By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on May 17, 2022
Kill Devil Hills will be home to the first Wawa convenience store in North Carolina following the May 16 town commissioners’ approval of a site plan for one of its stores at 1900 N. Croatan Highway, located on the west side of the highway just south of BB&T and across from the former Kmart.
The site, which was unanimously approved with some conditions, will include a 6,000-square-foot convenience store, eight gas pumps and 52 parking spaces. The plan was developed by Arista Development on behalf of Wawa, which has its eye on several other locations in North Carolina as well, according to its External Public Relations Supervisor Jennifer Wolf. In an email to the Voice written after the board vote, Wolf stated there is currently no timeframe for construction of the store in Kill Devil Hills.
Wawa operates more than 850 convenience stores (with 600 of them offering gasoline) in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. The chain is known for its built-to-order food, freshly brewed coffee, hot breakfast sandwiches and other Wawa brand items.
“Overall, the package that we’ve gotten is extremely thorough, it’s well engineered, it’s very detailed – how every post hole is going to be dug and where every piece of wire goes,” said Kill Devil Hills Mayor Ben Sproul before the vote. “We want folks here in the audience and folks in the neighborhood to know that we do have your best interest at heart, we are doing our best for the community at all times. You’ve definitely got a quality engineering team that put this package together.”
Several residents who live on neighboring streets spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, voicing concerns including Wawa’s plans to install a vinyl fence as a buffer from the neighborhood. “A vinyl fence will provide no barrier from noise, lights or anything else,” one resident asserted.
During the site plan presentation, however, Assistant Planning Director Cameron Ray said that the applicant has since revised the site plan to replace the vinyl fencing with shadowbox fencing to accommodate wind load and other maintenance issues.
For his part, Kill Devil Hills Commissioner Terry Gray said he would like to see the applicant go further.
“I would urge the developer to look at the fence up by Lowe’s and try to go one step further and help out with the buffering from the residences,” Gray asserted. He said that moving forward, he would like to see the town’s ordinances strengthened to require buffering that offered more of a sound barrier in situations similar to the Wawa project, where commercial establishments abut residential properties.