There is a new proposal to bring a Wawa with gas pumps to the Moore property at 12th and Fayette. And yes it is indeed a Wawa. The new proposal has a rendering that states its a “new Wawa” on the bottom left of the image (see image below). During the previous attempt to bring a Wawa to Fayette Street, the proposal went from openly being a Wawa to a generic convenience store with gas pumps.
The developer is seeking to amend the Borough of Conshohocken’s zoning code to allow a Wawa type business (and others) in operate within Residential-Office district. This district was created to protect the larger homes along the upper Avenues of Fayette Street and lesson the commercial impact.
You can read the new proposed text amendment here (you can read the previous text amendment that did not pass here).
The previously defeated amendment was focused on a property that consisted of 40,000 square feet. So if you had a smaller property, none of the changes could be applied to your property. The new proposal is more broad and troublesome.
For example, in the current zoning for this area (the R-O district), a restaurant/bar is not a permitted or even a conditional use. So why are there four in that area? Lenny’s, Pasta Via and The StoneRose either existed before the current zoning took effect in 2005 or replaced another similar business that had existed there before the zoning change (for example, The StoneRose took over the Y2K space). Note that ‘feine sought zoning relief and received it. It replaced an office.
What is troublesome is that the new proposed amendment allows restaurants as a permitted use throughout the entire R-O district as long as its not impacting the Victorian style structures or early 20th century homes.
As we pointed out earlier this month when we reported on the Greek restaurant opening on East First Avenue, the entire block of East First Avenue has become restaurants over the past 15 years. It had one restaurant 15 years ago. By the end of the 2017 it will be seven restaurants and nothing else.
So consider the western side of Fayette between West 8th and just over the other side of West 9th. The new proposal could result in this whole block becoming restaurants (there are some standards that have to be met that apply to building size, lot size, etc, but someone could always apply for zoning relief if a particular building doesn’t meet the standard).
We just received this information and we are still going over it, but that is what jumps out at us on first glance.
We are told that the proposal will be presented to the Planning Commission on September 14th, but we haven’t seen the notice yet.
The opposition, organized under the Conshohocken Revitalization Alliance, is already gearing up to oppose the new proposal. Here is its Facebook post from this morning:
More to come.