LOCAL NEWS: Lower Merion School Board Unanimously Passes Trans-Affirmative Policy

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Lower Merion schools now have a transgender-inclusive student policy.

On Monday, the Lower Merion school board unanimously passed a transgender-inclusive policy that respects students’ names, pronouns, and personal identification in records and academic documents. The new policy also aims to ensure trans students are included in sex-segregated events and public spaces. “This policy is the icing on the cake,” Bruno Reiver, a trans student at Lower Merion, told the press. “As a graduating senior, I cannot express how grateful I am to have attended such a progressive, open-minded institution.” The Pennsylvania Youth Congress and local student groups helped to get the policy passed. Lower Merion is now one of five districts in Pennsylvania — Great Valley, Springfield, Upper Dublin, and Cheltenham are the others — to officially enforce a trans-affirmative policy. The Pittsburgh Public School Board plans to vote on a transgender student policy in June, while the School District of Philadelphia is currently reviewing a policy expected to reach the School Reform Commission this summer. Read more »

Police: “Anti-Semitic” Incident Outside Lower Merion Kosher Restaurant Wasn’t

The Dairy Cafe in Bala Cynwyd (photo via Dairy Cafe on Facebook)

The Dairy Cafe in Bala Cynwyd (photo via Dairy Cafe on Facebook)

Last week, Lower Merion was aflutter over allegations of anti-Semitic threats outside a kosher restaurant on Montgomery Avenue. But after days of investigation and involvement from the Anti-Defamation League, the Lower Merion Police Department says there wasn’t anything anti-Semitic about it. It was just two guys with a beef. Read more »

Here’s the Proposal for the Suburban Square Expansion

Macy's-Suburban-Square

Oooh, the Suburban Square expansion proposal appears to be chugging along. Per the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison, Kimco Realty received a recommendation for approval from the Lower Merion Planning Commission for their tentative sketch plans two days ago. Now, the Building and Planning Committee is scheduled to hear them later tonight.

Here is what Kimco wants to do:

  • Construct four-level parking garage with 571 spaces at 75 St. James Place;
    garage would include 3,000 square feet of retail space at grade along Coulter Ave.
  • Construct two-story, 40,000-square-foot building at 100 Coulter Ave.;
    include first floor retail; second floor office space
  • Construct one-story, 3,445-square-foot addition to rear of Trader Joe’s
  • Demolish existing storage building with Class II historic resource (it was a former freight shed dating back to 1885)

Read more »

Arn Tellem and Franz Lidz Are Going to the Hall of Fame

Arn Tellem and Franz Lidz

Arn Tellem (left) and Franz Lidz (Photos: Courtesy of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame)

Franz Lidz moved to Penn Valley in 1961 “during a legendary blizzard.” A year later, he struck up a friendship with a boy who had also just moved to the neighborhood: Arn Tellem. The two ventured into different careers — Lidz a respected writer for publications like Sports Illustrated and Smithsonian magazine, and Tellem a “powerful sports agent you can actually like” — but remained friends. On May 28th, they will both be inducted in to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Read more »

Update: William Penn Inn in Wynnewood Plans Get Conditional Hearing

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 3.27.28 PM

William Penn Inn c. 1875 | Image courtesy of the Lower Merion Historical Society

So what ever happened to the William Penn Inn in Wynnewood? Last we heard, it had been saved from the clasps of demolition thanks to an agreement of sale between Rayer Builders and William Inn Partners LLC, a partnership that ensured the new development proposal for the parcel it sits on would, unlike the first one, preserve the historic structure.

Well, readers, we got an update. According to the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Alison, attorneys for the dual developers had a conditional use hearing earlier this week. They presented the developers’ project as having crucial “need for setback and impervious surface relief” if the building is to be preserved. Plans include converting it into three condos, as well as adding new homes on three new lots. Read more »

Owners Propose Historical Ardmore Buildings Be Demolished for Parking

The historical Ardmore properties in question as of 2012. | Photo via Google Street View

The historical Ardmore properties in question as of 2012. | Photo via Google Street View

Ooof, this is definitely not helping the already partially(?) deplored One Ardmore Place project.

As previously reported, Carl Dranoff’s planned mixed-use development has been mired with dissenters since its approval, going so far as to inspire a protest in November. More recently, the project was connected to a lawsuit filed by six local business owners against Lower Merion Township after the township granted the developer a historical road for his project.

Now, the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison reports the new owners of two historical properties on Cricket Avenue (47 and 53-55) have submitted a formal application for the demolition of their buildings. Their reasons for wanting the demo? Parking. 

More specifically, temporary parking to alleviate traffic during the construction of Dranoff’s One Ardmore Place.

Read more »

Spotted: Lower Merion Victorian with Turret Bathroom

TREND photo via RE/MAX Executive Realty-Bryn Mawr.

TREND photo via RE/MAX Executive Realty-Bryn Mawr.

Lest the above image dishearten you, take a look at the home in snowless weather in the gallery below because, ultimately, we think it’s a winner.

Some of its more striking elements? How about a heated greenhouse room (potential art studio?), generously-sized master suite (seriously, it has a sitting area, dressing room, and bathroom!), and turret bathroom. That turret, by the way, also houses a curved stairway with stained glass windows. Additionally, outside is a carriage house with 1-car garage.

Read more »

Morning Headlines: No Property Tax Increase for Lower Merion

home-for-sale
According to a release from Lower Merion Township, the 2015 proposed budget recommends no increase in property taxes. That’ll make it year number four without such an increase, which seems like a dream to Philadelphians — and helps explain why young parents find it tempting to cross City Line when they’re looking for a new home.

To get technical, the real estate tax millage rate is 4.19 in Lower Merion, and that’s where it would stay, though the entire budget is subject to debate at public hearings. The release says:

Despite incurring unexpected winter storm expenses of about $1 million in 2014, the year is projected to finish on budget. That has been accomplished with expenditure savings in other areas that helped to offset the extraordinary storm costs. This positive performance in 2014 is projected to allow the use of the unreserved fund balance to be kept below budget for the year, while setting a positive direction for the 2015 Budget.

Lower Merion’s Proposed Budget 2015 [via scribd]

Read more »

For Sale: Adorned Penn Valley Home with Spa Room Attached to Master Suite

44 Fairview Rd, Penn Valley, PA

Where to begin? This house is distinctively outfitted to say the least (hint: see the gallery to catch a glimpse of faux stone walls, pillars, tiger print rug, etc.), but I suppose what caught our eye first was the smiling pig standing in welcome at the entrance.

From the kitchen there’s access to the dining, family, breakfast, and great rooms. This latter area has marble and limestone floors, high beamed ceilings. and sliding pocket doors that lead out to the swimming pool. It’s capable of seating up to 60 guests.

Then there’s the master suite, which opens onto a deck and outdoor pool area and has a his-and-her bathroom that includes a massage area, plus a separate spa room with heated stone floor, “Endless pool”, and what looks to be a sky muraled ceiling.  Other bedrooms and a family room are in the lower level, which has an entry to the tennis court.

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Main Line Takes Steps Toward Revitalization

150 monument road bala cynwyd screenshot

Photo credit: Google Street View

A 207-unit apartment has been proposed for 150 Monument Road in Bala Cynwyd, a project to be presented before the Lower Merion Township Planning Commission this Monday.

The Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison says the planned six-story building would be situated on a seven-acre plot in Bala Cynwyd that currently hosts another six-story building used for office space. Allison also reports the project includes a central courtyard with pool deck, commercial/restaurant space (3,700 square feet), and a four-story parking garage, which is to have 673 parking spaces, 207 of which would be for apartment tenants.

The proposed development is one of many (some of which are already in progress), and the result of revitalization goals for the City Avenue commercial district:
Read more »

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