Conshohocken Council Member Ralph Frey sends letter to constituents in Ward 7 explaining vote on zoning overlay

As reported, Conshohocken’s Borough Council 5-2 to adopt an ordinance that creates the Fayette Street Corridor Overlay District that is meant to expand the allowable uses of buildings along Fayette Street and spur new development.

Councilmember Ralph Frey (I, Ward 7) voted to adopt the ordinance, in what was his first significant vote on the council. He won election in 2023 and started serving in January 2024.

Almost all of the public comment that questioned overlay was focused on the upper avenues, which fall within Ward 6 (west side) and Ward 7 (east side), which represent the residents and businesses between 9th and 12th avenues.

Following his vote, Frey distributed a letter to his constituents in Ward 7 to explain the reasoning behind his vote. You can find the text of the letter below.


On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, Borough Council voted on the creation of an overlay district on Fayette Street that affords additional rights for property owners and creates additional opportunities for the types of uses that can be developed along Fayette. The ordinance and intent of the ordinance can be reviewed on the Borough website. This decision was made following a total of 14 public meetings over the course of 2022- 2024. I understand that some individuals have expressed concerns regarding the proposed ordinance.

I’m writing this letter for two reasons. The first is to explain why I voted yes on the ordinance. The second reason is to let you know that since joining borough council in January I’ve determined that one of my goals, while serving on council, is to identify issues like this ordinance that could directly impact our Ward and proactively engage you as early in the process as possible. How I engage you all may evolve over time; this letter is a first step in improving that communication.

I came to my decision based on the following considerations:

  1. The ordinance requires multiple conditions to be met for redevelopment to be approved
    including building height restrictions, architectural requirements, etc. I believe these
    regulations will ensure that aesthetically appropriate mixed-use buildings are developed that
    increase quality of life for all residents while maintaining the historical charm of our town. In
    addition, the types of businesses that are allowed in the upper avenues would be limited and
    must cease operations by 10pm.
  2. Some of our neighbors were concerned about consolidation of multiple lots, disregarding financial feasibility, this requires a developer to go through an additional approval process called the subdivision process which makes it subject to the Borough’s Subdivision and Land Development ordinance which would require approval from the Planning Commission and Borough Council. I can’t tell you that consolidating lots is impossible, but I can tell you that the Borough’s ordinances ensure that the proper checks on development exist.
  3. I trust the individuals who devoted their time to developing the ordinance. The Task Force was comprised of your neighbors and business owners, all of whom have a stake in seeing Conshohocken thrive while keeping its historic charm. By voting yes, I am voting for the belief that our community can work together to ensure that the Borough evolves forward while honoring our past.

The inclusion of more people in designing the future of this borough is a necessity. I firmly believe that the more voices we have participating in the process of designing a new ordinance like the overlay, and the earlier this participation occurs, will be critically important moving forward. If you’d like any additional detail, please reach out to me directly at


Please note that the email address in the letter has a mistake in it, the correct email address is