Also see the newsletters.
Top Stories (date updated)
|• Topical Information|
This section will contain articles not otherwise classified.
Topics: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (recent first)
06/11/2014 SEPTA strike looms amid contract talks
11/05/2012 See Which Candidates Are On Your Ballot
11/05/2012 What's Closed on Election Day?
|• Barnes Foundation|
The Barnes Foundation expects to open the Philadelphia campus on May 19, 2012. Admission will be $18 for adults. Hours will be Wednesday–Monday 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
There will be free public access on May 26 to May 28.
The Friends of the Barnes want to keep the Barnes in Merion.
Follow the link to their website to get more background on this issue.
There will be a meeting with Montgomery Count Orphan's Court Judge Stanley R Ott on March 29 in response to a recently-filed petition.
The Barnes Foundation has launched an Alumni Association.
They hosted an Alumni weekend on Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 3-7pm and Sunday, 1-5pm.
Please email or call 215-640-0171 ext 10.
See Barnes Alumni registration form.
Barnes: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (recent first)
05/20/2012 Relocated Barnes opens on Philly's Parkway
05/17/2012 Photos: Barnes On The Parkway
02/01/2012 New Barnes sets admission hours and prices
09/15/2011 Barnes announces parkway opening date
02/27/2011 Judge rules on Barnes petition
01/06/2011 Barnes 'Friends' vow to continue fight
09/30/2010 Barnes galleries will be closing
|• City Avenue Special Services District.|
On November 15, 2012, there was a "Transportation Connectivity" workshop to discuss a study of potential improvements to transit, bicycle, and pedestrian connections to support redevelopment in the City Avenue Special Services District.
See Presentation from the workshop (PDF 2.8 mb).
See Lower Merion page on City Avenue Special Services District.
On December 14, 2011, the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners voted to adopt the City Avenue Special Services District Zoning Ordinance. This was done despite knowledge that NONE of the Civic Associations in the township supported the measure in its current form. Since the idea is to coordinate the new ordinance with an Official Map, which has not yet been prepared, the effective date of the ordinance was set to April 30, 2012. The Bala Cynwyd Neighborhood Club gave five specific changes which would enable them to support the measure, but these were NOT adopted on December 14th, because doing so would have delayed the adoption vote. However, there was some indication that the commissioners intend to amend the ordinance before the effective date.
See Media News for media coverage of this issue.
See Draft City Ave Spec Svcs District ordinance(11/2/2011 1.2MB PDF)
See Response to Mont County Plng Commission Review Letter(8/5/2011)
See Traffic Impact Fee Ordinance (Draft)(7/29/2011)
On November 10, 2011, the LM Planning Commission held a hearing with many citizens speaking. The Planning Commission then voted to recommend passage of the Zoning Ordinance, but with the condition that a "Master Plan Map" must be approved before the zoning ordinance becomes effective. The idea was that the zoning ordinance would be changed to require adherence to designated public space or green pathways as a precondition to getting incentives. Note that the LM Board of Commissioners are NOT required to follow the recommendation.
On September 14, the LM commissioners voted to adopt an ordinance creating the Transportation Services Area for the City Avenue area. This was to permit the township to enact a traffic impact fee for new development.
On June 23, 2011, there was a hearing by the Transportation Service Area Advisory Commission regarding the Transportation Capital Improvement Plan. This was held AFTER the Lower Merion Township workshop on the Lower Merion Township Capital Improvement Program, which was the prior day.
On the LM Township site there are related documents.
On June 15, 2011, the motion to publish and enact the ordinance on July 27 was tabled. Reacting to strong response from the civic associations, there will be more hearings.
On June 8, 2011, the Lower Merion Building & Planning Committee held another discussion on the proposed zoning ordinance. They announced that the ordinance was being revised based on meetings with the Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd. Some of those revisions have now been applied and made available on the township web site.
However, residents in the rest of the township have largely been excluded from the process. There has not been a public hearing on the zoning ordinance since 3/29/2011, three public hearings scheduled after that date have been cancelled. Representatives from Merion and other civic associations in the township question why they have been excluded from this recent process, and question the urgency expressed by the Board of Commissioners to enact this by July.
The Lower Merion Board of Commissioners have approved a recommended traffic level of service of "D" for intersections in the City Avenue district. This is being fast-tracked so that businesses can be assessed traffic impact fees. It has not been made clear how needed traffic improvements to achieve even that level will be funded.
At this time, the zoning ordinance adoption date has been tentatively been moved back to July. The next hearing to determine an adoption date is June 8.
For adoption on May 25 Zoning Ordinance draft 4-6-11 (PDF 2.9MB).
Also see Proposed zoning map & descriptions (PDF 2.7MB).
April 6, 2011, Bob Duncan, LM Building & Planning Department sent a new schedule for the hearings. These are now reflected in our Calendar.
March 29, 2011, in a note from Bob Duncan, LM Building & Planning Department: "We are planning to separate the Bala Village District ordinance from the Regional Center and Retail District Ordinance. We will be announcing a list of meeting dates to complete the review of the current Regional Center/Retail District ordinance and a different set of meeting dates to discuss the Bala Village District ordinance.
See 2/9/2011 meeting notes of City Avenue Transportation Services Area Advisory Committee.
The Board of Commissioners on August 4 accepted the Traffic Report (which recommends performing a Traffic Study) and Land Use Assumptions Report.
The Building & Planning Committee Aug 4 agenda links to the Roadway Sufficiency Recommendation and Land Use Assumptions Report.
August 4 B&P (Special) Agenda.
Hearings and Workshops
These will be adjusted based on progress in prior hearings.
ALL events shown below start with
09/20/2010 Public Hearing.
10/25/2010 Public Hearing.
11/30/2010 Public Hearing. See New Draft Ordinance (30 pg 1.2MB PDF)
The commissioners have said that this may be the single most important zoning decision they will make as commissioners. This will have profound effects on the local and township communities for years to come.
They particularly ask that residents read the materials provided, express their concerns, and suggest alternatives.
Concerned residents are encouraged to participate in the decision process.
To receive Lower Merion notifications, sign up for E-Subscription by providing your E-mail address and checking City Ave Spec Srvcs Dist in the News section of that page.
See Drafts of Proposed Ordinances to download "City Avenue Special Services District Amendment."
See City Avenue Special Services District website.
See LM Township: City Avenue Special Services District
This page now links to the Draft Ordinance 9/17/2010 (6.0MB Word)
This page has links to multiple PDF files, dating back to 6/10/2008 about the proposed zoning. The "Land Use Assumption Report" is in a PDF file of 14.7MB.
From City Avenue Corridor Zoning Recommendations (PDF 6.5MB):
Some items within the plan for the new Regional Center:
Maximum building height 120' (10-12 stories)
12/15/2011 With Much Dissent, L.M. Commissioners Approve City Avenue Rezoning
10/26/2011 City Avenue rezoning debate continues
06/25/2011 Ending the City Avenue kabuki
06/18/2011 City Ave.: Lower Merion civics push back
06/07/2011 City Ave. rezoning talks continue
05/30/2011 City Ave rezoning put on hold
04/14/2011 The latest in the City Ave. rezoning saga
01/05/2011 Open Talks Continue on City Avenue Rezoning
12/01/2010 Residents wary of height, retail loss
09/06/2010 Clarifying concerns about Bala Avenue
08/14/2010 Board OKs RFPs for City Ave. traffic study.
07/28/2010 Two sketch plans OK'd for BC Shopping Center
06/30/2010 Traffic impacts on City Avenue to be studied
06/09/2010 Vision for City Avenue topic of LM Workshops
06/03/2010 City Avenue zoning to get comprehensive look
06/02/2010 on Brian Gordon's letter
05/26/2010 Brian Gordon Letter on City Ave Development
04/14/2010 Public Hearing on City Avenue Corridor
This section will feature stories about local businesses.
The people behind the new kosher restaurant in Merion (see news below) addressed Merion Residents at our March 27 meeting.
Symphony Square (assisted living).
The first residents have arrived.
Construction has begun on the property. Opening planned for Fall 2011.
The LM Board of Commissioners and its committees rule on the Development of an Assisted Living Facility at 27-33 Old Lancaster Road, Bala Cynwyd. The preliminary plan involves the demolition of two existing residential buildings and construction of a three-story assisted living facility with a 15,948 square foot print, 50 units and an underground parking garage with 50 spaces and six surface parking spaces to be held in reserve.
Commerce: Main Line Times, Patch.com: (recent first)
07/28/2013 Lankenau Heart Pavilion unveiled
05/06/2013 Plate is cleared from Suburban Square
04/29/2013 Yosl's Frozen Yogurt Opens in Bala Cynwyd
04/25/2013 Cook and Solomonov out of Citron & Rose
07/25/2012 SEPTA Maps Local Farmers Markets
07/15/2012 New Wynnewood GIANT opens Sunday
06/08/2012 Aqua PA Bills to Go Up $2 Per Month
04/13/2012 Recycle Electronics for Free at Staples
03/29/2012 Upscale Kosher Eatery to Hit the Main Line
03/20/2012 Suburban Square restaurant dispute heats up
09/16/2009 More issues with assisted-living plans
07/29/2009 Home for aged OK’d by LM board
06/17/2009 LM zoners wrap assisted-living plan hearings
|• Green & Environmental|
This section will feature green & environmental issues.
See Lower Merion Environmental Advisory Council.
Green: Jewish Exponent, Main Line Times: (recent first)
04/20/2013 Do you know where your food comes from?
04/15/2013 Do you know where your food comes from?
08/26/2012 MIKE WEILBACHER: A small defense of weeds
08/16/2012 MontCo: West Nile Risk Remains Strong
04/24/2012 How To Recycle Drugs on the Main Line
04/20/2012 How To Recycle Batteries on the Main Line
04/19/2012 How To Recycle House Waste on the Main Line
04/18/2012 How to Recycle a Cell Phone on the Main Line
04/17/2012 How to Recycle a Television on the Main Line
04/16/2012 How to Recycle a Computer on the Main Line
04/06/2012 Go Take a Walk, Says Main Line Doc
03/21/2012 Montco Issues West Nile Virus Warning
10/14/2011 Cynwyd Heritage Trail Fall Festival
09/17/2011 Storm damage impacts Cynwyd trail
07/24/2011 It's bamboo gone wild
06/15/2011 Act on a Marcellus Shale tax
05/11/2011 Too many green groups in Lower Merion?
|• Kohelet Yeshiva High School|
The former Stern Hebrew High School has been renamed the Kohelet Yeshiva High School at the Martha & Harry Stern Campus.
Classes at the new location started in September, 2010.
The LM Zoning Hearing Board granted a special exception for the construction of a sanctuary addition and additional parking spaces. at 223 N Highland Avenue, Merion Station (former Akiba site).
See 6/16/2010 Building & Planning Committee, item 4.
Kohelet: Jewish Exponent, Main Line Times: (recent first)
|• Lower Merion Board of Commissioners & Staff|
On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, the Commissioners will hold a public hearing on revisions to the township code on Sound and Lighting. See Draft ordinance (PDF 30KB).
See 11/06/2011 article below for profiles of the 2011 candidates.
Two 11/04/2011 articles discuss Montgomery County candidates. Note that some Merion residents are in Ward 9, and there is an article on the candidates there.
Lower Merion Township is governed by a fourteen member Board of Commissioners. The board appoints the Township Manager who oversees the day-to-day operation of the township.
In January 2011, the President and Vice-President of the board both resigned from the Board of Commissioners.
LM Commissioners: Main Line Times and Patch.com (recent first)
05/17/2014 New Lower Merion manager sworn in
01/16/2013 New Lower Merion Township Secretary sworn in
09/29/2012 Updated: 'Budget Saturday' in Lower Merion
04/23/2012 No contract yet for LM Manager Cleland
01/03/2012 Rogan re-elected as LM board president
11/09/2011 Election Results: Lower Merion, Narberth, County, State Elections .
11/04/2011 Three Questions: Shapiro & Richards
05/11/2011 Lower Merion primaries for commissioner
03/08/2011 Open-meetings debate in LM erupts again
02/22/2011 Sitting down with LM's new board president
01/22/2011 Taylor stepping down from LM Board
01/13/2011 Reed reflects on time as commissioner
01/13/2011 Bruce Reed's retirement speech
|• Lower Merion Budget.|
On January 25, 2012, there will be a LM Finance Workshop to discuss how to deal with the unanticipated business tax income.
Between the first and second public hearings on the 2012 budget, the township received $6.9 million dollars of unanticipated business tax income. This will require the budget to be adjusted.
The LM Board of Commissioners held Public Hearings on the 2011 Budget.
See 2011 Proposed Budget
The budget is scheduled to be finalized by December 15, 2010.
LM Budget: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (recent first)
04/05/2012 18% Higher Sewer Rate Proposed
03/17/2012 Lower Merion official's pay raising eyebrows
11/17/2011 Lower Merion Budget Met With Criticism
11/10/2011 Lower Merion's 2012 Tax Rate, Budget Will Be Decided Next Month
07/18/2011 Lower Merion finance discussion
01/01/2011 Highlights of the 2011 budget
12/21/2010 LM adopts 2011 budget with 10.8% tax hike
12/12/2010 Commissioners chip at 12.7% budget hike
12/12/2010 Employee pay, benefits eyed for savings
12/10/2010 Memo Gives Commissioners Tax Cut Options.
12/07/2010 New Budget Q&A On Township Website Says Tax Increase Reduced, At Least, to 10.9%.
12/04/2010 Only five of 21 budget motions OK'd
12/02/2010 Comments Heated at Second Public Budget Hearing.
12/01/2010 Second Budget Hearing.
11/24/2010 Township's Budget Q&A Posted Online.
11/10/2010 Can an EIT fly in LM?
11/06/2010 LM proposes 12.7% tax hike
|• Lower Merion Comprehensive Plan.|
Please see LM Comprehensive Plan for more information.
Draft materials distributed prior to the Land Use Element Committee meeting of 6/21/2012:
See Community Development Objectives PDF (229KB).
See Institutional Land Use - Goals & Objectives PDF (264KB).
See Institutional Land Use - Preliminary recommendations PDF (113KB).
The Federation of Civic Associations has issued an alert about the proposed draft for institutional land use:
The Land Use Committee for the Township's new comprehensive plan is planning to complete work on the Institutional Land Use component soon, before moving on to the Residential Land Use and Commercial Land Use components. It appears that the committee’s recommendation will be for the adoption of an “institutional overlay” in the Township’s zoning code. The motivation for this is a perceived need for the institutions located in the Township, primarily non-profit entities such as schools, colleges, and churches located within residential zones, to be able to grow in ways that the underlying residential zoning does not permit. In other words, it is believed that institutions must be able to build with more density, relaxed parking requirements, and more height – 65 feet perhaps -- than all other users in the zone so that they can expand their facilities, increase their enrollments, provide more services etc., and they should be able to do this as a matter of right. As a tradeoff, it is suggested that wider buffers from the surrounding residential neighborhoods be required than the underlying zoning requires for other properties.
As representatives of civic associations whose primary constituencies are the residential neighborhoods, we need to take a hard look at the proposed recommendation because it raises concerns for neighborhood protection that may not be receiving appropriate attention from the committee. Institutional growth in residential zones imposes externalities on the surrounding neighborhoods that our zoning code does not address, except for the vague criteria of health, safety and welfare – traffic, overflow parking on neighborhood streets, noise emanating from HVAC equipment, from people coming to and leaving from events, sometimes in the later hours; light pollution from parking lots and from taller buildings.
Experience with institutional behavior over many years shows that some institutions are model neighbors whereas some have no care for any but their own interests. Parking on neighborhood streets and inconsiderate behavior of students/patrons cannot be controlled after approval has been given and the use has been expanded.
The call to action is for representatives of the Civic Associations to appear at the next meeting of the Land Use Committee, Thursday, June 21, at 6:00 p.m. in the Second Floor Board Room of the Township Administration Building, to hear the discussion of the committee, and to decide if more intervention is needed for the sake of neighborhood protection. On June 25, the committees will be delivering their quarterly reports to the Planning Commission. That will provide an opportunity to comment.
Please contact me if you have any questions about this. Thanks. Hugh B. Gordon 111 Llanfair Road Ardmore, PA 19003 610 649-1349
The Committee Meeting Dates are now available on the township website indicated above.
The new Comprehensive Plan committees have been formed and the kick-off meeting was be on March 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm. The Merion community is well represented.
On February 7, the Planning Commission had a special meeting to assign volunteers to Committees and to discuss the Comprehensive Plan. After the committees have been approved by the Board of Directors, there will be a kick-off meeting on February 27 March 5.
The deadline to submit applications has been extended to Tuesday, January 31, 2012.
The Lower Merion Planning Commission and the Lower Merion Building & Planning Department staff is actively recruiting help with the new schedule to complete the Comprehensive plan by the end of 2012. See the Main Line Times article below, dated Dec 1. Potential volunteers need to apply by December 30.
Special Planning Commission Public Workshops were been scheduled for public review of the Issues Report as follows
Note that many meetings spent time on the Vision Statement.
This information is reformatted from the township website to indicate the topics covered in the workshops.
Report on Issues Relating to the Preparation of a Comprehensive Preservation, Infill and Redevelopment Plan for Lower Merion Township
The LM Building and Planning Department has announced the report is now available for public review.
This is referenced as the "Issues Report" on the LM website.
This project is to fulfill the requirements of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
The Lower Merion Planning Commission (appointed by the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners) will hold a series of public hearings, then prepare the Comprehensive Plan, probably in sections, and this will require many months. Print copies of the Issues Report are available for inspection at the LM Township Building, at local libraries and each local civic association has received a copy.
To receive Lower Merion notifications, sign up for E-Subscription by providing your E-mail address and checking Comprehensive Plan in the Event Calendar section of that page.
Lower Merion Township website:
08/20/2010 News: Issues Report 1 page.
08/20/2010 Reports and Archives 1 page.
LM Comprehensive: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (recent first)
05/30/2011 Lower Merion Comprehensive Plan discussion
09/29/2010 LM Comprehensive Plan makes public debut.
09/22/2010 Push For Affordable Housing First 'Issue' Reported in Comprehensive Plan Revision Process.
08/20/2010 New LM report lays out roadmap to future.
|• Lower Merion Conservancy.|
Online voting results for Lower Merion Conservancy Architectural Hall of Fame.
Online voting closed at 3:00 PM on October 7, 2010. Four additions were made, marked below with asterisks.
See Conservancy—Hall of Fame 2010 Nominees PDF 2.3MB, 2 pages.
See Merion Civic—Tribute House Architect's Notes PDF 140KB, 5 pages.
LM Conservancy: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (recent first)
02/23/2011 Video: LM Conservancy most endangered list.
10/03/2010 Online voting for the Architectural Hall of Fame.
|• Lower Merion Flood Insurance Rate Map Changes.|
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have issued new floodplain maps.
This can affect resident's need for flood insurance.
See LM Township Changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Map
LM Flood Ins: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (recent first)
|• Lower Merion Library News|
The Bala Library has reopened on May 19, 2013.
One Book One Lower Merion 2012
Lower Merion is kicking off its One Book program next month with a rip-roaring story of the old West - DOC, the story of Doc Holliday, the subject of more fiction than any other Old West gunfighter. And it's written by Mary Doria Russell, a terrific writer who has brought the story to life in a "deeply sympathetic, aggressively researched and wonderfully entertaining story." (The Washington Post) Many people know Russell from her previous books (THE SPARROW, A THREAD OF GRACE) and will be delighted to learn that she is even better here.
GORE, GUMS and GLITZ is our opening event at the newly renovated Ludington Library on November 1st at 7 p.m. We'll have Dr. Robert D. Hicks of the Mutter Museum to supply the gore, not so surprising when you realize that dental work was often done by blacksmiths at the time - not only by the real dentist, Doc Holliday. Dr. Oren Friedman, a maxillofacial surgeon at HUP, will talk about his experiences operating on children with cleft palates (like Doc had) in the Far East. And the glitz will be supplied by Andrew Douglas, the educational director of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, who will bring new insights to Hollywood westerns. By the way, parking is available at the Municipal Parking Lot on Lancaster Avenue, as well as at the library's lot, and guests can enter from either the new Lancaster Ave. doorway or Bryn Mawr Avenue.
Ruth Anolik, Professor of English at Villanova, is returning for another marvelous book review on Thursday, November 8th at 11 am in the 104 Ardmore Avenue building, directly across the parking lot from the Ardmore Library. Ruth's insights and ideas have always provoked lively discussions.
The Bryn Mawr Film Institute will be showing TOMBSTONE, with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, on Wednesday, November 14th at 7 pm. This is a favorite depiction of Doc and Wyatt, and is one of the best Hollywood westerns ever made. Showing your library card will get you a half-price admission.
Finally, our most popular event will certainly be the appearance of best-selling author Mary Doria Russell at Thomas Great Hall of Bryn Mawr College at 2 pm on November 18th. As usual, there is free parking in the lot on New Gulph Road (driving away from Montgomery Ave, make a left from Morris Avenue); there will be signs and people directing you across the campus to Thomas Great Hall. Mary will discuss her writing, answer questions and sign books. Bryn Mawr's bookstore will have all of her books available for sale.
p.s. As you'll know from reading the book, Doc Holliday's cleft palate had an enormous influence on his life. SMILE TRAIN provides free cleft palate surgery for children around the world. Mary Doria Russell believes so passionately in this cause that she is willing to forego her speaking fee in return for a donation to SMILE TRAIN. Boxes will be available for your donations, and we do hope you'll be generous.
ALL EVENTS ARE FREE (except movie) and no registration is needed. Check lmls.org for updates.
April 6, 2011, the LM BOC Library Committee, then the full Board of Commissioners (at a Special Meeting), will "Consider for recommendation to the Board that the Township proceed to solicit competitive bids for the full Bala Cynwyd Library Renovation Project, as designed by the VITETTA Group, Inc." The measure was approved.
The LM Board of Commissioners is considering the purchase of an RFID system, which will improve security and librarian productivity.
On Wednesday, March 9, 2011, the RFID purchase was discussed, but no decision has been made. The discussion about next major maintenance project at the Bala Cynwyd Library was deferred until a special meeting of the Library Committee on March 16 before the monthly Board of Commissioner's meeting.
See the 3/11/2011 news article below.
Ludington Library was closed for 12-14 months during renovations.
After ground-breaking on Jan 22nd, the main building will be closed from Jan 24, 2010 until Spring 2011. A small temporary branch (Ludington "Lite") will be available in the current Ludington parking lot.
LM Library: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (recent first)
02/20/2012 Lower Merion terminates Ludington plumber
12/19/2011 Bala Cynwyd Library could close by Dec. 31
05/05/2011 Lower Merion Library Director Gains More Time to Consider Bids for Security and Self-Checkout System
03/17/2011 Bala Cynwyd Library vote postponed to April
03/11/2011 LM library discussion stalled
02/01/2011 'Don't judge a book by its cover'
12/04/2010 Libraries prepare for merger with MCLINC
12/03/2010 New Online Foreign Language Learning Program Offered Through Lower Merion Libraries
10/05/2010 Lower Merion Library System Earns Star Ranking, Top 5% of All Libraries
09/25/2010 Video: Ludington celebrates topping out
07/16/2010 LM libraries facing lean times in 2011
03/10/2010 Debates continue with B.C. Library project
01/10/2010 Ludington Library groundbreaking Jan. 22
|• Lower Merion Police & Fire Reports.|
See News articles below for more current reports.
Police Report from November 8, 2010:
How a neighbor was able to prevent a crime in Bala Cynwyd.
This is an excellent example of reporting a suspicious activity. As is often repeated by LM police, would-be burglars knock on doors to see if anyone is at home. If someone answers the door, the culprit makes some excuse as to why he or she knocked ("does Mrs. Smith live here?" or "is this 555 East____ Road?"). In this case the excuse was particularly brazen, if not also appealing (selling security systems), but even so the resident suspected something was not right, and acted. Some residents have asked what their children should do if they hear a knock at the door. The LMT police have told us that if for some reason the parent is not there or can not answer the knock, the child should ascertain who is at the door ("Who is there?"). If the child does not know the person, the child should not open the door, but should call the police and state "someone who I do not know just knocked at the door" and let the police take it from there. The number to call is (610) 642-4200. Potential burglars use the knock to determine if anyone is home, so it is suggested that responding through a locked door can be a powerful deterrent. The police assert, with few exceptions, burglars do not want to encounter a resident and will almost always avoid doing so.On November 1, 2010 at 10:00 p.m., a jogger was approached and threatened near the Merion Botanical Park.
On October 30 at 7:19 p.m., there was a robbery at gunpoint on Bala Avenue, where the victim was punched in the face.
"The Lower Merion Township Police Department would like to remind pedestrians to avoid walking alone, stay in a well lighted area, be constantly aware of your surroundings and have with you an operable cellular telephone."
Anyone with information about any of the robberies is encouraged to contact the Lower Merion Police at 610-649-1000. Residents should also immediately report any suspicious person(s), vehicle(s) or circumstances to the Lower Merion Police by dialing 9-1-1.Since October 2009 through November 2010, there have been daytime residential burglaries. Residents are reminded to secure their homes and to report suspicious persons, vehicles or activity to Police by calling 9-1-1.
At a public meeting on June 29, 2010, police recommended the following:
1. Keep your home and car secured (lock the doors). Do not leave valuables visible within cars.
2. Do NOT keep valuables in the master bedroom, since that is the first place burglars will look.
3. Report suspicious persons to the police, using 9-1-1.
4. If you think your house has been entered, call 9-1-1 and wait for the police to check the premises.
See the LM Police Crime Prevention Unit for more tips.
Sign up for police bulletins on Nixle. Do NOT use "Merion" or 19066.
Specify "Lower Merion, Pennsylvania".
You can also sign up to receive text messages or Email from Nixle.
Consider Lower Merion Community Watch.
LM Police: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (recent first)
01/18/2014 Chief Fire Officer Chas McGarvey recognized.
10/18/2013 Lower Merion Police Reports: More burglaries.
06/10/2013 Lower Merion police June 10 - Attempted burglary frightens home alone child [Merion see last 2].
05/06/2013 Homeowner fires shots during home invasion, no injuries reported (with video) [Merion].
03/05/2013 Lower Merion police March 4 - $20,000 stained glass windows stolen [Merion].
11/13/2012 Narberth Ambulance has new executive director.
10/05/2012 Two More Suspects Arrested In Hymie's Robbery.
08/05/2012 Scammers, Solicitors at the Door: LMPD's Advice.
07/26/2012 Lower Merion OKs More Police Hiring.
05/30/2012 Video: House destroyed by fire in Merion.
05/24/2012 Neighborhood Watch Faces Challenges in Lower Merion.
05/21/2012 Bala Cynwyd CVS Robbed at Gunpoint: Cops
01/11/2012 Men With Hammers Rob Bala Cynwyd Jeweler.
01/05/2012 Lower Merion Police Committee Discusses Recent Burglaries.
05/03/2011 Lower Merion Police: Lankenau Thefts Continue.
05/02/2011 Armed Burglars Detain Couple at Merion Home.
05/02/2011 Merion family held by armed men in home invasion.
01/06/2011 LM citizens fighting back against crime wave.
12/21/2010 Police Arrest Ardmore Burglary Suspect.
12/21/2010 Police arrest suspect in Ardmore burglaries.
12/20/2010 Another Ardmore Burglary on Cricket Avenue.
12/16/2010 Reporting Suspicious Activity Key to Ending Burglary Spree.
11/29/2010 Two-Week Burglary Spree Hits 14 Homes.
11/12/2010 LM police arrest burglary suspect.
11/12/2010 Police Arrest Suspected Merion Burglar.
11/09/2010 Police Arrest Two Near St. Joe's, One Near Merion Elementary, on Public Drunkenness Charges.
11/08/2010 Police: Jogger Disarms Attacker in Attempted Merion Robbery.
11/08/2010 Burglary Arrests Hinge on Resident Involvement.
11/05/2010 Man punched, robbed in Bala Cynwyd.
11/02/2010 Merion Resident Threatened With Blunt Object in Street Robbery.
09/28/2010 Beware of Vandalism, Forced-Entry Thefts from Cars.
08/06/2010 LM Police issues alert after increase of thefts.
03/23/2010 Residents meet to discuss recent burglaries.
|• Lower Merion Schools News.|
See Planning for Growing Enrollment
The above link contains several items related to this current issue. (Sept 2013)
Superintendent Dr. Christopher McGinley met with the Merion Community at the Merion Tribute House on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm.
See 3/11/2011 article, listing School Board Candidates.
Beginning process for budgeting 2011-2012 school year.
Article of 2/10/2011, is about a proposed Pennsylvania bill to support school vouchers which might affect Lower Merion.
LM Schools: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (newest first)
11/13/2012 Lower Merion approves new teachers' contract
11/11/2012 What Do Local Private Schools Cost?
10/10/2012 Local Jewish Schools Introduce $850,000 iPad Program
10/06/2012 Negotiations Continue Between LMSD, Staff
08/03/2012 Back to School: Key Dates on LMSD Calendar
05/22/2012 3 Schools Need 2012-2013 Principals
12/21/2011 LMSD budget calls for 3.92-percent tax hike
05/03/2011 Merion teacher earns Presidential Award
02/10/2011 New bill supports voucher system
01/24/2011 School District Proposes 3.31% Tax Increase
09/16/2010 New Data Renews Concerns Over 'Achievement Gap' in Lower Merion Schools
|• Lower Merion Streets.|
This news entry will now also include information on street & bridges.
Contact to help collect information about street signs as part of a larger effort. The Historical Architecture Review Board (HARB) and Teri Simon of the Wynnewood Civic Association are also active in this effort.
The Federal Highway Administration, and PennDOT have issued requirements to install new street signs.
This has raised some controversy locally by historic-preservation advocates who want to retain the current signs.
The LM Public Works Committee will consider this on March 2.
LM Streets: Main Line Times and Patch.com (newest first)
02/22/2014 Lower Merion Pothole Hotline now in operation.
11/06/2011 Narberth bridge reopens.
10/28/2011 Narberth Bridge repairs begin Oct. 31.
09/20/2011 Narberth Reopening Bridge Walkway.
06/13/2011 A piece of Merion history is missing
01/14/2011 Lower Merion Township Opposes Federal Street Sign Mandate.
01/08/2011 Is change a sign of the times?
01/06/2011 Lower Merion Prepares For Street Sign Battle.
12/29/2010 The most important column in 13 years
|• Lower Merion Sewer & Trash Service.|
Lower Merion Township will be making a special bulk pick-up of tree and branch debris left in the wake of this winter's harsh ice and snow storms, from March 24-April 9, 2014.
See Lower Merion Special storm debris pickup schedule
Beginning in January 2010, Lower Merion will implement a new fee schedule and collection options for trash disposal.
See 2010 Solid Waste Fees Flyer for details.
Also see Solid Waste Collection Options for more information.
Submit questions to .
See Main Line Times opinion article 1/26/2011 for a recycling refresher.
LM Sewer & Trash: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (newest first)
09/07/2013 Lower Merion trash fees will rise in 2014
05/19/2013 No increase in Lower Merion sewer rental fee
04/05/2012 18% Higher Sewer Rate Proposed
01/26/2011 GREEN LIGHT: Recycling 202: A recycling quiz
07/31/2010 Trash talk continues in LM
05/12/2010 Rear-yard pickup worth cost to residents
|• Lower Merion Zoning.|
This section convers zoning petitions & Planning Commission items.
Note that the bottom of the Zoning Hearing Board agendas state the the applications may be reviewed at the township building. However, you may obtain electronic copies of the documents from .
On May 15, 2014 there will be a zoning hearing about St. Charles Borromeo plans for the Upper Campus
See Zoning Application (pdf 1MB).
See Plan map (pdf 1MB).
On January 5, 2012 there are two items of wider community concertn. See Jan 5 agenda for LM Zoning Hearing. Note the following:
Appeal No. 4256: About netting and use of Haverford School baseball playing field.
Appeal No. 4266: About SJU request for special exception to convert Windrim Hall from a residence to administrative offices. See St. Joseph University "Maguire Campus" for more background.
On October 27, 2011, the hearing regarding a special exception for Adath Israel and Golden Slipper for Seniors had further testimony. The record is extended for one week to enable Golden Slipper to submit descriptions of their programs.
To convert 600 sq ft of unused office space for administrative use of Golden Slipper Center and to operate a senior citizens center providing 2 classes per day, Monday through Thursday for up to 50 members and 1 teacher per class. See 10/27/2011 ZHB Agenda (see 3rd item)
On March 22, 2011, David Blumenfield of Cross Properties was at the Merion Civic Association March 2011 monthly meeting to discuss Palmer Seminary Plans.
The Palmer Theological Seminary plans to move to Eastern University's St. David's Campus. Now a developer wanting to buy the property wants to convert the main hall into an apartment building. In order for this to happen, the LM Board of Commissioners must change the zoning.
LM Zoning: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (newest first)
08/22/2012 Wynnewood LA Fitness Hearing Continued
01/04/2012 Soccer ball anyone?
04/07/2011 Lower Merion planning commission-two cases
|• Merion Civic Association|
Don Cannon, Lower Merion Director of Public Works, addressed the 11/27/2012 monthly meeting of the Merion Civic Association. He discussed how the Township is becoming involved in the work being done at Idris Road. The Township has stopped the work being done by Amtrak and is working with Amtrak to address the drainage issues at that location.
Residents noted that the screening trees along the tracks have been removed, and that neighbors had not been notified. Mr. Cannon showed a preliminary plan which will address the water issues, and will restore the screening foliage between Idris and the railroad. More planning will be needed, and he promised to keep residents better informed of the process.
The Merion Civic Association announces the speaker for the 2012 Annual Meeting will be F. Graham Lee, PhD, Professor of Political Science at St. Joseph's University. He will speak on Back to the Future: Is 2012 a Repeat of 1980 or 2004?. The lecture will be followed by a question & answer period.
See Annual Meeting Speaker. SJU bio.
The last issue of the Merion Civic Association newsletter had the theme "What we do for Merion". Our civic association has a long history of accomplishments (see the History page), but this issue concentrated on more recent projects. We welcome contributions from the community.
We recently lost two long-term contributors to the Merion Civic Association. Please read their obituaries below.
In October 2011, Philip Bagley, husband of former Merion Civic Association President Ann Bagley, and former webmaster of the Merion Civic Association.
In November 2011, Marty Piltch, former Merion Civic Association President, and community activist.
The Merion Civic Association Website has been updated
See the occasional Alerts on the Home Page. This section tracks MAJOR updates. The site is updated at least weekly.
Updates: (newer ones listed first)
Merion Civic Assoc: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (newest first)
11/28/2011 RIP Marty Piltch: A unique voice is silenced
10/12/2011 Obituary: Philip R. Bagley
|• Lower Merion Historic Heritage|
Merion History and efforts to create a Merion Historic District. This will also include Lower Merion Historic preservation.
Rolf Charlston –Merion history tour– Sunday, June 8, 2:00 pm
Let's take a hike -- a tour of architecture and history in Merion, led by Rolf Charlston, classical music radio host on WRTI, former dean of graduate programs at Saint Joseph's University, and a tour guide and lecturer in architecture, literature, and music. Ann Bagley, former President of the MCA, a board member of the Botanical Society of Lower Merion, and a tour guide at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will talk about the Botanical Park and the history of the MCA.
The coming of the railroad spurred the development of Merion and other communities along the Main Line. "Nothing was so holy as the Local to Paoli" (Christopher Morley). We'll walk on the north (outbound) side of the tracks, and examine English-influenced architectural styles, of course, but there's also a touch of gothic, Mediterranean, and modern.
We'll see the houses of significant personages from the past: Edward W. Bok, editor of The Ladies Home Journal and the first president of the MCA, and the Trapp Family, having escaped the Nazis and making sounds of music in Merion.
Meet at the inbound side of the Merion Train Station, Sunday, June 8, 2:00 pm.
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, dedicated to promoting and protecting historic buildings, communities, and landscapes, is the sponsor for this tour and over 50 other tours in the Philadelphia region. $10 for adults, $8 for students, free for children under 10 accompanied by an adult. $5 for Preservation Alliance members (please show your member card). Please arrive 15 minutes prior to 2 pm.
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia has a series of Homeowner Workshops targeted at owners, and aspiring owners of older and historic homes.
Some reference materials:
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation Activities PDF 2.8 MB
Merion Historic District FAQ PDF 327 KB
The January 31, 2012 meeting included presentations by Lori Salganicoff of the Lower Merion Conservancy, and by Scott Kalner, President of HARB (Historic Architecture Review Board). The proposed historic district will include structures built up to 1937. Newer buildings in the district will not carry the same preservation constraints.
There will be a community meeting of those interested in the Historic District on January 31, 2012 at the Tribute House.
See Merion Historic District Survey.
Merion History: Main Line Times and Patch.com: (newest first)
10/09/2014 William Penn Inn demolition plan tabled for now.
06/24/2013 History: Main Line's automotive past.
05/02/2013 Tour a $3.2M Home Owned by Albert Barnes.
05/09/2012 Historical board honors preservation pioneer
04/23/2012 Lower Merion Academy building turning 200
04/23/2012 Gala's proceeds fund Cynwyd Station work
|• Merion Post Office|
07/27/2011 The Merion Station Post Office is NOT on the new list of post offices to be considered for closing.
See USPS Future Network.
We have a new Officer In Charge, Sue Appler. The sorting operations continue to be done at Merion, and we still have some truck deliveries.
Notice that there are no delivery trucks parked at Merion.
While the retail operations and post boxes remain, dispatching mailmen has been moved to the Bala Cynwyd Post Office.
See Could your post office be closing?
January 2010: the Wynnewood Post Office has merged with the Upper Darby/Havertown Post Office.
May 2010: the Merion Station Post Office no longer has a postmaster and bulk mail will be handled at the Upper Darby/Havertown post office. Merion Post Office: Main Line Times, Patch & Philadelphia Inquirer: (recent first)
|• Montgomery County Governance.|
This section will discuss Montgomery County issues with a direct effect on Merion.
Montgomery County Governance: Main Line Times, Patch & Philadelphia Inquirer: (recent first)
01/03/2012 Turnpike Toll Hike Kicked in Jan. 1
|• Pennsylvania Electric Rate Increase.|
The Cap on Electric Generation Rates expire on 12/31/2010.
Your electric rates will increase. New PECO price is 9.92¢/kWh.
You can select a different firm to generate your electricity.
It will continue to be delivered by PECO.
Rates shown are either fixed for 1 year or variable by month.
Also notice whether there is an Early Cancellation Fee.
Documents here from Pennsylvania State website. New choice links.
See Expiration of Electric Generation Rate Caps 580 KB PDF.
See Shopping guide overview.
Merion choices, see PECO Energy-Regular.
Merion electric heating choices, see PECO Energy-Heat.
PA Electric Rates: Main Line Times & Philadelphia Inquirer: (recent first)
|• Pennsylvania Governance.|
This section will discuss Pennsylvania issues with a direct effect on Merion.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Issues Order on Voter/Photo ID Law
The decision was passed back to the lower court.
Per Curiam Order
The Committee of Seventy of Philadelphia has a FAQ about the new PA Voter ID Law What you need to know
PA Governance: Main Line Times & Philadelphia Inquirer: (recent first)
09/18/2012 Pa. Voter ID Sent Back to Lower Court
08/16/2012 Judge declines to overturn voter ID law
08/13/2012 Democrats pick candidate for 148th seat
07/21/2012 Turnpike Tolls to Increase in 2013
|• Philadelphia Governance|
The Philadelphia cell-phone law has been superseded by the new Pennsylvania law banning texting, effective March 8, 2012.
Philadelphia prohibits hand-held cell usage while driving. Effective November 1, 2009, the new law imposes a fine of $75.
See Main Line Times
11/16/2009 No driving while-cell phone chatting in Philly
|• St. Joseph University "Maguire Campus"|
Saint Joseph University has just submitted a request for special exception in order to run Summer Camps at the Maguire Campus. The appeals will be heard at the April 5, 2012 meeting of the Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board.
The appeal by Saint Joseph's University (Landowner) of the October 19, 2009, order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County denying Landowner's appeal of the decisions of the Lower Merion Township Zoning Hearing Board was denied by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on March 9, 2012. See Memorandum Opinion.
The continuation of the zoning hearing for Saint Joseph Maguire Campus was on February 9, 2012.
Maguire Campus Sport Schedules:
SJU Men's Baseball 2012
SJU Women's Softball 2011-2012
On January 5, 2012, Saint Joseph University is requesting a special exception for the conversion of Windrim Hall from residential to administrative use. See SJU appeal PDF 1.8MB.
On March 23, 2011, the Lower Merion Building & Planning Committee of the Board of Commissioners completed work on the Conditions of Approval for the Saint Joseph University Maguire Campus Preliminary Plan. They also granted a waiver, so that work on the Field Hockey field could be started before the Final Plan is approved. See news article below.
At the March 16 meeting, the Building & Planning Committee did not complete discussion on the Conditions of Approval. The next meeting on this will be on Wednesday, March 23 at 6:00 pm. See news articles for more information.
At the March 9 meeting, the Building & Planning Committee had four hours discussion of the Preliminary Plan and suggested Conditions of Approval. The first suggested condition, which states that the University will comply with zoning hearing board conditions, was opposed by the University. The MCC lawyer explained that the university has asked the Commonwealth Court to move ahead with an appeal of the Zoning Hearing Board 2008 decision, that the University had to reapply for a special exception. If that appeal succeeds, all of the November 2010 zoning hearing board decision would be nullified. The decision was deferred to a special meeting of the Building & Planning Committee, at 7:30 pm prior to the monthly Board of Commissioners meeting on March 16.
On March 9, the Building & Planning Committee of the LM Board of Commissioners received and considered the recommendations of the Lower Merion Building & Planning Commission. See March 9 final agenda (PDF 64 KB) which has the revised suggested Conditions of Approval.
On March 7, the Lower Merion Building and Planning Commission considered the St. Joseph Preliminary Plan using the attached Bldg & Planning March 7 Packet (PDF 730 KB), with recommended conditions of approval on pages 12-19.
There were two neighbor's meetings with representatives from the LM Building & Planning Department and St. Joseph University.
02/09/2011 8-10 am: Discussed issues relating to Berwick Road
02/10/2011 8-10 am: Discussed issues relating to Latches Lane
On 1/6/2011, a Preliminary Plan Application, No. 3608, proposing improvements to the athletic fields and other related site improvements on the University's Maguire Campus, was submitted to the Lower Merion Township Building & Planning Department.
See Planning Department Notification (1 page PDF 30 KB)
See Overall Development Plan (1 page 42x30 inch PDF 4.5 MB)
See Preliminary Plan Land Development (44 pages 42x30 inch PDF 70 MB)
Contents from Cover Sheet of the Preliminary Plan Land Development:
The zoning hearings have been completed and the Zoning Hearing Board has published their decision.
See Full Document (38 pages PDF 127 KB)
See Order (Summary) (pages 37-38 converted to text PDF 105 KB)
The application of St. Joseph's University for a special exception is GRANTED, but subject to conditions, which include the following (see the full decision for more details):
See SJU A-56 Offer of conditions to approval (PDF 27 KB)
SJU New Baseball Field Plan (PDF 1625 KB BIG)
SJU A-33: Usage of Playing Fields at Maguire Campus(PDF 133KB)
SJU Maguire: Main Lines Times: (recent first)
04/25/2011 St. Joe's names interim president
03/18/2011 SJU fields plan in extra innings again
01/25/2011 St. Joe's updates Merion neighbors on plans
11/18/2010 St. Joe's plan for athletic fields approved
08/14/2010 Attorney: Zoners violated Sunshine Act in LM
07/23/2010 St. Joe's hearing wrap-up revs up again
06/16/2010 Is end in sight for St. Joseph's zoning dispute?,
04/28/2010 St. Joe's wants to step up zoning sessions
03/24/2010 St. Joe's creating temporary walkway
02/03/2010 St. Joe's and Merion neighbors clash again
01/16/2010 St. Joe's hearings resume
12/03/2009 Religion touchy topic of St. Joe's hearing
11/12/2009 Sounding off over St. Joseph's acoustics
10/22/2009 UPDATE: Judge denies St. Joe's appeal
07/24/2009 St. Joes continues its plea
04/23/2009 St. Joe's to appeal LM zoningThe Zoning Hearing Board Apr 22nd Agenda lists the original application items. The last Main Line Times article (of 7/23/2010) lists the changes proposed by St. Joseph's University.
Related Zoning Hearing Board decisions of 3/26/2009:
St. Joseph Appeal MCC Appeal.
|• United States Governance.|
This section will discuss United States Government issues with a direct effect on Merion.
From 2002 until the end of 2012, Lower Merion was in the 6th Congressional District, represented by Congressman Jim Gerlach. Our part of Lower Merion will now be in the 2nd Congressional District, represented by Congressman Chaka Fattah. We are still represented by Jim Gerlach, district 6. We will participate in the primary and the general election of 2012 for the new district, with the winner representing us starting on the second Tuesday in January 2013.
On Thursday, February 9, 2012, there was a special event "Meet Chaka Fattah" at the Merion Tribute House, sponsored by the following Civic Associations: Ardmore Progressive, ArdWood, Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Merion, North Ardmore, Penn Wynne, Shortridge, and Wynnewood.
US Governance: Main Line Times & Philadelphia Inquirer: (recent first)
10/31/2012 IRS extends deadline for storm-hit taxpayers
|• Historic Homes and Gardens Walking Tour|
Lower Merion Conservancy and Merion Civic Association
On Sunday, May 23, 2010, from 1-4pm, the tour was a great success.
See Flyer (PDF 1.1MB) for more information.
See Historic Preservation Lecture Series for details.
See Main Line Times preview article (05/20/2010).
See Historic Homes & Gardens Tour - Sneak Peek.