BARNEGAT – A proposed new Super Wawa announced by Mayor Pasquale “Pat” Pipi has a number of residents looking for answers about the project.
Barnegat currently has two Wawas, but only one is a Super Wawa equipped with gas pumps and electric vehicle charging stations.
“We’ve heard your complaints about the congestion trying to get in and out of Wawa here on West Bay,” said Pipi. “We are well on the way to getting a new Super Wawa in Barnegat that will be located on Route 9 and Barnegat Boulevard.”
Edgewater Properties has spoken with township officials about construction of the convenience store and gas pumps on three acres of land at the intersection of Route 9 and Barnegat Boulevard. Lefty’s Restaurant, a popular eatery abuts on one side of the proposed site; the other runs up to the Barnegat Branch Trail.
Traffic experts have evaluated area conditions and made some preliminary suggestions. Entrances and exits would be available on both Route 9 and Barnegat Boulevard. Those wishing to travel north on Route 9 would need to use the Barnegat Boulevard exit as left turns from the Route 9 exit will likely be prohibited.
“The new Wawa will not only relieve traffic congestion for those who live on the west side,” said Pipi. “It will also give easy access to those who live on the east side of the Parkway.”
Rumors that the second Wawa would replace the space owned and operated by Lefty’s sent shockwaves throughout the community.
“Lefty’s is going nowhere,” emphasized Jennifer Saropoulos, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Ted. “We continue to welcome our existing customers and welcome new ones as well.”
Saropoulos said the proposed Wawa would not lessen the restaurant’s space or its parking lot.
According to Township Engineer Kurt Otto, the proposal requires planning board approval before steps to start construction can ensue. Among other things, the developer will need to secure CAFRA permits. CAFRA stands for the Coastal Area Facility Review Act, which falls under the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Getting permits tends to be a very lengthy process.
Completion of the project would likely result in closing the Wawa convenience store located directly across Route 9 in the Pebble Beach Shopping Center. The store is one of a few select non-gas stores in the region.
Edgewater Properties is the same developer who first began clearing land for a mixed use project near the intersection of Route 9 and Old Main Shore Road nearly three years ago. Most recently, Edgewater received planning board approval for revised plans at that same location.
According to Pipi, the Wawa project represents a nice boost to the township’s tax base once it is operational. A timetable cannot be estimated until a planning board application receives approval. The item has not been listed in any upcoming agendas for consideration.
As of the latest census, Barnegat is home to nearly 25,000 residents. The Super Wawa on West Bay Avenue and a Sunoco station down the block are currently the only two places in town where vehicle owners can fill up their tanks.