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):

    254 Righters Mill Road
    Phase 2
    Escrow Release no. 5, Final - $7,145.00

    35 Old Lancaster Road
    Symphony House
    Escrow Release no. 3 - $29,850.00

    Westminster Cemetery
    Escrow Release no. 2 - $6,050.00

    The Baldwin School
    Athletic Center
    Escrow Release no. 3, Final - $24,853.00

    The Baldwin School
    Tennis Court
    Escrow Release no. 3, Final - $17,521.00

    Redleaf Manor
    510 E. Lancaster Avenue
    Escrow Release no. 8 - $50,305.00

    115 W. Montgomery Avenue
    Formerly 101 Woodside Road
    Escrow Release no. 3 - $47,329.00



  4. Consider for recommendation to the Board authorizing the Township Manager to enter into an agreement with Farm to City to continue a Farmers’ Market on Lot 7 in Bryn Mawr during 2015. (Exhibit B)



    843, 847 & 859 Old Lancaster Road
    , Bryn Mawr, Ward 10, SD# 3720.

    Expiration Date – 12/7/2014 ................................ Zoning – R 4/R 6A/HROD

  6. Applicant – Sarah Peck
    Property Owner – JLPH Associates LP
    Applicant’s Representative – Denise Yarnoff, Esquire, Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco

    Consider for recommendation to the Board a Preliminary Land Development Plan prepared by Momenee and Associates, Inc. dated August 11, 2014, last revised September 19, 2014 showing the demolition of two apartment buildings with a total of 24 residential units and two-single family detached homes with detached garages, consolidation of the three existing lots and construction of 12 townhouses and eight, two-family semi-detached dwellings. The proposed development will be accessed by a 20 foot wide common drive that extends from S Merion Avenue and a 16 foot wide one-way common driveway from Old Lancaster Road. 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. On Monday, November 3, 2014 the Planning Commission recommended approval subject to the following conditions:

    Architectural Elevations & Site Design:

    1. The townhouses and quads shall be constructed substantially as shown, including materials, on the architectural elevations, prepared by G. Wissman Designs and submitted to the Township on October 30, 2014 with the exception of changes required in these conditions of approval.
    2. If the proposed zoning amendment which permits front porches to encroach into the front yard setback is adopted, then any new porches added to the Final Plan shall comply with the adopted ordinance. If the ordinance is adopted then the applicant shall extend the porches on the quads so that they connect over the front door of each unit and so that they are at least 7-10 feet in depth.
    3. The townhouse elevations shall be consistent with those presented to staff.
    4. The applicant shall recess the garage doors of all units and paint or stain them a mahogany color.
    5. The proposed pavers shall be extended to cover the entire center courtyard in front of the proposed pergola and seating area and along the edge of each guest parking space.
    6. The following mitigation measures shall be implemented by the applicant, as proposed in the Historic Resource Impact Study prepared by Wise Preservation Planning LLC dated March 12, 2014:
      • 1(a) Building documentation;
      • 1(c) Salvage of character defining features;
      • 1(d) Historic name use, in particular for the required alleyways to access the site; and
      • 1(f) Tour of the historic buildings for Historic Architectural Review Board, Historical Commission, Lower Merion Historical Society and Lower Merion Conservancy staff members prior to demolition.
    7. The applicant shall consider the possible erection of an interpretive historical sign.
    8. The applicant shall agree to not demolish the historic resources prior to securing all Township approvals required for the project even if the demolition permit is in hand prior.
    9. The mean grade of the structures 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.

