Hotel Project Revised, Now Proposed as Mixed Use with 40% Residential

Last night the proposal to rezone Fayette Street along its western unit block and back to Robinson Alley was on the agenda of Conshohocken’s Borough Council. The rezoning (known as Special Zoning District 4) was proposed by Keystone Property Group to allow for a hotel and larger office buildings. The rezoning had been previously tabled in January by Borough Council.

Last night we learned that Keystone has revised the development plan to now include 40% residential on the site (think an office building with condos on the top floors). This change lessons the impact of traffic, parking, etc., because it reduces the number of people using the property. Other changes announced included:

  • An establishment with a liquor license is now a conditional use, which means, if a restaurant wants to open in the development and serve alcohol it will need to go before Borough Council and receive approval. In previous versions of the proposal it was a permitted use
    • Under the rules of a permitted use, if a restaurant with a liquor license within the Borough of Conshohocken wanted to move to the development it could without seeking any permission in connection to moving the liquor license. The same is true if a new restaurant wanted to open at the site and buy a liquor license from a license holder within the Borough. An example would be when Tierra Caliente purchased Spamps’ liquor license
    • No matter the zoning rules for that development, if a restaurant wants to open at the site and bring in a liquor license from outside the Borough of Conshohocken, it would need to seek approval on adding a liquor license in the Borough. This is a state law. An example of this would be when The Lucky Dog moved its liquor license from Whitemarsh Township to Conshohocken
    • So by making a liquor license a conditional use, any restaurant seeking to open and serve alcohol at this site will have to seek Borough Council’s blessing
  • The Borough’s concern over the availability of public parking in the parking garage was said to be resolved, but was not explained

Due to these revisions, which were described as major by the Borough’s solicitor, the approval process has to start over. This means that the rezoning proposal has to go back and have a hearing at the Planning Commission and then Borough Council. Last night, Borough Council voted to advertise the hearings, which was approved 6-0. Robert Stokley (R, Ward 6) recused himself.