Wawa proposed near Smithfield High School

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

A Florida-based developer hopes to construct a Wawa gas station and convenience store at the corner of Benns Church Boulevard and Turner Drive.

On Oct. 25, Isle of Wight County’s Community Development office received paperwork from the engineering firm Kimley Horn requesting a conditional use permit on behalf of Miami-based Frontier Development.

The proposed site, which will be located near Smithfield High School, measures roughly 3.8 acres and is zoned rural agricultural conservation.

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Smithfield’s Planning Commission discussed the application at its Nov. 9 meeting.

While the proposed site is just outside the town’s incorporated limits, Isle of Wight County staff will take courtesy comments from town officials into consideration when they review the application, since the site is located within one mile of the town’s borders, said Amy Ring, the county’s director of community development.

At that meeting, Smithfield’s commissioners expressed no objection to the plans. The only recommendation they opted to pass along to the county’s Planning Commission concerned the site’s proposed rear entrance off Turner Drive.

The plans currently call for an access road off Turner Drive that becomes part of the proposed Wawa’s parking lot. Commissioner Dr. Thomas Pope asked that the county consider recommending that this access be pushed further back, creating more of an access road alongside the property that other potential businesses looking to front along Turner Drive could use.

Pope said he predicts more businesses will be “trying to stack up along that corridor” in the future.

Smithfield’s Planning Commission took no formal vote on the matter.

The plans will next head to Isle of Wight’s Planning Commission for a formal vote. The county’s Planning Commission had also planned to meet on Nov. 9, but canceled its meeting due to a lack of agenda items, Ring added.