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Jax Daily Record Friday, Nov. 9, 201805:20 AM EST

St. Johns County Commission approves plans for Wawa

The developer will replace the Z-Best furniture store with a gas station and convenience store.
by: Jay Schlichter Staff Writer

The St. Johns County Commission gave a Michigan-based developer permission to remove Z-Best furniture rental location in St. Augustine for construction of a Wawa convenience store, despite concerns from the public.

The five commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to allow TVC Highway One Co. LLC, a subsidiary of The Velmeir Companies, to replace Z-Best with a 6,116-square-foot Wawa gas station and convenience store at northeast U.S. 1 and St. Augustine South Drive.

The Velmeir Companies, based in West Bloomfield, Michigan, is a commercial retail developer whose clients include CVS, Home Depot, Chipotle, McDonald’s, Wawa, Chick-fil-A and Kroger, according to the company's website.

The project's approval required modifications that include revising the planned unit development to allow for a convenience store; vacating a portion of the county's right-of-way property and adding that parcel to the store site plan; and several waivers deviating from the master development plan text requirements.

St. Johns County staff and commissioners said they received emails, phone calls and letters supporting and opposing the Wawa development.

Three women at the meeting asked the commissioners to reconsider approval. Concerns included increased traffic, lighting, trash pickup, fuel delivery and access to neighborhoods by transients.

Wawa opened its fifth store Nov. 1 in Northeast Florida at 9715 Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville. The Pennsylvania-based chain intends to open up to 40 locations in the region, with at least 20 sites identified so far in Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties.

The first three Northeast Florida Wawa stores and gas stations opened in December.

Wawa, which is privately held, operates more than 790 stores, of which more than 600 sell gasoline, in six states.

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