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 

PRELIMINARY AGENDA

  1. ESCROW RELEASES

    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):

    234 Montgomery Avenue
    Escrow Release no. 1 -- $29,736.00

    1632 Old Gulph Road
    Escrow Release no. 4 -- $49,424.00

    600 Righters Ferry Road
    Escrow Release no. 11 -- $227,100.00

    115 W Montgomery Avenue
    Escrow Release no. 4 -- $9,741.00

    6 Lancaster Avenue
    Escrow Release no. 5 -- $63,162.00

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  2. FLOODPLAIN ORDINANCE

    Consider for recommendation to the Board authorizing the Township Secretary to advertise a notice of intent to hold a public hearing on January 27, 2016 to adopt an ordinance to incorporate the Flood Insurance Rate Maps updated by FEMA with an effective date of March 2, 2016. (Exhibit B)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  3. COOPERATION AGREEMENT - RIVERBEND GRANT

    Consider for recommendation to the Board approval of a Cooperation Agreement between Lower Merion Township and the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Montgomery and a Reimbursement Agreement between Lower Merion Township and the Riverbed Environmental Education Center for the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project grant of $300,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of the Budget to Riverbend and authorizing the Township Manager to enter into the Agreements. (Exhibit C)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  4. COOPERATION AGREEMENT - ARDMORE INITIATIVE

    Consider for recommendation to the Board approval of a cooperation agreement between Lower Merion Township and Ardmore Initiative required for a grant from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. (Exhibit D)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  5. 12 W. LANCASTER AVENUE HAWS TERRACE OBSTRUCTION

    Consider for recommendation to the Board a request from the property owner at 12 W. Lancaster Ave, Ardmore to allow a recently installed landing and set of steps to remain within the Haws Terrace right of way. (Exhibit E)

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  6. TENTATIVE SKETCH OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION PLAN

    6 Old Gulph Road, Gladwyne, Ward 5, SD# 3757.

    Expiration Date – 12/31/2015.........................................................Zoning – RA/ OSPD

    Applicant – Vaughen Smith, Deluca Smith LLC
    Property Owner – Craig Spencer & Barbara Nipon
    Applicant’s Representative – Daniel Coval, Esquire

    Consider for recommendation to the Board a Tentative Sketch Open Space Preservation Plan prepared by Commonwealth Engineers, Inc. dated February 12, 2015, last revised November 13, 2015 showing the subdivision of a 5.4 acre lot into two new lots. The following conditions shall be complied with on the Preliminary Plan, unless specifically exempted. On Thursday, December 3, 2015 the Planning Commission recommended approval subject to the following conditions:

    Township Engineer’s Review:

    1. An updated wetland delineation, performed by a qualified professional experienced in wetlands ecology, shall be prepared for areas within fifty (50’) feet of the disturbance and shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan.

    2. The Township Engineer’s review letter dated November 20, 2015 shall be incorporated by reference into these conditions of approval.

    Scenic Viewshed/Sidewalk:

    3. The applicant shall consider placing an easement along the frontage of Old Gulph Road to protect the scenic viewshed.

    4. If a sidewalk is not provided, the applicant shall keep the area in the public right of way level and clear of vegetation to enable a sidewalk to be installed at a later date.

    New Construction:

    5. Elevations of all sides of each proposed home, including a list of materials, shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan.

    6. Outdoor space, such as a deck or patio, shall be provided for each proposed home on the Preliminary Plan.

    7. 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.

    Access:

    8. The actual sight distance triangles shall be shown for the driveway. The sight distance shall meet the desirable sight distance as specified by Penn DOT. It shall be noted what improvements are necessary to be performed to achieve the required safe stopping distance. The final drive configuration/location shall be subject to the approval of the Traffic Safety Unit.

    Landscape Plan & Preservation Area:

    9. A Maintenance and Operations Plan for the preservation area shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan. The plan shall describe how its providsions shall be implemented and enforced. The plan 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 Township code.

    10. Since a perennial or intermittent stream passes through the site the Maintenance and Operations Plan shall provide appropriate riparian buffering on either side of the top bank of the channel. The buffer area shall include appropriate native vegetation. Appendix H of the Pennsylvania Handbook of Best Management Practices for Developing Areas shall be used for the plant list.

    11. The Maintenance and Operations Plan shall address the extent to wich existing and dead trees should be removed, replaced, and devined.

    12. The preservation area shall be located on a separate lot.

    13. No more than seventy-five (75%) percent of the Preservation Area shall be comprised of designated flood hazard districts, wetlands or slopes in excess of twenty-five (25%) percent. Steep slopes shall be clearly delineated on the plan.

