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Narberth UMC Redevelopment Plan to be Presented at Feb. 13 Public Meeting

The church property's contracted buyer wants to add two homes to the property, borough officials said.

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.

maria troffo February 10, 2013 at 06:24 PM
NO, NO, NO, NO!!! Isn't this area already crowded and junky enough??? Shame on borough leaders!!! SO SAD that they can't say NO!
Peter February 10, 2013 at 07:09 PM
I second what Maria has to say... I won't be able to make the meeting, but can someone please post/scan in the PROPOSED plans and provide a recap of what happens at the meeting? That article would be much appreciated. Thank you!
Jerry Kreider February 10, 2013 at 09:44 PM
I have seen an early version of the proposal and think that the proposed development appears to be pretty sensitive to the property: converting both the church and parsonage into condo units. Limited new construction along the Price Avenue side would be consistent in scale to the existing houses. All units would have off-street parking. I think that we Narbs are fortunate to HAVE some developers with a sensitivity to preserve and re-use building with some historic cred.
Michael Alexander February 11, 2013 at 02:56 PM
The first picture there is the old Methodist Church, not the current one that is being sold.

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