Upper Merion Township is an important hub in the southeast Pennsylvania region. Like many communities where location, work and living conditions are desirable, development is strong and open space is threatened. The Township has been guided by two planning documents during the past decade that have helped planners and leaders in the community make wise decisions to expand and protect the open space system. Those include the 1994 Parks and Recreation Master Plan and an Open Space and Environmental Resource Protection Plan Addendum. The 2004 update brought the former planning guides back into focus with renewed emphasis on open space opportunities and reflected current trends of the Township.
Open Space Referendum
On May 16, 2006, Upper Merion Township voters overwhelmingly passed an Open Space Referendum with 83% of the vote, which approved the creation of an elector debt in the sum of Five-Million Dollars ($5,000,000.00). Voters supported the adding of approximately 0.093 mills to their annual Township tax bill which would cost the average homeowner approximately an additional $26.00 per year. This fund will be used to purchase land or interests in land for preservation and conservation of open, undeveloped land in Upper Merion Township.
To fulfill the mandate of the Referendum, the Township Board of Supervisors are authorized to pursue one or more of the following initiatives:
Acquire agricultural conservation easements – The Township may purchase agricultural conservation easements, or participate in State or County land preservation programs that acquire agricultural conservation easements, an agricultural conservation easement allows the landowner to retain his/her land and use it for farming and other agricultural purposes.
Finance the acquisition of open space – The Township may purchase undeveloped land from landowners in the Township in order to protect sensitive natural areas such as woodlands, stream valleys or other unique natural resources or habitats.
Finance the acquisition of recreation or historic land – The Township may purchase undeveloped land from landowners in the Township for the purpose of developing additional recreational facilities for residents or for historic preservation purposes.
Acquire Property Development Rights – Under this option, a landowner may sell the development rights of a property to the Township. The landowner would retain the property, but the property could not be developed.
For More Information
A group of concerned citizens, calling themselves Greener Upper Merion, enthusiastically supported this referendum to raise funds to purchase open space. The leaders of the group include Scott Sibley, Pam Rende, Eric Medrow, and current member of the Board of Supervisors, Greg Waks.
Residents may contact the group at the following e-mail address: e-mail