Post #467: CORRECTED: Wawa what the heck?

Posted on November 22, 2019

There is a protest rally planned for 8 AM tomorrow (Saturday, 11/23/2019).  Show up at the Wawa site at that time if you wish to express your opinion about this unfortunate event.

Above:  The back of the Wawa parking lot, when it was Coldwell Banker.  The large maple trees were supposed to remain.  Wawa said that in testimony, and they included that in the landscaping plan approved by the Board of Architectural Review.

Below:  Here’s what it looked like yesterday.  The wooden fence visible in the picture belongs to the neighbors who live in the house adjacent to the Wawa lot.  Wawa basically clear-cut the alleyway right-of-way that exists between the neighbor’s lot and the Wawa lot.

Correction:  As of now, this is officially being blamed on Wawa’s contractor.  Apparently there was “confusion” as to which trees were to be taken down.  (This seems kind of astonishing to me, as in, you’d think that somebody would have said something like “not all of them”.) But the official story is that this was an unfortunate mistake, Wawa accepts responsibility for it, and they’re going to plant replacement trees with about a week.

So, despite what I said in an earlier version of this, I cannot say that Wawa got permission from the Town to remove those trees from the alley right-of-way.  That part of it has to be dismissed as rumor.  Officially, this was due to a contractor’s mistake.

The back story (Post #241).

There’s no masonry wall at the back of the lot where the Wawa will be (Nutley and Maple).  That lot was granted an exception to the rules in 1974, and that exception cannot be rescinded.  When asked about putting up a wall, Wawa refused, largely on the grounds that building a wall there might damage the mature trees at the back of the lot.  But, to be good neighbors, they agreed to put up a solid 6′ vinyl fence instead of a wall, because that would only require hand-dug post holes, and so would spare those trees.

Separately, when meeting with the Board of Architectural Review, they proposed to use light fixtures that would be “shielded” to prevent light from the Wawa from spilling over into the adjacent neighborhood.

What Wawa said

Let me just document what was said and written about the trees.

Here’s what they said:

Audio excerpt from Wawa’s representative at the 2/21/2019 BAR meeting:

Audio excerpt from Wawa’s representative at the 4/18/2019 BAR meeting:

Here’s the plan they filed with the Town. 

Wawa landscape plan as posted by the Town of Vienna (.pdf).

And don’t forget the light. 

Edit:  I now realize this is a pre-existing light fixture.  It was formerly hidden by the trees that are no longer there.  That said, I surely hope Wawa swaps that out for something else and/or turns it off for now, because without the tree canopy, that’s like have a streetlight shining into the neighbor’s back yard.

And if they won’t swap it our or turn it off, could they they at least paint the glass that faces the neighboring yard black? A step ladder, a can of spray paint, and one minute of time, and at least this one issue could be quickly resolved.

Original text follows.

See the black light post in the picture above?  Here’s the side of the light that faces the neighbor’s back yard.  I’m sure that light was not designed to be shielded.  Possibly there’s no way to shield it so that it does not light up the adjacent yard.

And for sure, that’s not what Wawa showed to the Board of Architectural Review, and it’s not what the BAR approved.  The parking lot lighting that the BAR approved was specifically designed NOT to spill light onto adjacent properties.  Here’s the light the BAR was shown, and below that, there’s a graph of the pattern of light that produces, emphasizing the sharp cutoff of the light at 20′ behind the light pole.

Maybe that’s only temporary.  But given what happened to the trees, I think the Town needs to clarify that.  And if not, the Town needs to get Wawa to adhere to what was approved by the BAR.

Link to Wawa’s posted good neighbor policy.