    14. 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.

    15. 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.

    Stormwater Management:

    16. The two (2) year post development peak rate of runoff shall be controlled to the lesser of the one (1) year pre-development peak rate of runoff or sixty (60%) percent of the pre-development peak rate. The five (5) year frequency storm shall be controlled to the lesser of the two (2) year pre-development rate or sixty (60%) percent of the predevelopment peak rate. For the ten (10) and twenty-five (25) year storm, the post-development rate shall be controlled to sixty (60%) percent of the respective pre-development rate. The fifty (50) and one hundred (100) year storms shall be controlled to the peak discharges which occurred prior to development in the respective storm frequencies. The special release rate shall be considered in the analysis.

    17. At a minimum, the increased volume of stormwater generated by the proposed development for the twenty five (25) year storm shall be recharged. Calculations documenting this shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan.

    18. Proposed drainage patterns shall be fully shown on the plan and shall indicate what areas will be controlled by the basins and what areas are proposed to be uncontrolled.

    19. Areas to be set aside for during construction stormwater management shall be provided and shall be located outside sanitary sewer easements, floodplains, wetlands, Preservation Area and be in an area effective for sediment and stormwater control.

    Utilities:

    20. The applicant shall investigate placing utilities underground.

    21. The location, size, material, and slope of the proposed sanitary laterals shall be shown. The design shall comply with Township standards. Separate permits/approvals shall be obtained. Easements through the Preservation Area shall be provided where required.

    22. The location of all proposed utility services shall be provided. This shall be indicated on the Preliminary Plan.

    23. The size, slope, and material of all existing storm sewers within two hundred (200’) feet shall be shown on the Preliminary Plan.

    Construction Details:

    24. Erosion control measures shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. The proposed construction access location shall be indicated. Details that conform to Township standards shall be shown. Certification attesting to the completeness shall be provided on the Erosion Control Plan.

    25. A fill material and topsoil stockpile location shall be provided that is not in the floodplain.

    26. 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.

    Standard Conditions of Approval:

    27. 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.

    28. 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.

    29. 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.

    30. 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.

    31. 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.

    32. The property owner(s) shall comply with all federal, state, county and applicable Lower Merion Township ordinances and laws regardless of specific mention herein.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  7. TENTATIVE SKETCH OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION PLAN (POSTPONED UNTIL JANUARY)

    718 Sussex Road, Former Knox Home, Wynnewood, Ward 8, SD# 3759.

    Expiration Date – 1/31/2016.................................................Zoning – R3/ OSPD/ HROD

    Applicant –Evelyn Brand
    Property Owner – 718 Sussex, LLC
    Applicant’s Representative – George Broseman, Esquire, Kaplin Stewart

    Consider for recommendation to the Board a Tentative Sketch Open Space Preservation Plan prepared by Yohn Engineering, LLC dated October 16, 2015, last revised November 16, 2015 showing the development of the existing 5.8 acre lot with sixteen new residential dwelling units and the creation of three acres of preservation area for a total of 52.9% of the existing lot area. The plan set also includes a Yield Plan showing 16 lots prepared by Yohn Engineering dated October 16, 2015, last revised November 16, 2015. The following conditions shall be complied with on the Preliminary Plan. On Thursday, December 3, 2015 the Planning Commission recommended approval subject to the following conditions:

    Site Layout:

    1. The applicant shall investigate ways to achieve a more compact site plan which provides accessible common open space, preserves viewsheds and provides sufficient landscapes around the historic resources. The revised plan shall provide a cohesive preservation area around the historic structures to preserve their context and viewsheds. This may be achieved by either reducing the number of units, reducing the size of the units, replacing the new single family detached homes with twins homes or rotating the footprint of the new homes.

    Easement:

    2. The applicant shall relocate the Township’s existing maintenance easement.

    3. The current access and maintenance easement for the Township provides an approximately 2,500 SF of lay-down and staging area on the property. The proposed relocated easement does not provide that area. The final location and dimensions of the easement shall be subject to the approval of the Director of Public Works. Metes and bounds shall be provided for the easement with the Preliminary Plans.

    4. The walls and pillars within the township’s access easement to the regional basin shall be placed so as to provide a clear width of twenty (20’) feet.

    New Construction:

    5. Proposed elevations of all sides of the eight (8) proposed dwellings and the detached garage, including a list of materials, shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan.

    6. 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. This shall be fully evaluated with the Preliminary Plans.

    7. The applicant shall investigate shifting the new detached dwellings closer to the perimeter setback and rotating them 45 degrees to decrease their visual encroachment into the historic viewshed.