    Landscape Plan:

    1. The existing trees in the buffer shall be spaced closer together and additional evergreen trees shall be added to the buffer at the direction of staff.
    2. The proposed White Pine trees shall be replaced with Nellie Stevens Holly trees or a similar evergreen tree that retains its lower branches. 
    3. The proposed Willow Leaf Oak trees shall be replaced with Swamp White Oak trees. 
    4. The proposed aluminum estate fence along the rear property line shall be replaced with a solid six foot wooden board on board fence except behind units 1-3. The estate fence may remain along the eastern property line.
    5. The aluminum estate fence along the street frontages shall be installed in accordance with details presented to staff and shall be 30-36 inches in height. The placement and height of the fence shall comply with §155-130 of the Zoning Code.
    6. Of the three existing street trees to remain on Old Lancaster Road, the middle tree shall be replaced with a new tree of the same species. 
    7. One, 3-3 ½ inch caliper deciduous tree shall be installed in close proximity to the 38” maple to be removed along Old Lancaster Road. The tree shall be selected to mitigate the impact of the adjacent medical office building and skywalk across Old Lancaster Road. 
    8. The applicant shall mitigate the view of the remaining guest parking spaces from Old Lancaster Road by providing a hedge in front of the parking spaces. 
    9. Wooded lot calculations shall be subject to the approval of the Township Arborist. The total number of trees removed for the proposed construction shall be indicated. The number of replacement trees shall be evaluated based on existing lot calculations. 
    10. A revised landscape plan complying with Natural Features Code Sections 101-9, 101-5B, Zoning Code Section 155-167.7 and conditions herein shall be prepared and sealed by a Registered Landscape Architect and submitted with the Final Plan. The revised plan shall be subject to the approval of Township staff. 
    11. All woody vegetation to be retained within twenty-five (25’) feet of a building site or disturbed area shall be protected from equipment damage by fencing placed at the driplines. The detail shall be adjusted to indicate a maximum post spacing of 8’-0” in order to comply with Township standards. If the tree protection fence is not shown at the driplines of all trees to remain, the Township Arborist shall approve the location of the tree protection fence.
    12. Grade changes around the driplines of trees to be retained shall be minimized. Treatment of the trees prior to construction to protect the root system shall be performed. Trees to receive the treatment shall be indicated on the plans. The Township Arborist shall approve the procedure of the treatment.
    13. Should any trees not scheduled or permitted to be removed be irreparably damaged during construction and die within eighteen (18) months of the conclusion of construction activities, those trees will be required to be replaced in accordance with the provision of Section 101-9A(2). Escrow shall be posted to guarantee the survival of the impacted trees until the allotted time has expired.

    Traffic and Circulation:

    1. The traffic study shall be revised to include a validity check on the traffic volume counts. The level of service at the intersections studied in the report shall also be confirmed. One or two key intersections shall be recounted and compared to the volumes used in the study. The applicant’s traffic engineer shall contact the Traffic Engineer in the Township Engineer’s office to discuss the scope of the validity check.
    2. The actual sight distance triangle to the right shall be shown for the South Merion Avenue driveway. The sight distance shall meet the desirable sight distance as specified by Penn DOT. The Traffic Safety Unit of the Lower Merion Police Department shall approve the final drive configuration/location. 
    3. “No Parking by Order of the Fire Marshal” signs shall be provided where required by the Chief Fire Officer. 
    4. Crosswalks shall be shown on the plan with a note indicating that they shall be installed/refurbished as directed by the Township. The handicap ramps shall be adjusted/installed in order to meet ADA standards. A detail consistent with Township standards shall be submitted with the submission of a Runoff and Erosion Control permit.

    Stormwater Management and Erosion Control:

    1. The field tests to determine the infiltration rate of the soil shall be performed at and below the level of the soil infiltration to demonstrate adequate design parameters. 
    2. A minimum depth of twenty-four (24”) inches between the bottom of the proposed seepage bed and the limiting zone shall be demonstrated. Soil tests shall be submitted as required to demonstrate compliance. 
    3. Seepage beds shall be designed to empty the total design storm volume needed for rate control in twenty-four (24) hours or less. The calculations shall be verified using the requested retesting of the soil permeability. 
    4. The recharge elevations in stormwater basins 1, 2 and 3 shall be indicated with a dashed line in the section details. The observation port bottom shall be adjusted to this line in the detail. 
    5. A double-ring infiltrometer test shall be used for the re-testing instead of the Maryland Method.
    6. The size and number of perforations per linear foot of pipe shall be included in the seepage bed detail. 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.
    7. An access and maintenance easement that is of sufficient width to provide access and egress from a public right-of-way shall be provided around stormwater management facilities 1, 2 and 3. 
    8. A description of how the permanent stormwater control facilities 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 subject to the approval of the Township Solicitor prior to recording. 
    9. Newly graded slopes of over 25% shall be stabilized with sod or jute netting and seed. All areas meeting this requirement in the temporary or permanent condition shall be delineated with shading on the applicable sheets.
    10. Additional detail is required in the sequence of construction activities. Installation of the recharge systems for units A-H shall be listed. 
    11. No grading changes shall be shown within three (3’) feet of the property line in order to ensure transition to the grading on the adjoining property. This shall be clearly noted on the plan. 
    12. An NPDES Permit shall be obtained from the Montgomery County Soil Conservation District prior to issuance of any permit.
    13. 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 the adjacent properties. Diversion berms, stoned construction staging areas, and inlets/piping shall be provided as necessary and/or as directed by the Township so as to ensure acceptable conditions during the construction phase.
    14. A larger orifice shall be used in the outlet structure.
    15. All inlets in non-paved areas shall be graded in a twelve (12”) inch sump condition in order to increase the efficiency of runoff collection. Spot elevations shall be added to the plan to clarify grading. 
    16. A summary shall be provided in the stormwater calculations clearly indicating the routing logic of the stormwater basins and their connections in series. 
    17. The section detail on sheet 11 for basin 3 shall be correctly labeled. The top of the eighteen (18”) inch riser shall be 402.75’ to be consistent with the calculations. 
    18. The one (1”) inch orifice at elevation 395’ on the temporary basin control structure shall be removed since it is not included in the analysis as active. 
    19. A swale shall be graded along the north property line to direct runoff toward South Merion Avenue and away from the adjoining properties. Additional inlets shall be added as feasible to direct runoff into the stormwater facilities.
    20. A structure shall be added where the roof runoff collection pipes from units 1-6 and 7-12 connect to the conveyance lines from inlets 2.1 and 3.1 respectively.
    21. The existing inlet on South Merion Avenue receiving the connection of the stormwater outlet pipe shall be noted to be repaired/replaced as directed by the Township.

    Construction Details:

    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.
    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. Calculations shall be provided for retaining wall heights exceeding four (4’) feet. 
    4. A fill material soil stockpile location shall be provided. 
    5. Spot elevations shall be added at the new driveway access location in order to clarify that sidewalks are carried across the drives at grade.


    1. The existing storm sewers shall be shown to the north of the property to within two hundred (200’) feet of the development. All easements shall be indicated. The size, material and slope of storm sewers shall be shown. 
    2. All existing utility service locations shall be shown. 
    3. The location of all existing sanitary laterals shall be shown. 
    4. The location of the proposed electric utility services shall be provided and shall be designed to provide underground service. Any gas utility connection shall be clearly indicated. 
    5. A Planning Module or Exemption shall be obtained from the City of Philadelphia and the DEP prior to recording the Final Plan.
    6. Adequate water supply shall be documented for the development. A letter from Aqua Pennsylvania shall be submitted certifying adequate supply for the development.

    Standard Plan Items:

    1. Concrete road control monuments shall be clearly shown on the Record Plan to be installed at the right-of-way at the intersection of each property line and at all changes in direction. 
    2. The error of closure shall be provided on the Record Plan and shall not be greater than 1:5,000. 
    3. The existing lot lines to be removed shall be shown as dotted. 
    4. The amount of porous paving shall be clearly tabulated. The width of the porous walkways shall be dimensioned on the plan. The walk height above the adjacent paving shall be indicated and shall be consistent with Township standards for porous walk/drive applications.

