At its July 12, 2017 meeting, the Brooklawn Planning Board approved the preliminary and final site plan for a new Wawa convenience store and fueling station to be constructed at the site of the Metro Diner, which will be demolished.
As for a timeline for when the project will begin, Duncan Prime, who is the attorney for the applicant LCP Brooklawn, stated that final approvals are still needed from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and also the County, but it looks like it will start next year.
During the public portion, Brooklawn resident, Doris Pulaski, read a statement about her concerns, which she said was written “from my heart.”
Pulaski said she is saddened and has a degree of denial about this “unexpected development of the Metro Diner. My family has been coming here since it was Ponzio’s and it has been a part of Brooklawn and its history.”
She said the diner has also been a part of family celebrations. “To the best of my memory, it has been rare for the parking lot of the diner to not be packed.”
Pulaski said she read the owner’s message.
“He is very ambivalent about a sale. I also don’t understand why an active business must be sold. I don’t understand Wawa’s ambition about buying the Metro to change it from a family restaurant,” she said.
Mayor Teri Branella responded: “I can sympathize. I think a lot of people feel the way you feel in that regard. That was really from your heart and I appreciate your coming up and expressing that.”
However, Branella added: “It is a business decision. I think we all have a sense of loss when we think of the Metro because they have been an excellent business in town. We have enjoyed having them in town. If it’s so that this is the direction that they are going, and it is a business deal between Wawa and Metro, then at that point in time, we need to open our arms and our hearts as Brooklawn does to everybody and [also] to Wawa as a business in town. So we have to be fair.”
The preliminary and final major site plan also includes space for a proposed 4,950 square foot retail building for a future tenant that hasn’t been identified.
As for the status of the Bellmawr Wawa that is located on Browning Road and Park Drive, Prime said “no decision has been made” with regard to that store, but it’s “likely” that it will close.
All photographs of the presentation boards taken by SJO: