In 2019, Whitemarsh Township’s Zoning Hearing Board voted 4-1 to deny variances and a special exception sought by 601 Washington Street Associates in regards to a 270-unit apartment community at 601 Washington Street in Conshohocken (Whitemarsh Township). Concerns expressed involved the ease of getting to and from the property due to the lack of a connection to Lee Street and the hazards of living in a flood plain.
A revised plan from the developer is on the April 26th meeting of Whitemarsh Township’s Planning Commission. The township zoning officer, Charlie Guttenplan, provided a summary to the members of the planning commission that reviewed the history of the project and what the developer is now seeking.
Guttenplan explained that after the zoning hearing board’s 2019, the developer appealed the decision and has thus far been partially successful. The Court of Common Pleas ruled in the developer’s favor regarding two of the variances denied by the zoning hearing board. The other items were appealed to the Commonwealth Court and the parties are awaiting a possible mediation resolution.
While this mediation is underway, the developer also submitted a revised plan that it believes does not require any additional zoning relief and if approved would resolve the appeal.
During the April 26th meeting, the planning commission will be tasked with deciding whether to recommend the approval of the preliminary plan and the granting of waivers to the board of supervisors.
There are currently three apartment communities under construction above the Matsonford Bridge in Conshohocken. Closest to the bridge is the 304 unit The Birch at 51 Washington (expected to be completed in the fall of 2022). Just upriver and adjacent to The Birch is the 276 unit Matson Mill community (expected to be completed in the fall of 2022). Just off the river along West Elm Street is the 348 unit 400 West Elm community (expected to be completed in the fall of 2023).
Below the bridge, there is a 597 apartment community at 401-433 Washington Street that is approved but has not yet broken ground. This community straddles the border between the Borough of Conshohocken and Whitemarsh Township. If the proposed plan for 270 apartments at 601 Washington Street is approved, that would bring the total number of new apartments below the bridge to 867.
The entire riverfront would see 1,795 new apartments.
The April 26th meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Whitemarsh Township Building at 616 Germantown Pike in Lafayette Hill. You can find the agenda and the supporting documents (starting on page 37) here.