Local residents opposed to Wawa speak out at Lady Lake Commission meeting

Local residents opposed to a proposed Wawa gas station and convenience store spoke out against the project Monday night.

Marilyn Solomon
Marilyn Solomon

Marilyn Solomon lives in a building that would be demolished to make way for the Wawa which would be built at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and County Road 466.

The surgical tech at The Villages Regional Hospital said she believes that Wawa would not benefit local residents.

“They aren’t going to do anything for us and we are going to make them rich,” she told members of the Lady Lake Commission.

Nora Choquette, a resident of Lady Lake, said she fears her hometown could become ”gas station central.”

Mayor Jim Richards told the anti-Wawa meeting attendees that the meeting was not the proper forum for them to express their feelings about the project. He said that would come at a future date.

Solomon said she would be back.

“And I hope to round up my neighbors,” she said.

Villager Joe Quinn said he wants Wawa, but not at that location.

“We need to stop now,” he said.

The anti-Wawa forces enjoyed at least one victory.

The commission split 3-2 on amending the town’s land development regulations that would have amended the minimum required setback of gas station canopy structures from 50 to 45 feet. It is something Wawa specifically wanted.

Commissioners Tony Holden, Paul Hannan and Dan Vincent voted against it. Mayor Richards and Commissioner Ruth Kussard voted for it.

After the vote, a representative for Wawa said he was unsure how the company would choose to proceed without winning this concession from the town.

Vincent said he did not vote against Wawa. He voted against changing a regulation.

“Just once I would like to see us hold to something,” Vincent said.