St. Augustine South residents push back against proposed Wawa

People living in neighborhood can voice concerns to leaders at meeting Thursday

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A Wawa convenience store that could be built at the corner of U.S. 1 and St. Augustine South Drive has received pushback from people who live near the proposed development. 

At a meeting Thursday afternoon, people who live in the St. Augustine South subdivision will have an opportunity to voice their concerns about the proposal to county leaders.

There's also an online petition, with as many as 100 signatures of people against the proposed development, circulating on social media.

Among St. Augustine South residents' concerns is the plan to move an entranceway further back into the neighborhood, in line with Segovia Street. 

Ahead of Thursday's Planning and Zoning Board meeting, Rosemary McWilliams, who lives in St. Augustine South, told News4Jax on Wednesday that her biggest concern is traffic.

"Just the fact that the traffic will be ridiculous," McWilliams said. "It is bad now."

Aside from the traffic concerns, people also don’t want to deal with light pollution and extra noise.

"The biggest concern is that it is 24 hours," said Chris Childers, who lives in St. Augustine South. "So you have no reprieve from any of that."

According to the county’s planning division report, the 6,100-square-foot Wawa gas station would replace the 15,000-square-foot Z-Best Furniture store currently located on the south end of the property.

Neighbors said there are already enough gas stations within a few miles of their subdivision, including two directly across the street.

Childers, who lives less than 100 feet away from the proposed gas station, expressed frustrated with how the county’s growth has affected people who have lived there for decades.

"It is terrible that our county is growing so much, but yet all of our little neighborhoods are getting destroyed," Childers said. "They’re not listening to the local people that are going to be impacted on a day-to-day basis."

If the project is eventually approved, Wawa will have five years to tear down the furniture store and build the gas station.

St. Augustine South residents will have an opportunity to speak at Thursday's Planning and Zoning Board meeting. It starts at 1:30 p.m. at the county auditorium, at 500 San Sebastian View in St. Augustine.

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Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.