    8. The applicant shall investigate relocating the driveway to the rear of the new detached dwellings.

    Access & Parking:

    9. A future four (4) wide sidewalk shall be shown along the property’s Sussex Road frontage on the Preliminary Plan to be installed at such time as required by the Board of Commissioners. Street trees and other improvements shall be installed in a manner that will not interfere with the future installation of the sidewalk.

    10. The applicant shall investigate providing a wider landscape verge and sidewalk along Argyle Road.

    11. Adequate maneuverability for cars out of all garages and for delivery/service vehicles shall be documented. The radii at all driveway access/egress shall be demonstrated to be adequate. This shall be fully evaluated with the Preliminary Plans.

    12. “No Parking by Order of the Fire Marshal” signs shall be added as directed by the Chief Fire Officer.

    13. The size and configuration of the access drives shall be reviewed by the Fire Marshal for maneuverability and subject the Fire Marshals approval.

    14. The applicant shall explore ways to minimize the view and impact of the proposed driveway from Argyle Road, which may include utilizing a low profile curb or no curb.

    Landscape Plan:

    15. The Shade Tree Commission shall review the removal of trees along Argyle Road prior to Preliminary Plan approval.

    16. All existing trees to remain shall be devined.

    17. The applicant shall explore the providing either a stone wall, estate fencing, and/or hedges to screen the new construction while maintaining the historic context.

    18. The applicant shall remove dead and declining trees from the site, including in the preservation area. Any dead tree limbs and branches shall be removed from the property and new trees shall be planted. Deadwood or damaged limbs shall be removed from trees to remain.

    19. A landscape plan complying with 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.

    20. Wooded lot calculations shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. The total number of trees removed and impacted by the proposed construction shall be listed.

    21. The accurate location of the driplines of existing trees and tree protection fence shall be provided on the Preliminary Plan. A detail shall be included on the plan that complies with Township standards.

    Preservation Area:

    22. A Maintenance and Operations Plan shall be submitted with the Preliminary Plan.

    23. Markers shall be provided at any changes in direction and at spacing of 100’ along the edge of the open space Preservation Areas. The markers locations and details shall be provided on the Preliminary Plans.

    24. The bearings and distances for the open space Preservation Area and all easements shall be provided on the plan. This shall be provided with the Preliminary Plan.

    25. The plans shall be revised to show the existing features within the preservation area to evaluate their impact on the proposed preservation area.

    Stormwater Management:

    26. The two (2) year post development peak rate of runoff shall be controlled to the one (1) year pre-development peak rate of runoff. The five (5) year frequency storm shall be controlled to the lesser of the two (2) year pre-development rate of the percentage of the pre-development rate as listed in Appendix B for the particular sub-watershed district. For the ten (10) and twenty-five (25) year storm, the post-development rate shall be controlled to the percentage of the respective pre-development rate. The fifty (50) and one hundred (100) year storms shall be controlled to the peak discharges which occurred prior to development in the respective storm frequencies. The rate improvements for the five (5) and for the two (2) year storms have not been satisfied by the present design. This shall be demonstrated for both the during construction control and the permanent facilities and shall be fully evaluated with the Preliminary Plans. Erosion control measures shall be fully evaluated with the Preliminary Plans.

    27. The detail for the proposed stormwater management system shall be adjusted for the individual proposed systems. The bottom elevation, top elevation, and elevation of all outlet control structures shall be provided in the detail. This shall be evaluated with the Preliminary Plans.

    28. The runoff crossing to the adjacent properties during the construction phase of the project shall be managed so that the water quality/quantity does not adversely impact the adjacent properties. Diversion berms, stoned construction staging areas, and inlets/piping shall be provided in order to ensure acceptable conditions during the construction phase. This shall be fully evaluated during the Preliminary Plan.

    Utilities & Easements:

    29. The location, size, material, and slope of the proposed sanitary laterals shall be reviewed and approved by the Public Works Department.

    Construction Details:

    30. A detail of the boulder retaining wall shall be provided. Calculations shall be provided for the wall if it is more than four (4’) feet in height or supports loading from the driveway.

    Standard Plan Items:

    31. The Yield Plan shall indicate that the 13,000 SF area for Lot No. 8 is the minimum lot size with the slope penalty.

    32. An As-Built Plan will be required be submitted following completion of the construction demonstrating compliance with impervious limits.

    Standard Conditions of Approval:

    33. 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.

    34. Revisions to the plan shall address the Township Engineer’s November 20, 2015 review letter, except as modified by these conditions and except as follows: Comment B.30 may be satisfied by the Applicant providing an indemnification agreement acceptable to the Township Solicitor if Planning Module approval is not obtained prior to recording of the final plan.

