Planning Division

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The Township's Building & Planning Department provides a high level of service and maintains absolute integrity and honesty assuring customers of the Department's commitment to safety, sound planning, promotion of economic development opportunities and the quality of life issues. To promote and protect the public health, safety and welfare throughout the coordinated and practical development of the Township as outlined in the Zoning Code. To partner with Township residents and the development and commercial business community to encourage development that protects and enhances the aesthetic character of the community. To balance the evolving needs of the community in a comprehensive manner which culminates in the safe and timely completion of construction and development projects.


(include but are not limited to)

  • Implementing comprehensive building & planning goals and land use policies by preparing recommendations for amendments to Township Codes.
  • Developing and overseeing long range comprensive planning efforts. Evaluating and developing Township land use policies for recommendation to the Board of Commissioners.
  • Reviewing subdivision, land development and Conditional Use applications according to Township Codes within legal time limits. Facilitating coordination with Commissioners, Township Engineer, staff applicants and their representatives, and neighborhood groups. Negotiating  solutions to development issues and providing recommendations to the various advisory boards and the Board of Commissioners.
  • Ensuring that Conditions of Approval imposed on zoning, subdivision, land development and Conditional Use applications are met.
  • Coordinating with the Township Engineer's office to review traffic and transportation proposals for subdivisions and land development proposals.
  • Maintaining and analyzing demographic, census, and land use statistics.
  • Preserving community character through open space, streetscape and historic preservation efforts.
  • Implementing and managing Township approved redevelopment plans including the Ardmore Transit Center Plan, the Bryn Mawr Master Plan, Bala avenue and City Avenue Streetscape Plans, Rock Hill Road/Belmont Avenue Transportation Service Area (TSA) and City Avenue TSA.


Building & Planning Committee

All Times Are Approximate

Co-Chairs: Commissioners Elizabeth S. Rogan & Philip S. Rosenzweig 
Vice-Chairs: Commissioners George T. Manos & Daniel S. Bernheim 



  2. Consider for recommendation to the Board approval of the release of funds held in escrow as Improvement Guarantees in accordance with Section 135-5 of the Township Code for the following (Exhibit A):

    Westminster Cemetery
    Escrow Release no. 1 -- $38,843.00

    Mary J. Drexel Home
    238 Belmont Avenue
    Escrow Release no. 1 -- $476,310.00

    Redleaf Manor
    514 Lancaster Avenue
    Escrow Release No. 7 -- $6,752.00



  4. Consider a request from the applicant to amend condition of approval no. 30 which was imposed on the Preliminary Land Development Plan for Whole Foods. The condition is listed below.
    (Exhibit B)

    “The applicant shall work with the Township and Penn DOT to install pedestrian scaled street lights along East Wynnewood Road of a similar style to the pedestrian scaled street lighting installed by the City Avenue Special Services District on Bala Avenue. The installed lighting shall be full cutoff.”



    311 E Lancaster Avenue,
    Audi of Wynnewood,
    Wynnewood, Ward 5, SD# 3712.

  6. Expiration Date – 8/4/2014 .............................. Zoning – C 1

    Applicant – Fred B. Fromhold, Esquire, Fromhold Jaffe and Adams
    Property Owner – Romill Associates, LP
    Applicant’s Representative – Fred B. Fromhold, Esquire, Fromhold Jaffe and Adams

    Consider for recommendation to the Board a Preliminary Land Development Plan prepared by Site Engineering Concepts, LLC, dated May 5, 2014, last revised June 6, 2014, Landscape Plans prepared by Glackin Thomas Panzak, dated May, 5 2014, last revised June 20, 2014 and Architectural Elevations prepared by Gardner Fox, dated May 5, 2014 showing the demolition of the existing 13,290 square foot former Main Line Times building and construction of a 15,796 square foot building to be used as an automobile sales building. The plan also proposes the installation of a stormwater management seepage bed and an 8’ foot wide sidewalk. The following conditions shall be complied with prior to recording the Final Plan by means of plan revision, completion or financial guarantee, unless specifically exempted. The plan is referred to the Planning Commission with attention called to the following conditions:

    Architectural Elevations

    1. The building shall be constructed substantially as shown on the architectural elevations prepared by Gardner Fox dated May 5, 2014 with the exception of changes as determined by staff to be in keeping with the presented elevations.
    2. All four sides of all mechanical units, whether on the roof or on the ground, shall be screened. Any future at grade mechanical equipment shall be visually screened. Any rooftop mechanical units shall be located as close as practical to Lancaster Avenue.
    3. The mean grade of the structure shall be calculated and shown on the plan. The architectural plans shall be coordinated with and shall comply with the grading proposed with this application.


    1. If a monument sign is proposed it shall be shown on the Final Plan.

    Landscape Plan:

    1. A solid eight (8) foot tall, board on board fence of a single design agreeable to the property owners shall be erected at the rear of the properties located at 268, 272, 274, 276, 278, 282 and 300 Hathaway Lane. Audi Wynnewood shall warranty the materials and workmanship of the fence for a period of one (1) year from the date of installation, following which the property owners shall be responsible for all aspects of the fence on their property. If for any reason the fence cannot be erected on these properties via a private agreement with those neighbors, the fence shall be placed on-site as directed by Township staff, if a fence is ultimately required.
    2. Grasses may count towards the total shrub requirement at a ratio of four (4), three (3) gallon grasses to one shrub.
    3. The applicant shall adjust the design of the stormwater management facility so that deciduous trees can be planted in the islands along the eastern property line.
    4. The applicant shall agree to maintain the street trees planted between the curb and sidewalk and shall replace them as directed by the Township.
    5. Additional columnar trees or other plant material shall be installed in the planted area directly in front of the proposed building. The location and species of the additional plant material shall be subject to the approval of Township staff.
    6. One additional street tree shall be provided in the planted area to the right of the drive access to the site. 
    7. The applicant shall work with staff to further define the separation between the surface parking area and the sidewalk and to select appropriate plant material for this purpose.
    8. The proposed ornamental grasses shown along the rail road tracks shall be replaced with evergreen shrubs and/or a fence.
    9. If a fence is placed on neighbor’s properties across the railroad tracks, then the 15 arborvitae proposed to be planted on neighbor’s properties shall be donated to the Township for off-site planting.
    10. The soil in the proposed planted areas shall be replaced or amended with organic material to make a sustainable planting medium. Structural soils shall be provided for all street trees if and as required by staff. 
    11. Any pruning of the proposed street trees shall be subject to the approval of the Township Arborist. 
    12. The applicant shall provide a water source for the landscaped areas on the site.
    13. Any required plant material that cannot be accommodated on site shall be provided to the Township for off-site planting. 
    14. A revised landscape plan complying with the applicable portions of the Natural Features Code Sections 101-9, 101-5B, Zoning Code Section 155-141.7 and conditions herein and shall be prepared and sealed by a Registered Landscape Architect and submitted with the Final Plan.


    1. An outdoor lighting plan, sealed by a responsible design professional, that includes illuminance patterns shall be submitted to and approved by the Director of the Building and Planning Department prior to issuance of any permits. The location, luminaire type, wattage, means of control and pole height shall be indicated. Lighting shall be designed to minimize the off-site transmission of light, to shield the source of illumination and to prevent glare on adjacent properties. Exterior luminaires shall be full cut-off unless it can be demonstrated that cut-off luminaires are more appropriate and will result in less off-site light trespass. 
    2. The lighting plan shall be designed to comply with the 2009 IECC or the 2007 ASHRAE Standard 90.1.
    3. Interior parking lot, interior and exterior building and signage lighting, with the exception of security lighting shall be powered down after business hours but no later than 10:15 p.m. and powered up before business hours to the greatest extent practical to reduce the off-site transmission of light to surrounding residences in keeping with applicable obligations to the health, safety and welfare of employees and invitees to the site.

    Site Operations:

    1. The applicant shall provide parking for employees on-site and/or on another property under their control.
    2. If determined necessary by the Zoning Officer, the required parking spaces shall be marked to differentiate employee and customer parking from vehicle inventory spaces. 
    3. No display vehicles shall be parked in the planted area that is located between the sidewalk and the front of the building. 
    4. Deliveries shall begin no earlier than 6 a.m. and conclude no later than 10 p.m.
    5. Refuse and recycling pick-up shall begin no earlier than 7 a.m. and shall conclude no later than 9 p.m. 
    6. If the internal storage of trash proves ineffective, then provisions for trash dumpsters and recycling containers shall be provided on this site. The trash/recycling area shall be fully enclosed with a solid material and screened from view of residential properties.
    7. Promotional materials, including streamers, balloons, banners, strings of lights and other similar devices shall not be displayed on the site.
    8. There shall be no use of a public address or loudspeaker system on the site.

    Traffic, Internal Circulation & Pedestrian Access:

    1. If in the future the applicant no longer occupies the property at 319-325 E. Lancaster Avenue, the delivery of all vehicles via car carriers or tractor trailers shall occur off-site. If a loading area is not provided on-site then the delivery of all parts and service equipment shall occur within the building. 
    2. Auto carriers shall not off-load on Lancaster Avenue.
    3. Parallel parking spaces shall be a minimum of twenty-two (22’) feet long.
    4. A stop sign and stop bar shall be added at the connection of the cross-over access aisle to the adjoining property in order to provide for the orderly movement of traffic. 
    5. “One-Way” and “Do-Not-Enter” signs shall be added at the western end of the service drive-through aisle.
    6. The radii of the drive shall be increased to provide for the safe and efficient movement of service vehicles anticipated to use the site and to prevent the need for trucks accessing/egressing the property to cross into opposing traffic lanes.
    7. The removal of parking spaces necessary to provide adequate maneuverability on the adjoining property near the cross-over access shall be detailed on the plans. If the cross-over access option is to be used then the removal/restriping of the adjacent lot shall be completed by the applicant. 
    8. A post development traffic study of the driveway operation shall be performed if/when directed by the Township. Turn restriction signage shall be installed if determined to be necessary by the Township as a result of the study and if approved by Penn DOT.

    Stormwater Management & Erosion Control:

    1. All roof drains shall be directly connected to the seepage bed. The direct runoff volume for the twenty-five (25) year storm shall be used. Location, diameter, material and minimum slope of the connection lines shall be provided on the plan.
    2. The responsibility for the continued maintenance and operation of the detention basin, inlets and outflow pipe shall be the obligation of the property owner. This note shall be clearly indicated on the plan and included in the Deed.
    3. The size and number of perforations per linear foot of pipe shall be included in the seepage bed detail in addition to the current note stating that perforations shall not be less than five-sixteenths (5/16”) inch in diameter and provide an opening area not less than three and thirty-one hundredth (3.31) square inches per square foot of pipe surface.
    4. Prior to the release of final escrow, the seepage bed shall be cleaned and certified by a professional engineer as to be functioning as designed.
    5. A description of how the permanent stormwater control facility will be operated and maintained shall be submitted by the design engineer. The frequency of inspection and the contact information for the party responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility shall be listed. The plan shall be presented in recordable form as a covenant running with the land and shall be approved by the Township Solicitor prior to recording.
    6. Certification attesting to the completeness of the design and compliance with Chapter 121 of the Lower Merion Code shall be included on the Erosion and Sediment Control Plans. 
    7. The runoff crossing to the adjacent properties during the construction phase of the project shall be managed so that the water quality/quantity impact is minimized to adjacent properties. Diversion berms, stoned construction staging areas, and inlets/piping shall be provided as necessary and/or directed by the Township so as to ensure acceptable conditions during the construction phase. 
    8. The inlet in Lancaster Avenue that is receiving connection of the outlet pipe from the stormwater basin shall be noted on the plans to be repaired/replaced as directed by the Township and approved by Penn DOT. 
    9. Details of the yard drains and catch basins proposed shall be provided on the plan.
    10. The yard drains and inlets proposed shall be numbered on the plans for clarity. 
    11. The pipe directing runoff from the inlets on the west side of the building and shown constructed under the building shall be increased in diameter to eight (8”) inches. The material of the pipe under the building shall be ductile iron pipe.
    12. Profiles of the fifteen (15”) inch HDPE storm lines shall be provided on the plan.
    13. All inlets in non-paved areas shall be graded in a twelve (12”) inch sump condition to increase the efficiency of runoff collection or as otherwise approved by the Township Engineer. Spot elevations shall be added and or adjustments to the rim elevations/contours shall be made on the plan to clarify grading. 
    14. AASHTO No. 1 stone shall be specified in the seepage bed detail.


    1. The applicant shall submit a demolition plan with the Final Plan. The demolition plan shall indicate how dust and other air particles will be controlled, the procedure for demolishing the buildings and how the demolished building materials will be removed from the site. If asbestos or any other regulated hazardous material exists within the building, it shall be removed and certifications to that effect shall be filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Notice of demolition shall be provided by posting of the site at least seven days in advance of the proposed demolition.
    2. During demolition of the existing structures the applicant shall ensure that the contractor takes appropriate measures to minimize dust at all times during active demolition. A hose or water truck shall be provided on site to spray the buildings during demolition.
    3. The applicant shall take photographs of all elevations of the building to be demolished. The photographs shall be submitted to Township staff for archival purposes with the Lower Merion Historical Society. Electronic copies of the photographs shall also be submitted.

    Construction Details:

    1. A detail of the retaining wall shall be provided. Top and bottom of wall spot elevations shall be added to clarify the limits/size of the wall. Calculations shall be provided for wall heights exceeding four (4’) feet. 
    2. A certification by a civil engineer of the condition of any existing retaining walls to remain shall be provided. Any recommended improvements/repairs shall be made a condition of a permit issuance. 
    3. Details of the concrete apron shall be provided. Details shall conform to Township standards.


    1. The location, size, material, and slope of the proposed sanitary lateral shall be shown.
    2. The location of all proposed utility services shall be provided.
    3. The existing water main and sanitary sewers in Lancaster Avenue shall be shown to within two hundred (200’) feet of the development.
    4. All existing utility service locations shall be shown, including the water line to the existing building. 
    5. The location of the existing sanitary lateral shall be shown.
    6. The size, material, slope and location of existing storm sewers shall be provided downgrade of the receiving inlet on Lancaster Avenue.

    Standard Plan Items:

    1. The hydrologic classification shall be provided on Sheet No. 2 of the plan. 
    2. Concrete road control monuments or other appropriate survey markers shall be installed at the right-of-way at the intersection of each property line and at all changes in direction as directed by the Township Engineer.
    3. A Planning Module or Exemption shall be approved by the City of Philadelphia and the DEP prior to recording the Final Plan.
    4. The error of closure shall be provided and shall not be greater than 1:5,000.

    Standard Conditions of Approval:

    1. The applicant shall utilize the services of an architectural salvage or deconstruction company, to recycle building materials on the existing structure, including but not limited to concrete, stone, brick, and wood. Architectural details such as windows and interior and exterior details including but not limited to fixtures and any wood, glass and metalwork of quality and good condition shall be salvaged. The applicant shall provide documentation to planning staff indicating how this condition will be met. 
    2. A copy of the revised plan shall be submitted with any changes highlighted. A letter shall also be provided with the revised plan indicating how each requested revision has been addressed in the re-submission. 
    3. Revisions to the plan shall address the Township Engineer’s June 27, 2014 review letter.
    4. The Final Plan, complying with all conditions of approval, shall be filed with the Department of Building and Planning within twelve (12) months from the date of the Preliminary Plan approval.
    5. If required by a Township Public Safety Agency, all new buildings shall have approved radio coverage for emergency responders within the building based upon the existing coverage levels of the public safety communications systems at the exterior of the building. 
    6. Any changes to the approved plans shall require the submission of an as-built plan prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. Building and Planning staff can waive this requirement if the changes are determined to be insignificant. 
    7. New and existing buildings shall have approved address numbers, building numbers or approved building identification placed in a position that is plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting on the property. The address numbers shall be a minimum of four (4) inches (102mm) high with a minimum stroke width of 0.5 inch (12.7mm). 
    8. The owner will make payment of fees and expenses of the Township’s professional consultants who perform services on behalf of the Township with respect to these plans and the work contemplated thereunder and will establish and maintain with the Township those escrows for the payment of such fees required by Township Code. Owner agrees that any statement from the Township for such fees which remain unpaid for a period of 30 days may be recorded against the property as a municipal lien. 
    9. The owner shall make payment of the Township Engineer’s and/or Clerk of the Works’ inspection fees within 30 days of presentation. A penalty of 1.5% per month will be due for late payments from the date of presentation. If any shares are not paid within 60 days of presentation, the Township may elect to suspend any outstanding permits until all pending charges are settled.
    10. The property owner(s) shall comply with all federal, state, county and applicable Lower Merion Township ordinances and laws regardless of specific mention herein.

    In addition, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the following waivers:

    1. A waiver of Subdivision & Land Development Code Section 135-26, to exceed the 36 foot maximum width for the eastern most curb cut on E. Lancaster Avenue.
    2. A partial waiver of Natural Features Code Section 101.9A, to not provide all of the required deciduous and evergreen shrubs and to allow ornamental grasses to be substituted for some of the required shrubs with the final number to be worked out with staff during the Final Plan process.
    3. A partial waiver of Natural Features Code Section 101.9A, to not provide all of the required deciduous trees with the final number to be worked out with staff during the Final Plan process. 
    4. A partial waiver of Natural Features Code Section 101.9A, to allow 15 of the required 29 required evergreen trees to be planted off-site.



    1. Consider for recommendation to the Board a proposal to construct two additions onto the existing home at 128 Fairview Road, Class 2, Penn Valley, 2014-R-10.

