Letter to the Editor: Patricia Kalata

Township resident assails proposed Wawa at Barclay Farms Shopping Center, ruminates on future of neighborhoods and climate.

To the Editor,

The current Cherry Hill government seems to be sacrificing the township’s long-term quality of life, economic and environmental, for a short term decision to avoid a tax increase. If there is approval of a large Wawa gas station to replace much of the Barclay Farms Shopping Center, our elected and appointed government officials would seem to be pushing problems down the road, the least of which is taxes.

Our judgment date may arrive in as little as 5 to 10 years as they choose to ignore climate change, groundwater pollution and shortage, the need to replace fossil fuels, and a decline if not disappearance of independent businesses.

Currently, there are several gas stations along Route 70, three in the immediate area of Barclay, plus an existing Wawa gas station, less than a mile away, just east of Interstate 295. There is no shortage of gas stations on any major roads in the township. What will replace those buildings and gas pumps? Will those sites become constantly changing and failing businesses? How will this situation impact the tax base?

As to the proposed construction: what is the projected change in air pollution, in traffic flow, in increased weather conditions? What will be the health risks, including risk of fire? We can only guess at the future.

More importantly, will Cherry Hill become less desirable to possible homebuyers, not just in Barclay Farms and Kingston Estates? What will a decline in home prices do to property taxes? How much of a ripple effect will be created in public services, including education?

Our official decision makers can rush to approve this Wawa plan. But it will be the Cherry Hill residents who will have to live with the lasting results.

Patricia Kalata

Cherry Hill, N.J.