Conshohocken’s borough council approves $5.1 million purchase of former car dealership for public safety facility

During the June 18th meeting of Conshohocken’s borough council, the council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of three parcels that comprise the former car dealership at 1109 and 1119 Fayette Street and 1201 Butler Pike for $5.1 million.

The seller, Provco Pineville Fayette LP, had sought to construct a Wawa with fuel pumps on the property since 2010. In 2013, the borough council voted 6-1 not to adopt a zoning amendment that would have allowed the proposal to go forward. That was followed by a long-series of hearings before the zoning hearing board that also led to a denial.

In 2017, the developer revisited obtaining a zoning amendment from the borough council and was successful. The vote was 4-3. However, this decision was appealed and was found to be spot zoning by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court, and thus, it never moved forward.

With the purchase of the property, the borough intends to construct a public safety facility to house Conshohocken Fire Company No. 2 and Narberth Ambulance. Those two entities currently own their own facilities within the borough and will move. Washington Fire Company No. 1, which owns its own facility on West Elm Street, will continue to act as a storage facility for water rescue equipment and smaller vehicles needed to fight fires in parking garages.

During a previous meeting, there was a presentation from the first responder organizations on the need for a larger and more modern facility. There is currently limited space for offices, bunking, equipment repair, and maintenance within the two firehouses and Narberth Ambulance’s station. There is also the belief that more modern facilities will help with the recruitment and retention of volunteers.

There was also the acknowledgement that with the declining number of volunteers, having a borough-owned facility would prepare for the eventual need for a fully professional force of first responders.

In addition to the vote on purchasing the property, there was additional votes to acquire the property utilizing funds from its capital reserve (a cash acquisition) and one that will allow the borough to finance associated costs if needed in the future.