Tonight Conshohocken’s Zoning Hearing Board rendered its decision on the proposal to build a convenience store with gas pumps at 12th and Fayette and it did not go well for the developer. The Zoning Hearing Board cast three votes and all unanimously denied the zoning relief sought by the developer Provco Pineville.
This marks the third time the developer has lost a vote over its proposal to construct what was at onetime a proposed Wawa and eventually became a generic proposal for an unnamed convenience store with gas pumps. Conshohocken’s Planning Commission and Borough Council both voted against the proposal when it sought to change the zoning code to allow the development. After losing those battles, the developer sought zoning relief from the existing zoning code from the Zoning Hearing Board.
So why was the zoning relief not granted? The Zoning Hearing Board did not have to provide a reason. They voted and that was it. However, having watching a great deal of the proceedings we wanted to share with you what we thought was the reason.
Since the developer sought relief from the zoning code, it had to prove a hardship. The proposed property fell in a zoning district that was residential and offered a limited use of commercial uses, such as professional offices. Was this level of commercial use, a 24-hour convenience store with gas pumps, the only viable path to redevelop the property? The developer brought in a real estate expert who testified that the property wouldn’t be viable as a residential development. The group fighting the proposal, brought in their own experts who testified that residential developers would be interested in the property and it could be developed for a residential use.
So anyone who lives or spends any amount of time in Conshohocken knows that it is a hot residential real estate market. Developers are putting up townhomes in any open land, knocking down one home to build two, etc. Over in West Conshohocken those homes built behind McDonald’s all sold in just a few months for $350,000+. The argument that the property at 12th and Fayette wouldn’t be attractive and viable as a residential development just didn’t make any sense.
So now what? The developer can choose to take the issue to court. The appeal period will begin on October 10th, so we will have to wait until then to find out.
So if going the extra few blocks to existing Wawa’s is to much for you, here is a video that shows you how to make Wawa hoagies at home: