Development Has Some Residents Worried Narberth Could Lose Its Unique Identity

Image via Jessica Griffin, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Narberth is a walkable Montgomery County community with many businesses along Haverford Avenue.

Narberth is one of the rare suburbs with so much to offer, such as walkable neighborhoods, mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and a train station, that even urbanists love it, writes Kevin Riordan for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

However, with the departure of several long-time local businesses in recent years, a residential project proposal that envisions the redevelopment of 11 older commercial properties, and the prospect of three apartment buildings being developed has some residents worried that the town could soon lose its distinctive identity.

“I want Narberth to look like Narberth,” said borough commission president Fred Bush.

The borough that was established in 1895 and has 4,300 residents in half a square mile has recently become a target for developers as property values continued to rise in the entire region.

“So we need to make sure developments that are proposed fit with the character of Narberth,” said Bush.

Some developers are trying to fit that vision, including Tim Rubin, the developer on a pair of apartment buildings on Narberth’s main thoroughfare.

“These are small-scale, mixed-use projects, with ground-floor retail,” he said. “We would never want to do anything to change Narberth’s charm.”

Read more about Narberth in The Philadelphia Inquirer.