The Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) is a public advisory body created by state and local laws, the Board of Historical Architectural Review is known, locally and nationally, as HARB. HARB operates under the authority of the State of Pennsylvania's Historic District Act, General Assembly #167 of 1961, as amended 1963. Lower Merion Township's HARB was created by Ordinance #1902 of 1980.

HARB's purpose is to help protect the distinctive and historic character of Lower Merion Township by considering the effects of proposed changes to buildings and properties within historic districts and on the Historic Properties List and by ruling on their appropriateness.

The Historic Resource Preservation Ordinance - enacted 3/15/2000, contains the references to all Code Chapters impacted by this ordinance.

Preservation Briefs

HARB Preservation Briefs is a series created and produced by the HARB for the Township.

A Short History of the Township - Brief No. 1
HARB's Role in the Community - Brief No. 2
Historic Districts: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions - Brief No. 3
Researching Historic Properties - Brief No. 4
Historic Resources and Opportunities - Brief No. 5

HARB Guidelines for Applicants

A series of brochures, published by the HARB, that contain information about architectural review standards and guidelines to help move a project quickly through the approval process. The brochures are available from the Township's Building & Planning Department (610-645-6200). PDF copies are linked below.

General Information for Applicants - Guideline No. 1
New Construction and Additions - Guideline No. 2
Alterations and Renovations - Guideline No. 3
Repair and Replacement - Guideline No. 4
Signs and Awnings - Guideline No. 5A
Wood Windows - Guideline No. 6

HARB Certificate of Appropriateness Application

Download a Certificate of Appropriateness application and after completing the application, then download the map of the historic district in which your project is located. Please note that historic district maps are required as part of the application information. The application, addenda and checklists are also available in the Building & Planning Department of the Township of Lower Merion (610-645-6200).

HARB Certificate of Appropriateness (CofA) Application (PDF 190KB)

Addenda: (PDFs)

CofA Application addendum for Signs & Awnings Only, includes checklist
Ardmore Storefront Design Guidelines  
Ardmore Commercial Historic District Map
Gladwyne Historic District Map
Mill Creek Historic District Map
Haverford Station Historic District Map
English Village Historic District Map
Harriton Historic District Map
Merion Friends Meeting/General Wayne Inn Historic District Map

Submission Checklists: (PDFs)

Additions & New Construction Checklist
Renovations & Alterations Checklist
Repairs & Replacement Checklist

Historic Preservation Awards

The HARB and the Historical Commission periodically co-sponsor awards. The 2017 Historic Preservation Awards were held on October 19 and took place at the Levering Mill Tribute House.

In 2017 the Township was proud to honor 9 historic preservation projects, 3 individuals for communication/education efforts, 8 past members of the HARB and Historical Commission, and Gerald Francis, recipient of the Robert DeSilets Award.

View the 2017 Historic Preservation Awards Presentation (PDF, 1.1 MB)

View the 2012 Historic Preservation Awards Presentation (PDF, 10.2 MB) 

Useful Links

Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties
National Park Service Preservation Briefs

Upcoming HARB Meeting Dates

Submission materials, including completed application forms and all other supplemental material required, are due 11 days prior to the HARB meeting (typically two Fridays before the Tuesday HARB meeting). Subject to later notice of change of time and location, Applications for Certificates of Appropriateness will be heard starting at 8:15 AM on the following dates:

Historical Architectural Review Board

Regular Monthly Meeting


Notice is hereby given that the Historical Architectural Review Board of Lower Merion Township will hold a meeting on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 8:15 AM in the Board Room on the Second Floor of the Township Building, 75 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA. The Board will review the following applications beginning at 8:30 AM:


Application No.         18-19

            Property:  28 West Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003
            Applicant: Main Line Acupuncture
            District:  Ardmore

Application to install new signage, including a sign with engraved lettering and five gooseneck lights on the front facade and raised lettering on the side elevation adjoining the alleyway between the property and Ardmore Theater building.


Application No.         18-20

            Property:  2 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003
            Applicant: Peter Spain
            District: Ardmore

Repairs to the Art Deco concrete façade. The applicant has provided an engineer’s report. Contractor will aim to match color, texture, and detail of the existing concrete panels. Although technically a “repair-in-kind,” HARB comment is being requested for this high-visibility repair to a landmark commercial property.


Application No.         18-21

            Property: 920 Youngs Ford Road, Gladwyne, PA 19035
            Applicant: Gladwyne Montessori School
            District:  Gladwyne

The school is merging several properties into their campus (including some not within the Historic District boundaries). An addition to a non-historic school building is also being proposed.


Application No.         18-18

            Property:  501-507 Old Lancaster Road, Haverford, PA 19003
            Applicant: Michael Main
            District:  Haverford Station

Applicant appeared before the HARB several times before for the redevelopment of a property in the Haverford Station Historic District currently used by a landscaping contractor. The proposal would renovate an existing home and contributing resource (507 Old Lancaster Road), move another home and contributing resource (503 Old Lancaster Road) to another part of the site where commercial garages would be removed, and build a new twin residence in between the two contributing historic resources. Each residence would gain a new freestanding garage structure. The applicant returns with revised architecture for all new buildings shown in new dimensioned drawings and complemented by color renderings.


Application No.         18-22

            Property:  953 Youngs Ford Road, Gladwyne, PA 19035
            Applicant: Union League of Philadelphia / The Guard House
            District: Gladwyne

Application to alter the entryway to the business, including reconstruction of the pedestrian ramp along Youngs Ford Road with new code-compliant metal hand railings matching the style of the current railing. On the Righters Mill Road side of the building, a new chimney flue will replace an existing flue at a slightly different location.


NOTE: Applications acted upon at the Historical Architectural Review Board will be discussed at the following meetings:

Building & Planning Committee
Wednesday, September 13, 2018
approx. 7:00 PM
Board Room, Township Building

Board of Commissioners
Wednesday, September 20, 2018
approx. 7:30 PM
Board Room, Township Building

If an application is TABLED, it is not forwarded to the Building and Planning Committee.

Anyone interested in reviewing the applications and plans submitted by the applicant may review this information in the Building Regulations Division of the Building and Planning Department at the Lower Merion Township Building (Monday-Friday, 8:15 AM - 4:30 PM).

Anyone requiring special accommodations to attend this meeting should contact this office at least three days prior to the meeting - (610) 645-6172.

Greg Prichard, Secretary

Board Members:
Betsy Cremer, Chair
Sharon Sorokin, Vice-Chair
Julie Alexandre
Philip Franks
Ann Shepard Houston
Philip Ivory
Scott Kalner
Ina Sargen


Next HARB meeting: Tuesday, October 2, 2018 @ 8:15 A.M.



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