With an eye on pedestrian and driver safety, the Falls Township Board of Supervisors advanced plans to locate a new 5,585-square-foot Wawa with eight stations and a drive-thru window in the Lincoln Highway shopping center where Arosso, a Touch of Sicily currently sits.

During its virtual meeting Monday night, the Supervisors voted 5-0 in favor of granting conditional use approval for the 16 gas pumps on the 2.04-acre property.

Engineer Justin Geonnotti of Dynamic Engineering said the drive-thru would feature a right-in entrance off Lincoln Highway and Arleans Avenue. The site would provide 44 parking spaces. Two lanes of stacking would allow a full bypass for vehicles wishing to leave the drive-thru area, Geonnotti said, adding that the developer is taking great care to ensure safe access for pedestrians and motorists.

Other site improvements include a six-foot-wide sidewalk along Lincoln Highway and upgrades to the existing push buttons for walk signals. Designated crossing to the front and back of the store would also be added.

Supervisor John Palmer said adding a sidewalk was a “must.”

“I was glad to see that they added a second air pump,” Palmer added. “There’s always a backup, which makes for congestion around the fueling station.”

As part of the Wawa addition, the existing 5,200-square-foot Arosso restaurant would be demolished and a 3,000-square-foot eatery would be opened inside the shopping center adjacent to Big Lots and in a portion of the former Family Dollar store, according to Arosso owner, Dave Monterosso.

“I needed the smaller spaces,” Monterosso said of his decision to downsize his business. “It’s more moderate. It’s more functional.”

When a resident inquired about the possibility of a fuel leak impacting waterways, Wawa real estate project engineer Mike Redel outlined the extensive safety protocols in place at every Wawa convenience store that operates with gas pumps.

“We’re very conscious of the environment,” Redel said, adding that the state-of-the-art equipment features double-walled tanks, double-walled piping and sensors in tanks and piping. “We definitely do not want to impact the environment around us. I’m not concerned that’s going to happen here.”

If a joint breaks in the containment unit, store associates and Wawa headquarters officials are notified immediately. If the hose connected to your car gets ripped off a valve closes off instantly. If less than five gallons of fuel is spilled on the ground, store personnel use equipment located at each of the islands to surround the spill, soak it up and store spilled fuel safely. For larger spills, Wawa uses a hazardous waste removal company to “chase it down for as far as they need to.” Redel noted that these are “extremely rare instances” and said he is “not even aware of one.”

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