    35. 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.

    36. 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.

    37. 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.

    38. 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 application requires the following waiver:

    1. Subdivision & Land Development Code Section 135-28, to not install a sidewalk along Sussex Road until such time that a complete sidewalk connection can be made between the property and Argyle Road in order to preserve the existing 31” and 33” oak trees.
    2. Subdivision & Land Development Code Section 135-27.L.1, to permit more than five units off of a common driveway.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  8. CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

    a. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to reface two flat panel non-illuminated wall signs: one facing Righters Mill Road and one facing the rear of the property at 342 Righter’s Mill Road, Merion square Cleaners, Gladwyne, Gladwyne Historic District.

    On Tuesday, December 1, 2015 HARB recommended approval as submitted, subject to a 1 inch wide perimeter edge border be applied to each sign face.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

    b. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to 1) remove four tall windows and replace with half-sized casement units and infill below with siding to match the existing and 2) remove a three-unit window assembly, widen the opening and install a four-unit double hung window assembly at 408 Berkley Road, Haverford, Haverford Station Historic District.

    On Tuesday, December 1, 2015 HARB recommended approval as submitted.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

    c. Consider for recommendation to the Board a Certificate of Appropriateness to install 5 ft. and 6 ft. tall black aluminum wrought-iron style permiter fencing and gates on this recently completed new dwelling at 20 Booth Lane, Haverford, Haverford Station Historic District.

    On Tuesday, December 1, 2015 HARB recommended approval as submitted, subject to the property owner providing confirmation of the right to place the fence along Old Lancaster Road as indicated in the application.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

  9. HISTORICAL COMMISSION

    a. Consider for recommendation to the Board a proposal at 111 Bala Avenue, Class 2, Bala Cynwyd, 2015-R-22 to construct a three story addition to the rear of the home.

    On Monday, November 23, 2015 the Historical Commission recommended conceptual approval of the application subject to the applicant reexamining the following items and returning to the Historic Commission for further review:

    • The volume and massing of the addition at the rear of the house, in order to bring it more in character with the existing historic resource;
    • The height of the third-story eave and the resulting extra wall area that is created by the uncharacteristically low-sloped roof of the rear addition;
    • The use of horizontal banding and/or a variation in wall materials between the ground and upper floors, in order to break up the large blank area of the side elevation of the proposed rear addition; and
    • The vinyl materials; windows, siding and trim, as well as, any applied aluminum trim (“panning”) or soffits, which are unsympathetic with the construction and detailing of the existing historic Resource.

    Further, the Commission required additional detail and clarity on both the plans and the elevations to allow a full and final review of the project.

    b. Consider for recommendation to the Board a proposal at 250 Old Gulph Road, Friends Central School, Lower Campus, Class 2, Wynnewood, 2015-R-24 to convert an existing carriage house into educational space which is presently being used as a residence and storage space. Includes the removal of an existing addition on the interior courtyard and the construction of a paved courtyard. Also includes the repair and repointing of existing masonry, restoration of existing wood windows and repair of existing rafter tails. Existing non-wood windows will be replaced with clad wood windows.

    On Monday, November 23, 2015 the Historical Commission recommended conceptual approval of the application subject to the applicant returning to the Historical Commission with additional information after examining the surface and restoration of the existing original windows and examination of the form and detailing of replacement windows. The Historic Commission also required additional detailed product information on the proposed glazed storefront, painted steel siding and the glazing system of the proposed greenhouse addition, as well as, the proposed wall finish at the base of the glazing system.

    c. Consider for recommendation to the Board a proposal at 111 Bala Avenue, Class 2, Bala Cynwyd, 2015-R-25 to construct a three story addition to the rear of the home.

    On Monday, November 23, 2015 the Historical Commission recommended conceptual approval of the application for retention of all historic resources on the property with alterations, additions and renovations as well as new construction associated with both the existing historic resources and new development, subject to the applicant returning for further detailed review. The Historical Commission found the retention and enhancement of viewsheds and open space appropriate existing to the historic resources and the surrounding cultural landscape, including the siting of the new construction on the property, as single family units. The Historical Commision further urges the developer to continue to explore options to increase and enhance viewshed and open space while retaining the single family model and the footprints of the additions to the historic resources as shown on the proposed plans. The Historical Commission requested that the developer continue to explore additional options for materials, massing, and articulation of the facades of the new construction in context to the architecture and construction of the surrounding neighborhood, as well as, the existing historic resources. The Historical Commission noted that while they would prefer less change to the existing cultural landscape and historic resources, they recognize the positive changes proposed with this application when compared to previous applications reviewed, and therefore, support the general concepts and designs presented.

 

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