’s review also found that the traffic impact would be “mitigated by … access points and the turning lane on Sudley Road”.
Jeb Bell, a real estate engineer at Wawa, told the council the store was a benefit to the hospital and any other medical facilities that have settled in the area, which still has plenty of space for medical rehabilitation.
“I have two children; neither of me was delivered at a convenient time of day. I look at the hospital, I see a lot of hungry parents. Shift work, I see a lot of hungry doctors,” Bell said. “I see a lot of people who might be in late Get out at night with a low fuel tank. This is a huge accessory for this use. “
If built, the gas station and store would include 39 parking stations and at least four Tesla electric vehicle chargers. Representatives from Wawa and developer Net Lease Development said that if the project is approved by the council next month, construction would likely begin sometime in 2023 and be completed in 2024.