Lower Merion and Narberth contain impressive collections of historic landmarks. A key mission of the Lower Merion Conservancy is to protect these communities’ landmarks. The Conservancy does this by offering programming and events that celebrate the architecture and heritage of the area, advocating for preservation-friendly policies and legislation in the township and borough, and supporting public and private initiatives that protect the character of area.
Lower Merion Township Historic Resource Preservation Ordinance
Lower Merion adopted its Historic Resource Preservation Ordinance in 2000. The ordinance is a legal document that recognizes the right of the township to identify and protect historic resources within the municipality. The ordinance authorizes the Historical Commission and the Historical Architectural Review Board (bodies appointed by the Board of Commissioners) to review and make recommendations about applications proposing changes to properties listed on the township’s Historic Resource Inventory [HRI], a catalogue of officially designated historic properties within the township. The ordinance empowers the Board of Commissioners with the final authority to approve or deny changes to historic properties on the HRI. The following link contains the historic preservation ordinance:
Designated Historic Resources:
In Lower Merion, resources on the HRI are either designated individually or designated as contributing resources to historic districts.
The Historic Resource Overlay District, an amendment to the Lower Merion Zoning Code, provides for the protection of individually-listed historic resources in the township. The Historical Commission, a seven-member voluntary advisory board, makes recommendations to the Board of Commissioners about proposed changes to these resources. Resources in the Overlay District are listed on the HRI and are distinguished as either Class I or Class II. The Code of Lower Merion Township enables the Board of Commissioners to deny a permit for the demolition of Class I resources. The code permits the Board of Commissioners to approve a delay of demolition of up to 90 days on Class II resources.
Individuals who are interested in placing their properties on the HRI may contact the Conservancy or the township Preservation Planner, Greg Prichard, for information about the designation process.
The following link contains a list of resources on the HRI. The list identifies the designation class of each resource (Class I or Class II).
Contributing Resources to Historic Districts:
Lower Merion contains seven local historic districts. Historic districts contain concentrations of historic resources that are united by their history, architecture, and significance. The township HARB, a voluntary advisory board authorized by state law and a township ordinance, reviews building applications that have the potential to impact the character and integrity of Contributing Resources to Historic Districts. A Contributing Resource is defined in the township Preservation Ordinance as a “building, structure or site adding to the historic significance of a property, neighborhood or district.”
The following link contains maps that delineate the boundaries of each of the township’s seven local historic districts. Additional information about the township’s historic districts is available here. The map below also displays the local historic districts: