The College Park City Council discussed a proposal Tuesday evening to develop a section of a parking lot near Ikea into a Wawa. Once constructed, the facility would be 4,736 square feet and include a 10-pump gas station.
The parking lot in question is located between Ikea Way and Route 1, and it is currently owned by Roadside Development LLC, which also owns the shopping complex across the way. That company is seeking to lease the property to Wawa.
On Tuesday, the council outlined revisions that Wawa will need to make in its site plan for the project to be certified by the county’s planning board. Larry Taub, an attorney for Roadside Development, said the company predominantly agrees with the conditions.
“We’re very excited about this,” Taub said. “We think this is going to be a great addition to that complex that already exists.”
The first condition requested that Wawa revise the site plan by adding a sidewalk from Ikea Way to the rear entrance of the property. It also asked that Wawa detail the number of bike parking spaces and identify a final location for a bike and scooter-share parking. The city also wants Wawa to revise its electric scooter parking to match the city’s roadway markings, said College Park senior planner Miriam Bader.
Additionally, the council laid down a second condition that asked Wawa to reconsider the architectural design of the project and its materials. The council preferred colors that would better match the facade of the building to the gas pumps and canopy, said Bader.
Some council members had complaints about the project, though. District 1 Councilman Fazlul Kabir, who represents the district where the proposed Wawa would be located, said his constituents would rather have a nice restaurant built on the site — especially since there’s another Wawa just down Route 1, less than a mile away.
“For our residents, it’s not something on their wish list to see another Wawa close to the neighborhood,” Kabir said.
But Kate Kennedy, the other District 1 council member, said the Wawa is a great way to make an unappealing, vacant lot into something more attractive. She pointed out that when an area becomes more inviting, it can draw in more people and bring in more revenue for the city.
District 3 Councilman John Rigg said he was worried about the Wawa taking up parking that would otherwise be used by Holiday Inn guests. But Taub said that the parking lot had already undergone an evaluation by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which determined that the lot exceeded the number of spaces required by both the Wawa and the Holiday Inn.
Bader said the Prince George’s County Planning Board is scheduled to hear the Detailed Site Plan on April 30 to determine if the development can continue to move forward — something Kennedy expressed hope would happen, especially considering that Wawa hosts pumps that allow customers to fill their tires for free.
“I do love Wawa’s free air,” she said. “And there’s a line at the one that’s a few blocks up all the time when I need air in my tires.”
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story misstated the name of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. This story has been updated.