As MoreThanTheCurve.com recently reported, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the state’s second-highest court, recently issued an opinion that upheld Conshohocken’s Zoning Hearing Board’s determination that Conshohocken’s Borough Council committed spot zoning through an ordinance that would have allowed for a Wawa with gas pumps to be built along the 1100 block of Fayette Street.
So now what?
The Borough of Conshohocken has 30 days to appeal this decision. The developer seeking to build the Wawa, Provco-Pineville Fayette, could also appeal as it is a party to the case. Any appeal would continue to cost Conshohocken legal fees (meaning even if the borough decides against an appeal, but the developer appeals, the borough will continue to be involved in the case).
MoreThanTheCurve.com spoke with an attorney involved in the case about where things could go from here. The attorney believes that even if the decision is appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the court will decline to hear the appeal because the case does not present the opportunity to create new law.
Conshohocken’s Borough Council could also decide to revise the ordinance that was determined by the Commonwealth Court to be spot zoning hoping that a new version would be successful against any legal challenge. The attorney we spoke with believes that this path would be difficult due to the testimony that was presented showing that it is impossible to recreate the conditions needed to develop a convenience store with gas pumps at another location within the Residential-Office zoning district.
Borough Council could also to move on from the issue. It has no obligation to amend the zoning code.
The developer could also decide to walk away from the project or seek to redevelop the property with another use that may or may not need zoning relief.
If the developer walks away, Tim and Dennis Moore, the owners of the property, could sell the property to someone else.
What do you think the parties involved should do? Time to walk away or keep fighting for a Wawa? Let us know in the comments.