    2. On Monday, June 23, 2014 the Historical Commission recommended preliminary schematic approval of the plans as submitted at the June 23, 2014 meeting which specifically address the sympathetic massing of the garage, the glazed connections between the old and new portions of the home, the deference provided to the original 1800s rear “L”, the sympathetic palette of materials between old and new with the exception of some discussion by the Commission of the overall appropriateness of the fenestration and massing of the front section of the living room, kitchen and bedroom addition and its appropriateness with regard to scale when compared to the historic structures. The Commission also recommended that the next submission include additional final details addressing the points above, as well as specific materials and details.


    3. Consider for recommendation to the Board a proposal to construct a new two-car detached garage to replace a detached garage that was recently demolished due to fire damage at 26 Derwen Road, Class 2, Bala Cynwyd, 2014-M-11.

    4. On Monday, June 23, 2014 the Historical Commission determined that the proposed new garage at the rear of the lot has a minimal impact on the existing historic resource. The Commission noted that the owner provided the following clarifications on documents submitted at the meeting: the windows at all openings will be two over two aluminum windows, the garage doors will be square and the door openings will contain an alternate showing one row of square lights across the top and the side man door will have a single rectangular light. The Commission voiced a preference for hipped dormers to match those on the existing historic resource and for the color of the proposed asphalt roof to match that on the historic resource. The Commission also noted a preference for a lesser interval on the groove spacing for the siding.



  9. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Resolution of Support and authorization for Lower Merion Township to submit a grant application due July 17, 2014 to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for $300,000 in “Watershed Restoration Program Grant” funds through the Commonwealth Financing Agency for stormwater runoff improvements along Mill Creek.
    (Exhibit C)


  10. *** WITHDRAWN ***

  11. Consider for recommendation to the Board a request from Ardmore Initiative to host a September Farm to Table seated dining event on Cricket Avenue and request a waiver on the sale/use of alcoholic beverages on a portion of Cricket Avenue.
    (Exhibit D)



  13. Consider for recommendation to the Board a resolution to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors of the Ardmore Initiative Business District Authority.
    (Exhibit E)



    1. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to renovate the exterior of an existing one-story front addition to include installing custom casement windows with diamond leaded glass and installing a herringbone brick and half timber siding assembly similar to other dwellings in the English Village District at 622 Loves Lane, Wynnewood, private residence.

    2. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 HARB recommended approval as submitted subject to a condition that the new windows shall match the living room windows in design, pattern and leaded glass.


    3. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to construct a one-story addition to infill the right rear corner in-line with the existing dwelling, reinstall existing windows in the addition, convert a rear window into a door assembly, install a wood landing and stair, install Heritage laminated asphalt shingles and replace existing aluminum storm windows with new storm windows at 333 Righters Mill Road, Gladwyne, private residence, Gladwyne Historic District.

    4. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 HARB recommended approval subject to the following conditions:

      • Shingles shall be Heritage Woodgate; and
      • Gutters and downspouts shall be replaced to match existing.


    5. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to eliminate a previously approved wood deck at the rear of unit B in the proposed converted church building and install a patio on the west side of the unit across from the entranceway, change the proposed door to the deck to a window assembly and install a door assembly by the garage of unit B at 310 Righters Mill Road, Gladwyne, Gladwyne Methodist Church, Gladwyne Historic District.

    6. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 HARB recommended approval as submitted.


    7. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to amend the style of the recently approved fencing at 410 Arthurs Round Table, Wynnewood, English Village Historic District, private residence.

    8. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 HARB recommended approval as submitted.



  16. Discuss an ordinance to amend the Code of the Township of Lower Merion, Chapter 155, entitled Zoning, to amend Article XIX, Signs, Section 155-93.3.2 regarding total sign area, freestanding signs, illumination, banners, letter types, fabrication, and lighting, and Article XXXIV, Bryn Mawr Village District, Section 155-213.A.(1)(b) regarding street setbacks and 155-213.J(c) regarding buffer requirements adjacent to railroad rights-of-way.
    (Exhibit F)



  18. Consider for recommendation to the Board authorizing the Township Secretary to advertise a notice of intent to hold a public hearing and adopt an ordinance amendment on September 17, 2014 to amend the Code of the Township of Lower Merion, Chapter 155, Zoning, Section 155-134, Projections In Front Yards, by permitting one-story, open, roofed porches to project into the required front yard setback in the R-4, R-5, R-6, R6A and R-7 zoning districts, subject to compliance with specific standards.
    (Exhibit G)



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