2019 was a busy year for MoreThanTheCurve.com. There were a lot of big stories this year and we did our best to cover them all. Below are what we think are the Top 10 stories of the year:
- Groundbreaking! 2019 saw the start of the construction of two large office buildings in Conshohocken. One is the 400,000-square-foot corporate headquarters of AmerisourceBergen at West 1st Avenue and Fayette Street and the second is the 260,000-square-foot Seven Tower Bridge on the riverfront. Alternative investment management firm Hamilton Lane has announced that it will occupy half of Seven Tower Bridge
- On July 5th the Borough of Conshohocken removed three firetrucks from the Washington Fire Company and removed the fire company from service due to a dispute over an audit. The trucks were eventually returned and the fire company returned to service.
- Gridlock in Whitemarsh! Sinkholes along Butler Pike, the West Valley Green Road Bridge closure, and various construction projects in the township resulted in traffic backups throughout the year.
- Politics! The political story of 2019 involved the Colonial School Board. After the 2017 election, three new board members and two other board members joined together to change the leadership and direction of the board. In the 2019 election, the president and vice-president (and their associated candidates) all lost.
- Makeover! Macy’s closed its store at the Plymouth Meeting Mall in 2017. In 2019, two stores, a restaurant, and a gym opened in the former Macy’s bringing new life to the mall.
- The smell! Throughout 2019 the operation of the Covanta plant in Conshohocken (Plymouth Township) was the focus of scrutiny from neighbors and local governments. Neighbors were concerned over emissions from the plant and this concern drive local governments to reconsider utilizing the services of the plant (which burns trash as part of a process to generate electricity). In the end, most local governments chose to renew with Covanta, but for fewer years than originally proposed. Whitemarsh did break with the pack and decided to landfill.
- This should really be a scandal! At the end of 2018, Whitemarsh Township’s Board of Supervisors adopted a zoning amendment that added townhomes as a conditional use to the VC-4 zoning district. No one really noticed because this use wasn’t part of the review process. It was added during the period after the Planning Commission recommended the amendment and before the Board of Supervisors voted. Eventually, Supervisor Amy Grossman took the blame for instructing the staff to add the language to the amendment. This needs to be more thoroughly examined.
- Mixed results! In 2018 the Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors voted to allow the construction of townhouses on the Abolition Hall property. In 2019, an appeal by the Friends of Abolition Hall was denied (the group is appealing the decision), but the Planning Commission did vote to not recommend the land development plan (which will go before the Board of Supervisors in 2019).
- One-party rule! While Democrats were willing to break their ballot for the Colonial School Board, that wasn’t the case when it came to municipal elections. Democrats now control 100% of the seats in Whitemarsh Township and West Conshohocken. They control six of seven seats in Conshohocken.
- Goose! The Wawa saga continued in 2019. Late in 2018 Conshohocken’s Borough Council passed an ordinance to allow it. In early 2019, Conshohocken’s Zoning Hearing Board invalidated that ordinance and that decision was appealed. That is where it stands at the end of 2019.
We covered all these stories and more during 2019. If you like our coverage, please consider buying a Conshy Card to support local journalism. Conshy Cards provide discounts to a bunch of local businesses (for example save 15% on dry cleaning at Town Valet Cleaners). Buy a card for $20 now through the end of the year.