**Update - The article below states that there will be a 70-person limit at next Tuesday's Planning Board meeting where an updated application to build a Wawa in Wayne will be discussed. This is true, however, according to Mayor Vergano, people who show up live will not all be in the council chambers for the meeting.
"When people show up, they will be given a ticket," said the Mayor. "The color of the ticket will let people know which room they will be going into. Once we hit the 70 maximum, people can wait outside if they want to in case somebody leaves. Or they can view it on Zoom at home and participate that way."
Because of social distancing and the Governor's restrictions on indoor meetings, only the first 30 or so people who get tickets will actually be in the council chambers where the meeting will be held. The other 40 or so will be seated in the Health department meeting room or in the meeting rooms in the library. Here they will watch and participate via zoom.
WAYNE, NJ – The long-awaited sequel to the Wawa site approval hearing is finally happening on Tuesday, October 13 in Wayne Township’s first hybrid in-person/online public meeting since the pandemic began.
The main item on the agenda is a request from MCBS-RENJ Wayne, LLC for a preliminary and final site plan approval to build a Wawa convenience store and gas station where the old Nagel’s Candy Barn used to be on Route 23 near Packanack Lake.
The original application was carried from the February 10, 2020 Planning Board meeting, and was carried again from the April 13 meeting because of the pandemic shut down. It continued to be carried to the May 11 meeting, again to the June 22 meeting, to the August 10 meeting and will finally be heard on October 13.
“The applicant has insisted on an in-person meeting,” said Wayne Town Planner, Chris Kok. “So, we are holding a hybrid in-person meeting that will be shown on Zoom as well.”
The meeting will be held in the Wayne Council Chambers at Town Hall next Tuesday, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The original hearing, held in February, drew a large crowd of Wayne residents, most of whom live near the proposed site. These were the “Say No to Wawa” crowd, who provided a strong resistance to the project.
At this meeting, the applicant will be proposing a revised application. “Their plans have been revised based on comments from the board and the public at the February hearing, so there are some minor changes to the plans that they will be presenting,” Kok said.
Kok believes the October 13 meeting may also be crowded and warns that there will be a 70-person limit at the meeting, not counting Planning Board members, security or any members of the applicant’s team.
“Starting at 7:00 p.m., we will be handing out tickets to people who want to attend,” explained Kok. “Once we reach the 70-person capacity, we will not allow any more people in. This is to conform with the Governor's executive orders regarding COVID and maximum capacities.”
As a precaution, Kok is asking that residents use the Zoom platform to participate in the meeting. “But, if they do want to come in person, that is available, until we reach our capacity,” he added.
Mayor Chris Vergano added: "Face coverings are required at the meeting and people must maintain social distancing guidelines. We want this to be a safe event for everyone in attendance."
There are six other items on the agenda for the October 13 meeting. Five are resolutions on applications that have already been heard and should be quickly voted on. The sixth item is an application for Harbor Freight who is looking to take over a portion of the old Staples store on Route 23, not far from the proposed Wawa. These will all be heard first with the Wawa application as the final item on the agenda.