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New City Avenue Zoning Rules Take Effect Monday

Lower Merion officials finished amending the new laws Wednesday night.

Builders of tall buildings can build them taller than ever on Bala Cynwyd's side of City Avenue, starting Monday, April 30.

That's just one upshot of new zoning rules—years in the making—taking effect that day in an effort to invigorate commercial development in the busy corridor Lower Merion shares with Philadelphia.

The township's Board of Commissioners made a few last-minute adjustments Wednesday night, partly at the behest of neighborhood residents. (Read Patch's account of the rezoning's , and browse the township's database of explainer documents and maps.)

"I hope the board will keep in mind that Bala Cynwyd is a neighborhood, that St. Asaph's Road, Conshohocken State Road and Belmont Avenue are the most impacted," Bala Cynwyd resident Merle Zucker said. "City Avenue is a whole other situation that from the beginning has been a commercial street."

Most notable among the amendments was the required setback for new buildings growing from 50 to 150 feet on the section of Belmont Avenue between St. Asaph's and Righters Ferry roads. Officials committed to preserving the tree line there that screens the Bala Plaza commercial complex from the homes across Belmont.

The maximum building height in and around Bala Plaza grew, too, from 120 to 150 feet. Elsewhere, the maximum is growing to as much as 200 feet.

Bala Cynwyd Commissioner George Manos said of the commercial area, "I hope this is something that over the next 10 and 20 years realizes its potential and becomes a shining star."

So now that the rezoning is officially in the books, Patch wants to know: What one kind of business would you most like to see come to the City Avenue corridor? Tell us in the comments. 

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