Still no vote on proposed Turner Drive Wawa

Published 6:34 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

Isle of Wight County supervisors have again postponed voting – this time to October – on whether to permit a Wawa gas station near Smithfield High School.

According to County Administrator Randy Keaton, the delay is at Wawa’s request, while the company continues to work on an alternative configuration of the site’s Turner Drive entrance and exit.

The matter had previously come to the supervisors for a vote, and been tabled, at the supervisors’ July meeting, after receiving a favorable recommendation from the county’s Planning Commission in June, conditioned on the company submitting an “alternative intersection design” for Turner Drive “such as a single-lane roundabout.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

According to county staff, the Turner Drive entrance as it’s currently proposed could cause queuing issues for drivers trying to exit the gas station and turn left toward Smithfield High School, particularly during morning peak hours when there’s heavy bus and student-driver traffic. The school is less than a quarter-mile from the proposed Wawa site.

The condition “would create some problems” for the company’s development plans, Kaufman & Canoles attorney Tim Trant had told the supervisors in July, representing Wawa’s Miami-based developer, Frontier Development.

Plans developed by Kimley-Horn engineers call for addressing the queuing issue by installing “do not block” pavement markings at the intersection. The markings would warn of a potential fine for motorists observed impeding traffic flow. County staff argue this would place the burden of enforcement on the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office.