The new zoning code proposed for Lower Merion Township focuses primarily on the most cherished but also most exclusionary features of 1950s suburbia, writes Inga Saffron for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The new rules will be up for a final vote at a Board of Commissioners meeting on Sept. 18. The code emphasizes big lots, big houses, and big requirements for off-street parking.
The proposed code is also strong on preservation – not just of green spaces but also buildings and neighborhoods. It goes as far as to legalize granny flats and garage apartments, or Accessory Dwelling Units, a progressive idea currently on the rise in Philadelphia.
At the same time, affordable housing and sustainable construction are barely mentioned.
Lower Merion has hired Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to help its staff develop the new zoning code. Plater-Zyberk, a Bryn Mawr native, is the founder of the influential Congress for New Urbanism.
The goal of her plan is to limit sprawl by preventing the carving up of big estates into conventional subdivisions. She argues that this approach is also good for the environment because the large lots “operate at a regional scale as a greenbelt to the city.”
Read more about the new zoning code in The Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.