Commissioners Change Parking Rules Ahead of Bryn Mawr Film Institute's Expansion

The Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners also approved an Ardmore festival, Smart Cards for meters and a tentative sketch plan to expand a Bala Cynwyd car dealership.

The Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners on Wednesday night approved zoning changes to parking requirements for the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, voted in favor of an Oktoberfest in Ardmore and approved a tentative sketch plan for additional construction at the existing BMW of the Main Line in Bala Cynwyd.

The board held a public hearing on Wednesday night before voting 11-1 in favor of amending a zoning ordinance to allow metered spaces in municipal parking lots within 900 feet of the to fulfill the theater’s parking requirements.

Before the zoning change, the township ordinance stipulated that the theater provide its own parking, with one parking space required for every five seats in the theater, said Bob Duncan, director of building and planning for the township.

The zoning change allows for the reduction of one off-site parking space for theater uses in the Bryn Mawr Village District for each metered space in a municipal parking lot allocated to that use, Duncan said.

The zoning change cannot be applied to parking for student homes, Duncan said.

Commissioner Steven Lindner cast the dissenting vote on the zoning change. Commissioner Jenny Brown attended the meeting but was out of the room at the time of the vote, and Commissioner Brian Gordon was absent due to a vacation.

Duncan said before the vote that township staff has been meeting with the theater about its plans for expansion, but an expansion was not possible unless the parking requirements were changed.

Samuel R. Scott, chairman of the board of directors for the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, spoke in favor of the zoning amendment during the public hearing.

Scott said Bryn Mawr Film Institute is “one of the leading film centers in the country” and expansion of the theater is critical to the theater’s future viability.

The board also approved several proposals on the consent calendar, meaning there were no requests from any member of the board for a separate discussion on the agenda items. The board’s vote on the consent calendar was approved by majority, with 12 yes votes, and one commissioner, Jenny Brown, present at the meeting but out of the room during the vote. 

Among the items approved as part of the consent calendar were:

Gladwyne Subdivision

The preliminary open space preservation subdivision plan for 1345 Conshohocken State Road and 1325 Club House Road in Gladwyne received the go-ahead.

The proposal calls for the subdivision of a 9.3 acre parcel into five new lots and a preservation area and the removal of the historic .

Smart Cards

Motorists will be able to forgo carrying change for meters soon, if they choose.  The board adopted an ordinance amending a township code to allow for “Smart Card” payments at parking meters.

The township will charge customers a one-time $5 fee to purchase the “Smart Cards,” which can then be loaded with any monetary amount up to $100, and used at the township’s parking meters.

BMW of the Main Line

The board approved the tentative sketch plan for additions and changes to BMW of the Main Line in Bala Cynwyd.

The plan includes the construction of additions and canopies to the existing building, construction of an accessory car wash, installation of 24 vehicle lifts and 36 parking spaces at 215 Bala Avenue, a 415-square-foot addition to the existing building at 225 Bala Ave., and exterior renovations to both buildings.

Oktoberfest in Ardmore

The Ardmore Initiative’s request to hold the first Oktoberfest on Cricket Avenue in Ardmore was approved.

The outdoor festival will include the sale of alcoholic beverages and food from local establishments, live music and children’s activities.


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