On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the Narberth Planning Commission will hear a redevelopment proposal from the contracted buyer of the United Methodist Church of Narberth property, according to borough officials.
The property at Price and Essex avenues went on the market last summer as its congregation prepared to merge with St. Luke United Methodist Church in Bryn Mawr. In November, the Main Line Times reported Main Line Realty Partners had signed an agreement of sale for the church, the parsonage and the land.
Borough Councilman Michael Alexander pointed out at Wednesday night's caucus meeting that the property would not be redevelopable under the borough's current zoning. However, an early draft of an overhauled zoning code was presented to the Planning Commission on Feb. 4.
The property's buyer intends to keep the church and parsonage buildings standing—renovated to some extent—and also intends to build two "semi-detached single-family dwellings" between the existing buildings and Price Avenue, Borough Manager Bill Martin told the council.
Said Councilman Bob Weisbord, "Their ability to save the church and historic house hinges on their ability to do a small piece of new construction."
Since the move was announced last summer, the church building's other tenants have pursued new accommodations:
- Narberth Community Theatre has begun staging plays in Wallingford, Delaware County; its eight-show run of Urinetown: The Musical begins there Feb. 15.
- New Horizons Senior Center is in the middle of moving temporarily to borough hall.
- The Narberth Community Food Bank is still seeking a new home.
The Planning Commission's meeting, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at borough hall, will be its first session since Miriam Shakow and Jim Speer were added as members by council resolution Feb. 6. Council recently expanded the Planning Commission from five seats to seven.
How important do you consider the future of the Narberth UMC property? Do you intend to speak at Wednesday's meeting? Please tell us in the comments section below.