The Township of Lower Merion (the "Township"), first settled in 1682 and well known as an attractive and affluent residential community, is located along Philadelphia's famed Main Line in "Delaware Valley, U.S.A." Fine homes and estates, excellent highways, exclusive shops and department stores, luxurious apartment houses, stately church edifices, some buildings dating back to the 17th century, and superior public, private and parochial schools and colleges characterize the Township.
Covering an area of 23.64 square miles, the Township is bounded by the City of Philadelphia, the Boroughs of Conshohocken and West Conshohocken, and the Townships of Upper Merion and Whitemarsh in Montgomery County and by the Townships of Haverford and Radnor in Delaware County. The Borough of Narberth, although a separate political entity of one-half square mile, is completely surrounded by the Township.
Forming the Township's eastern boundary is City Avenue (U.S. 1) separating Lower Merion from the City of Philadelphia. Along City Ave., starting with the Schuylkill Expressway and continuing on to Lord & Taylor at Belmont Avenue in Bala-Cynwyd, is what is known as the "Golden Mile" which also includes the radio and television studios of WCAU, the Exxon Building, the Fox Building and the Germantown Savings Bank Building. Just in back of these buildings are the One-Ninety-One Condominiums and the Bala-Cynwyd Plazas.
Running along the Township's northern border is the Schuylkill River paralleled by the Schuylkill Expressway (Interstate Route 76), a limited access express highway expediting travel to and from Philadelphia and Philadelphia International Airport and connecting with the Valley Forge interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Upper Merion Township.
Other highways serving the Township are U.S. Route 30 and State Routes 23 and 320. The Blue Route Expressway (Interstate 476), connects the Delaware Expressway (Interstate Route 95) near the City of Chester on the south with the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Northeast Extension on the north, traveling through the western part of the Township. In addition, the Blue Route Expressway provides an interchange with the Schuylkill Expressway and Matsons Ford Road at the Township's western border.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's famous Paoli Local, serving the Main Line and providing frequent commuting service to and from downtown Philadelphia, travels through the Township, paralleling U.S. Route 30, with station stops within the Township at Merion, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Rosemont. The Manayunk Branch (Schuylkill Div.) of the railroad stops at Bala and Cynwyd. Other unincorporated communities within the Township are Belmont Hills, General Wayne, Gladwyne, Penn Valley, Penn Wynne and Villanova.
Based on 2000 Census data, Lower Merion Township remains Montgomery County’s most affluent and populated municipality with the highest incomes, largest labor force, highest ratio of white collar and professional workers, most households, most single-family detached dwellings, and most married residents.
The Township Zoning Ordinance provides for ten classifications of residential districts, six classifications of commercial districts, and one manufacturing district. It regulates such things as the use and size of both buildings and lots, percentage of lot coverage and size of yards and buffer areas. Among other things it also provides for off-street parking for all buildings and restricts development of steep slopes and flood plains.
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