company, however, has to work out an arrangement with the
Department of Special Services to come up with sufficient
sanitary sewer capacity relative to the intended use of the site
before the project can go forward.
confirming the department's revised position on what had become
a controversial community issue, Charles Baker, Land Use general
manager indicated that the sewer issue, which apparently is the
last major stumbling block, can be worked out by a collaboration
of county and company engineers.
goes well, the next thing you will hear is that Wawa has gone
through the system and its plan is approved," he told a public
meeting on Apr. 7.
Insufficient sewer capacity is one of 24 conditions and
additional steps that must be met or taken before county
planners sign off on the project. Baker, however, described the
other 23 as minor and easily met. Wendie Stabler, Wawa's lawyer,
said the company does not foresee any problem with any of
Wawa project engineer Greg Harvey said it is likely the company
will seek a variance from the county code or permission to
install a holding tank as a temporary expedient until the
county's extensive sewer rehabilitation project provides
sufficient capacity. "We're not talking about thousands of
gallons, just a couple hundred a day. We are very near
capacity," Harvey said.
shortfall is the difference between the rated sewer capacity of
the former Brosius & Eliason store, which Wawa will tear down,
and the code requirement for Wawa's planned operation. The site
is at the southwest corner of the Philadelphia Pike-Harvey Road
noting that sewers are not within his department's jurisdiction,
Baker said that between two-thirds and three-fourths of
Brandywine Hundred is short on sanitary sewer capacity. That, he
said, is the result of years of neglect and poor maintenance
that the present county government administration is committed
not getting any firm answers [from county officials] about how
long the upgrades will take," Stabler said. "If there is going
to be any economic development or redevelopment in this part of
the county it is [a matter that is] going to have to be
As far as
Wawa is concerned, she added, "we are very interested in being
in Claymont and being in this site."
to the location of the 16 gasoline pumps in eight bays, Baker
said, "The department has changed our position a little bit. We
are now okay with the pumps on the Philadelphia Pike side of the
building." He had strongly hinted that that would happen at a
Claymont Community Coalition meeting on Mar. 20.
Claymont Renaissance steering committee and the civic coalition
had taken the position that the pumps should be located at the
rear of the building. A grass-roots movement sparked by resident
Chuck Riley argued that the location of the pumps is immaterial
relative to the benefits of attracting a business to what
otherwise would be an abandoned commercial site likely to remain
generally agreed that Wawa, a Pennsylvania-based regional chain,
is a desirable example of its type of operation.
said he was swayed in his decision to reverse the previous
position by the company's argument that putting the pumps behind
the store would require customers to either walk around the
pumps complex or, more likely, cut through the bays.
the county will require Wawa to have a canopy over the pumps,
but not one as extensive as the company proposed in its most
recent submission to literally meet the code requirement that
the front of the building be 15 feet from the property line. Its
position was that the canopy could be built as an extension to
the building rather than a separate shelter.
that the reversal was the result of the land use department's
policy of working cooperatively with development applicants and
communities. Stabler said she agrees that the department is
showing "a positive work-with-you attitude."
there are some times that we are mean, some times we can be
reasonable," Baker said.