Residents win battle over Wawa store plan



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - WFTV was there as more than 200 residents packed an Orange County meeting Wednesday night to protest a popular convenience store popping up all over central Florida.

The store was supposed to be built at the corner of University Boulevard and Hall Road in east Orange County.

When the wildly popular gas station chain opened its first store in Orange County earlier this summer, residents came out in droves and officials cheered.

But more than 220 people turned out for a public meeting all against a new location proposed to go in their back yards.

"A 24-hour gas station is not the kind of thing you put in the middle of five neighborhoods," said resident Ellen Hutchinson.

Wawa officials desperately tried to convince residents that the small spot at the corner should be rezoned to allow the new 5,000-square-foot station, but residents wouldn't budge. They even took a vote and not a single person backed the plan.

They said they're not against the chain, just the location that is zoned for homes. They're worried about traffic, noise, and other disruptions the 24-hour store could bring.

In the end, Wawa officials vowed to drop the plan and promised the residents they wouldn't hear from them again.

"I think they realized they needed to do something to maintain their credibility," said resident Ron Tarr.