After Drawn-Out Legal Saga, Wawa Backs Out Of Planned Coral Gables Store
After a nearly decadelong battle, a group of elementary school parents has defeated an attempt by a developer to put a Wawa gas station in Coral Gables.
A Miami-Dade County Circuit Court judge has approved a settlement agreement voiding Wawa's deal to open a location at 280 South Dixie Highway, across from George Washington Carver Elementary School, Gables Insider reported.
The decision brings to a close the saga that started in 2014, when a development at the site was first proposed. In 2017, after years of negotiations, the city of Coral Gables authorized a developer to build on the land without seeking a public hearing — a judge would later rule that decision "blatantly illegal."
The city authorized the developer, Bahamian Village LLC, to build a gas station and convenience store on land initially slated for a community center and a restaurant. When the gas station plans become public in 2020, parents at the magnet school were livid and sued to block the development in January 2021, Gables Insider reported.
“We do not believe that this is in the best interest of our students or our school community. Not only will it bring increased pollution within close proximity to the school but could also be a magnet for violent crime," the George Washington Carver PTSA board said in a statement. “The GW Carver Elementary PTA is fundamentally opposed to the project because of the safety risks to young children arising from additional traffic at an intersection, which is already struggling to accommodate a large number of cars.”
That lawsuit derailed the planned development. The convenience store amended its lease with Bahamian Village LLC to stipulate the deal could be voided if the parents' lawsuit wasn't resolved by February. The lease was officially terminated in March, and Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman approved the settlement agreement earlier this summer.