    Standard Conditions of Approval:

    1. The area behind the townhouses shall be removed from the recreation area provided and the applicant shall pay a prorated recreation fee of $2,500 per unit as required by Subdivision and Land Development Code Section 135-50.1.
    2. Any proposed trash dumpsters shall be screened on all four sides with a solid material. 
    3. 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. 
    4. The lighting plan shall be designed to comply with the 2009 IECC or the 2007 ASHRAE Standard 90.1. 
    5. A deed of consolidation shall be recorded after the Final Plan has been recorded. 
    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. The applicant shall utilize the services of an architectural salvage or deconstruction company, to preserve or recycle building materials on the existing structures and stone retaining walls, including but not limited to 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. 
    8. New 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).
    9. Revisions to the plan shall address the Township Engineer’s October 24, 2014 review letter. 
    10. 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.
    11. The Final Plan, complying with all applicable requirements, shall be filed with the Department of Building and Planning within twelve (12) months from the date of the Preliminary Plan approval. \
    12. Per the MPC, 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. 
    13. Per the MPC, 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. 
    14. The property owner(s) shall comply with all federal, state and applicable Lower Merion Township ordinances and laws regardless of specific mention herein.

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

    1. Streets and Sidewalk Code Section 133-15F, to allow the driveway curb-cut openings to exceed the maximum width of 36’ required by the Township standards provided the northern radius at South Merion Avenue and the western radius at Old Lancaster Avenue are reduced given the one-way direction of traffic.

    The applicant requested the following waivers but staff has determined that they are not required:

    1. A partial waiver of Natural Features Code Section 101-9A to substitute flowering trees for required evergreen trees.
    2. A waiver from Stormwater Management and Erosion Control Code Section 121-4.E.2a to allow for infiltration beds to completely empty the total design storm in more than 24 hours.



  8. 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 on December 15, 2014 to vacate that portion of Haws Terrace over which the Cricket Avenue public parking lot has been constructed.
    (Exhibit C)



  10. 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 December 15, 2014 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, monument signs, and number of signs.
    (Exhibit D)



  12. 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 December 15, 2014 to amend the Code of the Township of Lower Merion, Chapter 155, Entitled Zoning, Article IV, Section 155-11.O to establish an Environmental and Historical Preservation Lot as a conditional use to provide that properties over 20 acres in size can be used for the purpose of environmental preservation in combination with one or more activities promoting education, culture, history and the arts.
    (Exhibit E)



    1. Consider for recommendation to the Board a proposal to demolish the existing house at 715 Conshohocken State Road, Class 2, Narberth, 2014-D-23.

      On Monday, October 27, 2014 the Historical Commission recommended a zero day delay with demolition to not occur until all Township processes and approvals including permits have been obtained by the applicant. The Historical Commission also recommended the adoption of the mitigation measures in Section 8.B1 of the Wise Preservation Planning LLC Historic Resource Impact Study dated October 15, 2014 including item a, Documentation of the building to include the interior and exterior with additional photos to be requested from the original family in addition to at a minimum a measured footprint of the building with first floor interior detail where possible given the condition of the building, item b. Salvage, and the option of item c. Interpretive signage.


    2. Consider for recommendation to the Board a proposal at 1950 Spring Mill Road, Riverbend Environmental Education Center, Class 2, Gladwyne, 2014-R-22 to construct a greenhouse onto the existing barn.

      On Monday, October 27, 2014 the Historical Commission recommended conceptual approval as shown on the site plan with the proposed greenhouse to have a minimum six inch offset from the existing barn with the applicant to return with additional materials for review by the Historical Commission.


    3. Consider for recommendation to the Board a request from the owner of 608 Loves Lane, Class 1,English Village, Wynnewood, 2014-R-16, for the following:

      1. To allow the doors on the two side elevations to remain in place of the original doors which were shown to be preserved;
      2. To maintain the windows on the front elevation over the garage which do not comply with the original approval;
      3. To allow the front facing dormer above the entrance door to remain as constructed which does not comply with the original approval; and
      4. To use a wood trimmed glass front door without exterior muntins rather than a vertical board wood door with a smaller glass area as was shown on the approved plans;

      On Monday, October 27, 2014 the Historical Commission recommended approval of the following:

      1. The existing installed single light doors on the side elevations with the addition of lead caming as indicated in the applicant’s submittal may remain.
      2. The front dormer as presented in Option 2a as resolved at the meeting between the applicant and the Commission to be carried out with half timbering.
      3. The five replacement windows over the garage as installed with lead caming may remain.
      4. The approval of the original front door stands.



    • Clifton Payne, December 2014, Environmental Advisory Council



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