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VENTNOR — City officials have dismissed claims made online that the now vacant Wawa on Dorset Avenue would house a needle-exchange program.

The claims had appeared on the Ventnor Community Forum Facebook page since May and questioned whether the city would host the service in Ventnor Heights.

A needle exchange program provides access to sterile needles and syringes free of cost and facilitates the safe disposal of used needles and syringes. According to the Center for Disease Control, the programs are an approach to disease prevention among people who inject drugs.

“There is no way we would be accepting a needle exchange in the city of Ventnor,” Commissioner Lance Landgraf said at the Sept. 13 Commission meeting.

Landgraf explained to the approximately 15 residents in attendance that the zone in which the Wawa resides does not list such a program as a permitted use. The city would have to formally approve or reject a potential developer’s application for a variance.

Landgraf said the mayor and commissioners would oppose this kind of proposal.

“I can guarantee you I will never approve that,” he said.

Landgraf also reported that Construction Code Official Jimmie Agnesino had received no inquiries about any redevelopment plans for the Wawa site.

Landgraf and Police Chief Doug Biagi urged those who attended to reach out to city officials to address any questions in the future.

“This is the most transparent administration I’ve ever worked with. Thirty-three years here I’ve worked,” Biagi said “You hear a rumor you call us up.”

The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 27.

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