Settlement Ends Decade-Long Main Line Property Fight

By Doug Shimell and David Chang
|  Monday, Aug 12, 2013  |  Updated 9:36 PM EDT
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Narberth residents and Maybrook owners finally settle a decade long fight on whether Maybrook can build condominiums in Lower Merion. NBC10's Doug Shimell talks to some residents about the issue.

NBC10 - Doug Shimell

Narberth residents and Maybrook owners finally settle a decade long fight on whether Maybrook can build condominiums in Lower Merion. NBC10's Doug Shimell talks to some residents about the issue.

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It’s a legal battle that has been fought in the Main Line for over a decade. But now the fight is finally coming to an end. 

At the center of it all is the historic Maybrook Mansion which sits on one of the last chunks of developable land in Lower Merion. The 44-acre estate is located in Lower Merion Township but shares a border with Narberth Borough along North Wynnewood Avenue.

In March of 2002, the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners approved a tentative plan for the development of a 250-unit apartment building as well as a four-story parking garage on the land. Narberth Borough immediately sued to stop the development however, fearing traffic would spill into the streets.

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“There’s a lot of traffic down there,” said Narberth resident Becky Roeser. “That’s the one thing we were really worried about.”

The case went all the way up to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. A day before a new trial however, a settlement was reached between both sides.

“I think the parties were in earnest and wanted to settle it,” said Marc Jonas, a Narberth solicitor. “We had a trial date that was looming. That’s when the pressure is on for parties to consider. Do we want to leave this to the courts and have this sort of protracted over more years? Or do we want to see if we can resolve it between ourselves.”

The settlement limits the development at 250 units. It also allows Narberth to receive $325,000 and additional money to improve traffic at the Narberth tunnel with a traffic light or roundabout. The Narberth Borough Council during a meeting Monday night.

“It’s probably the best settlement that we could manage,” said Narberth resident Betty Kennedy.

Not all Narberth residents are happy with the plan however.

“We fought it and we took it all the way up and eventually you lose to the big guys,” said Barbara Wurth. “I’m now gonna have to fight 250 more cars. If they have two cars per house you’re looking at 500 more cars coming out of one exit. It’s not fair to a little residential street.”

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