Supervisors approve special-use permit for Lightfoot Wawa

Staff writer

The Board of Supervisors gave the green light for a special-use permit that would allow construction of a Wawa at the site of an existing gas station in Lightfoot at its meeting Tuesday.

The decision puts Doswell Ventures, the permit’s applicant, closer to its goal of replacing the Exxon that sits on its property at 6446 Richmond Road near the intersection of Lightfoot and Richmond roads with a Wawa convenience store featuring six gasoline pumps.

Doswell Ventures has been interested in sprucing up the property for some time, and a Wawa seems like a good way to revitalize the space, said Tim Trant, an attorney who filed the special-use permit on behalf of the company.

Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the permit application.

Supervisors said the project would be a good way to breathe new life into land that’s already developed.

“I think its seen better days,” Supervisor Michael Hipple said of the Exxon on the site. “We’re not taking new land, we’re taking old land and redeveloping it into something better.”

While the project isn’t expected to bring additional traffic to the area, it’s expected the Wawa will attract more pit stops than the existing Exxon. The construction of a Wawa is expected to double the number of trips to the property from about 1,000 to 2,000 trips daily.

For that reason, a vote to recommend the application failed in the Planning Commission in February.

“There was some concern that may cause some backups,” commission member Richard Krapf told supervisors.

Since that meeting, the applicant tweaked some of the proposal’s characteristics, such as landscaping and canopy elevation. No changes were made to address traffic concerns from the commission.

The project would eliminate an existing entrance on Richmond Road near the intersection and maintain the Richmond Road access farther from the intersection. The Lightfoot Road entrance would be more in line with the entrance of the dealership across the street, Trant said.

One person spoke against the idea during the public hearing that preceded supervisors’ vote.

“The traffic is a nightmare,” resident Jack Fowler said, noting his concern about increased trips to the property.

The Doswell Ventures property straddles the James City County-York County line, meaning both governments need to weigh the project. The land is zoned general business.

The York Planning Commission voted to approve the special-use permit Jan. 9. The York Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider the project at its March 19 meeting, York County spokeswoman Gail Whittaker said in an email.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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