Some residents of a Philadelphia suburb are fighting the development of a piece of commercial property in their neighborhood, saying the addition of a planned mega-sized supermarket and gas station would decrease their homes’ values and shatter their quality of life.

Wawa intends to spend $6 million to build a 6,000-square-foot store and a gas station on less than two acres along Haddonfield Road on the site of a closed car dealership. The battle is sure to drag on, as both sides appear resolute in their beliefs.

The area has undergone a rebirth over the past five years. While neighbors said they recognized the site one day would have a commercial tenant, Wawa isn’t the one they want. They say they can’t support a new neighbor that never closes, has bright lights and attracts customers in the middle of the night who will drive through a parking lot that is near the bedrooms of some area residents.

Residents have said they also worry about the safety of people walking and driving in the area. They are trying to build their case by carefully checking site plans and passing around petitions.

One official representing Wawa said the grocer would be an ideal neighbor and already has listened to concerns. He said the company has revised site plans to realign the parking lot, added landscaping and changed the configuration of lights.

The Cherry Hill, New Jersey, area, like other older Philadelphia suburbs, already has seen significant redevelopment. A closed track site, for example, has been transformed into a residential and shopping complex. Just more than one mile north is the proposed Wawa site.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Cherry Hill neighbors bemoan plan for jumbo Wawa,” Kevin Riordan, Feb. 19, 2012