Planning Division

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Mission

The Township's 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. Promote and protect the public health, safety and welfare throughout the coordinated and practical development of the Township as outlined in the Zoning Code. partner with Township residents and the development and commercial business community to encourage development that protects the aestetic character of the community and balances the changing needs in a comprehensive manner that culminates in the safe and timely completion of construction and development projects.

Responsibilities:

(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.

Categories

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 

AGENDA

  1. PRESENTATION OF THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

  2. Staff from the Montgomery County Planning Commission will present an overview of the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  3. ESCROW RELEASES

  4. 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):

    514 Lancaster Avenue
    Red Leaf Manor
    Escrow Release no. 10, Final -- $10,865.00

    1001 Remington Road
    Escrow Release no. 1 -- $248,589.00

    600 Righters Ferry Road
    Escrow Release no. 9 -- $53,361.00

    708 Schiller Avenue
    Escrow Release no. 1 -- $59,990.00

    Beaumont at Bryn Mawr
    Escrow Release no. 3 -- $12,037.00

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  5. FEE WAIVER

  6. Consider for recommendation to the Board a request from the property owner at 236 River Road, Gladwyne to waive a portion of the Zoning Hearing Board application fee.
    (Exhibit B)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  7. TENTATIVE SKETCH OPEN SPACE SUBDIVISION PLAN
    1401 Morris Avenue,
    Villanova, SD# 3752, Ward 6.
    Expiration Date – 10/22/2015 ................................... Zoning – R A/OSPD/HROD

  8. Applicant – George Broseman, Esquire, Kaplin Stewart
    Property Owner – David Hoffman
    Applicant’s Representative – George Broseman, Esquire, Kaplin Stewart

    Consider for recommendation to the Board a Tentative Sketch Open Space Subdivision Plan prepared by Momenee and Associates, Inc. dated April 20, 2015, last revised June 3, 2015 showing the subdivision of a 6.6 acre lot into two lots. The existing single family dwelling will remain on Lot 1 and a new home is proposed on Lot 2. A 2.9 acre preservation area is also proposed. The following conditions shall be complied with on the Preliminary Plan. On Monday, July 6, 2015 the Planning Commission recommended approval subject to conditions.

    Township Engineer’s Review:

    1. The Township Engineer’s review letter dated June 26, 2015 shall be incorporated by reference into these conditions of approval to the extent that the same is not inconsistent with the conditions of approval. In addition the following comments in the Township Engineer’s review letter shall be addressed as follows:
      1. Item B3 – Current updated wetland reports shall be required for areas impacted by construction as determined by the Township Engineer.
      2. Item B14 – The improvement to the radii shall only be required to be modified if/when additional homes are constructed.
      3. Item B16 – Existing profiles for the Morris Avenue extension shall only be required if/when additional homes are constructed.

    Access:

    1. The width of the roadway paving along the property frontage shall be increased as directed by the Township Engineer if/when additional single-family homes are constructed.
    2. The Land Subdivision Agreement shall be amended to allow for the improvement of the roadway to be deferred to a later date. The installation of a sidewalk shall be included in the amended Land Subdivision Agreement.
    3. The actual sight distance triangles shall be shown for each driveway. This shall be fully evaluated with the Preliminary Plan.
    4. A Lighting Plan shall be submitted for Morris Avenue if/when additional single family homes are submitted to the Township for Second Stage Plan review.
    5. A Penn DOT Highway Occupancy Permit shall be obtained for any work performed within the right-of-way of Spring Mill Road.
    6. If/when additional single family homes are constructed, a certification from a structural engineer shall be submitted documenting the integrity of the two (2) existing culverts/bridges that the extension of Morris Road crosses. The engineer shall certify that the structures are adequate for fire/emergency and construction vehicles. Any required improvements shall be made a Condition of Approval. The certification shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan.

    Landscape Plan/Wetlands:

    1. A landscape plan complying with the Natural Features Code Sections 101-9 and 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 Preliminary Plan.
    2. All existing trees on the property to remain shall be devined in a manner that minimizes damage to the trees. The vines shall be cut at ground level and approximately 6-10’ above ground. After cutting, the vine stump shall be painted with an environmentally friendly glyphosate herbicide such as “Round-up” or “Rodeo”. Cut vines may remain in the tree canopy to avoid damage to the health of the tree.
    3. Wooded lot calculations shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. The total number of trees removed for the proposed construction shall be indicated for each lot.

    Preservation Area:

    1. A Maintenance and Operations Plan for the proposed preservation area on Lot 2 shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan. The document shall prohibit play sets, sheds and/or gazebos in the preservation area regardless of whether they have a foundation or do not meet the definition of structure per the Township Code.

    Utilities:

    1. The location of the common force main serving Lot 2 shall be fully shown. 
    2. The location of the proposed utility mains and services shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan.
    3. If/when additional single family homes are constructed, a fire hydrant shall be shown if required by the Fire Marshal. 
    4. The applicant shall evaluate whether the terminal sanitary sewer manhole can extend into the paved area of the extension of Morris Road during the Preliminary Plan process. 
    5. The location and limits of the existing on-lot sanitary system shall be shown and shall be noted to be properly abandoned.
    6. The details for the common and lateral force main, valves, flushing stations, thrust blocks and pump/tank/alarms shall be submitted and are subject to a separate approval. The design shall accommodate the future extensions/connections. This shall be fully evaluated with the Preliminary Plan.

    Construction Details:

    1. Details and calculations for any new retaining walls shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan. If existing retaining walls to remain are modified or if improvements are proposed in proximity to existing retaining walls they shall be certified by a civil engineer prior to recording the Final Plan. Any required improvement shall be made a part of the conditions of Preliminary Plan approval.
    2. Erosion control measures shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan. The proposed construction access location(s) shall be shown. Details shall be submitted that comply with Township standards.

    Standard Plan Items:

    1. The mean grade of each new structure shall be calculated and shown on the Preliminary Plan. The architectural plans shall be coordinated with and shall comply with the grading proposed with this application.
    2. The plans shall be revised to remove and replace all references to 1022 N Spring Mill Road with 1300 Mt Pleasant Road.

    Standard Conditions of Approval:

    1. A Planning Module Exemption shall be approved by the City of Philadelphia and the DEP prior to recording the Final Plan.
    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. The Preliminary Plan shall be filed with the Department of Building and Planning within twelve (12) months from the date of the Tentative Sketch Plan approval.
    4. Approval of this Tentative Sketch Plan does not ensure that the developer or the owner can ultimately develop the property as shown on the plan. The proposed development’s compliance with various Township ordinances, including but not limited to the Natural Features Conservation Code shall not be determined until the applicant submits a Preliminary Plan for Township approval.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 partial waiver:

    1. Subdivision & Land Development Code Section 135-28, to defer the installation of a sidewalk along Morris Avenue.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  9. TENTATIVE SKETCH PLAN
    225 E Montgomery Avenue,
    Ardmore, Ward 5, SD# 3754.
    Expiration Date – 11/30/2015 .............................................. Zoning – R 7/R 3

  10. Applicant – John Rayer, Rayer Builders
    Property Owner – Haim & Sari Baron
    Applicant’s Representative – James G. Buckler, Esquire, Tollen & Buckler

    Consider for recommendation to the Board a Tentative Sketch Plan prepared by Yohn Engineering, LLC, dated July 6, 2015, last revised September 18, 2015 showing the construction of ten townhouses with a common driveway to E. Montgomery Avenue. The following conditions shall be complied with on the Preliminary Plan unless specifically exempted. On Monday, October 5, 2015 the Planning Commission recommended approval subject to the following conditions:

    Township Engineer’s Review:

    1. The Township Engineer’s review letter dated September 29, 2015 shall be incorporated by reference into these conditions of approval to the extent the same is not inconsistent with the conditions of approval set forth below.

    Layout & Architectural Elevations:

    1. The applicant shall consider architectural modifications, such as step backs, bay windows, balconies, dormers and other forms of articulation, to reduce the bulk and scale of the townhouses closest to E. Montgomery Avenue and the rear property line.
    2. The design of the new units shall be compatible with the existing neighborhood and shall contain elements of the architecture found in the neighborhood. Compliance with this condition shall be determined prior to approval of the Final Plan. If the applicant and staff cannot reach agreement on the final elevations, then the applicant shall return to the Board of Commissioners.
    3. The applicant shall provide details regarding the garage doors to be used on all units. The applicant shall consider recessing the garage doors a minimum of one (1) to three feet (3) from the pedestrian entrance.
    4. Architectural elevations of all sides of all units, including a list of materials, shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan.
    5. The mean grade of the structures shall be calculated and shown on the Preliminary Plan. The architectural plans shall be coordinated with and shall comply with the grading proposed with this application.

    Streetscape & Landscape Plan:

    1. The applicant shall incorporate a low wall and/or a hedge with pillars along the Montgomery Avenue street frontage. Details shall be provided with the Preliminary Plan submission. 
    2. The applicant shall incorporate foundation plantings and green space within the proposed courtyard.
    3. The applicant shall identify how the recreation area requirement will be met at the Preliminary Plan stage.
    4. The number of street trees provided shall compensate for the street trees removed as they have not been included in the present wooded lot calculations. The removal of any tree in the right-of-way shall be subject to the approval of the Shade Tree Commission. The street trees to be removed shall be shown on the proposed development plan in addition to the existing conditions plan.
    5. Wooded lot calculations shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan and shall be subject to the approval of the Township Arborist. The total number of trees removed for the proposed construction shall be indicated. 
    6. A 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 Preliminary Plan.

    Traffic and Circulation:

    1. The width of the drive access at Montgomery Avenue shall be dimensioned. A minimum width of twenty-four (24’) feet shall be provided as directed by the Township Engineer. 
    2. A stop bar and sign shall be indicated on the plan at the exit drive. In order to improve the orderly movement of traffic, double yellow pavement markings for the length of a car shall be shown at the drive access from Montgomery Avenue.
    3. A full reveal and depressed curb detail shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. The length of depressed curb for the new driveway and any curb to be raised to full reveal shall be dimensioned on the plan.
    4. Sidewalk and curb shall be noted on the plan to be repaired/replaced at the direction of the Township.
    5. Details of the concrete apron and sidewalk shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. Details shall conform to Township standards. 
    6. Adequate maneuverability for cars out of the garages and for delivery/service vehicles shall be documented. The radii at the driveway access/egress shall be labeled on the plans and shall be adequate as determined by the Township Engineer. The width of the garage/drive access areas to the individual units shall be dimensioned on the plan. 
    7. The guest parking spaces at the front of the site shall be shifted as directed by the Township Engineer in order to provide adequate maneuverability. A minimum aisle width of twenty-two (22’) feet shall be provided.

    Stormwater Management and Erosion Control:

    1. Erosion control measures and the proposed construction access location shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. Details that conform to Township standards shall be shown. Certification attesting to the completeness shall be provided on the Erosion Control Plan.
    2. The location of existing storm sewers shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. The size, slope, and material of all storm sewers within two hundred (200’) feet shall be indicated.
    3. A note shall be added to the plan indicating that the Township Engineer shall be notified 48 hours prior to the installation of the seepage bed and prior to the start of earthmoving activities.

    Construction Details:

    1. A fill material and topsoil stockpile location shall be provided.
    2. A note shall be added to the plan indicating that the Township Engineer shall be notified 48 hours prior to the installation of the seepage bed and prior to the start of earthmoving activities.

    Utilities:

    1. The location, size, material, and slope of the proposed sanitary laterals shall be shown and the design shall comply with Township standards. Separate permits/approvals shall be obtained.
    2. The location of all proposed utility services shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. 
    3. The existing City No. 1 inlet and grate that is indicated to receive the connection of the outlet pipe from the stormwater facility shall be noted to be repaired/replaced as directed by the Township.

    Plan Requirements:

    1. An As-Built Plan shall be submitted following completion of the construction demonstrating compliance with impervious surface limits.
    2. Additional clarification on the proposed survey monuments shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan.

    Standard Conditions of Approval:

    1. A lighting plan shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan. The location, luminaire type, wattage, pole height and illumination patterns shall be indicated. The lighting shall be designed to reduce the off-site transmission of light, to shield the source of illumination and to prevent glare on adjacent properties. 
    2. The lighting plan shall be designed to comply with the 2009 IECC or the 2007 ASHRAE Standard 90.1.
    3. 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. 
    4. The Preliminary 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 Tentative Sketch Plan approval. 
    5. Approval of this Tentative Sketch Plan does not ensure that the developer or the owner can ultimately develop the property as shown in the plan. The proposed development’s compliance with various Township ordinances, including but not limited to the Natural Features Conservation Code shall not be determined until the applicant submits a Preliminary Plan for Township approval. 
    6. 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. 
    7. 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. 
    8. The property owner(s) shall comply with all federal, state and applicable Lower Merion Township ordinances and laws regardless of specific mention herein.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  11. CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

    1. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to lower the finished floor elevation of the addition 18 inches and modify the slope of the walkway from the street to the new entranceway so the walkway will be ADA compliant without the use of handrails at 362 Righters Mill Road, Gladwyne, Gladwyne Free Library, Gladwyne Historic District. The applicant recently received HARB approval for an elevator addition and exterior site improvements.

      On Tuesday, October 6, 2015 HARB recommended approval of the proposed revisions to the drawings, including a revised ADA path and new ornamental iron fence, subject to the following conditions:

      1. The applicant shall return with samples of the proposed wall stone, curtainwall framing covers, metal pan covers (brakemetal), and exterior glass for final approval to a HARB subcommittee.
      2. The horizontal mullion at the head of the entrance door on the east elevation shall be thickened to match the beam thickness at the eave line above.

      PUBLIC COMMENT

    2. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to construct a 489 square foot one and two-story rear addition with a stucco finish to match the existing dwelling at 567 Barrett Avenue, private residence, Haverford, Haverford Station Historic District.

      On Tuesday, October 6, 2015 HARB recommended approval as submitted.

    3. PUBLIC COMMENT

    4. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to allow the building to remain as is without replacing the chimneys that were removed at 310-312 Righters Mill Road, Gladwyne, Parsonage at Gladwyne Methodist Episcopal Church, Gladwyne Historic District. The approved renovation plans for the rectory indicated the left and right side chimneys would remain. The applicant removed the chimneys contending the bricks were deteriorated and the nonfunctioning chimneys were failing. The applicant requests a Certificate of Appropriateness to allow the building to remain as is, without replacing the chimneys.

      On Tuesday, October 6, 2015 HARB recommended approval of the removal of the two deteriorated brick chimneys.

    5. PUBLIC COMMENT

  12. HISTORICAL COMMISSION

    1. Consider for recommendation to the Board a request to demolish the building at 322 Morris Avenue aka 719 New Gulph Road, Class 2, Perry House, Bryn Mawr, Bryn Mawr College, 2015-D-21.
      (Exhibit C)

      On Monday, September 28, 2015 the Historical Commission recommended imposing a 90 day delay on the demolition for the College to explore additional options to preserve the building.

    2. PUBLIC COMMENT

    3. Consider for recommendation to the Board a request to approve the following changes made to the existing church and parsonage located at 120 E. Athens Avenue, Ardmore, First Baptist Church, 2015-LD-20 that do not comply with the approved plans:

      1. The garage door on the parsonage.
      2. The columns and header on the front porch of the parsonage.
      3. The insertion of a steel beam over the garage door opening at the church.
      4. The installation of a cricket on the roof of the church.
      5. The installation of gas meters on the western elevation of the church requiring the alteration of the basement windows.

      The Historical Commission recommendation will be provided at the meeting.

      PUBLIC COMMENT

  13. HISTORIC PRESERVATION CONSULTANT

  14. Consider for recommendation to the Board authorizing the Township Manager to enter into a contract with Preservation Design Partnership to provide historic preservation services to the Township for work on the Historic Resource Inventory.
    (Exhibit D)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  15. AMENDMENTS TO THE BALA VILLAGE DISTRICT – TIME PERMITTING

  16. Consider for recommendation to the Board authorizing the Township Secretary to advertise a public hearing and a notice of intention to adopt an ordinance amendment on November 18, 2015 to reduce the building height along sections of City Avenue in Merion and Bala Cynwyd from 65 feet to 38 feet.
    (Exhibit E)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  17. NOISE ORDINANCE AMENDMENT – TIME PERMITTING

  18. Discuss an ordinance to amend the Code of the Township of Lower Merion, Chapter 105 thereof, entitled Noise and Exterior Lighting, by deleting existing noise regulations in Articles I and II in their entirety and creating a new set of noise standards.
    (Exhibit F)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  19. HISTORIC OBJECTS ORDINANCE AMENDMENT

  20. Discuss an ordinance to amend the Code of the Township of Lower Merion, Chapter 155 thereof, entitled Zoning, to amend the definition of the term “demolition” and add definitions for the terms “building”, “structure”, “object” and “site”.
    (Exhibit G)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

       

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