NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURAL
Minutes of the meeting held on April 14, 2009
The Newtown Township Historical Architectural Review Board met on Tuesday, April 14, 2009, at 1:30 P.M. in the Meeting Room of the Newtown Township Administration Building, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA.
Members present were Frank Tyrol, Bill Mahler, Harriet Beckert, Joseph McKernan, Jr., Sue Beasley and Building Inspector Rich Wendling. Not present were members Doug Terry and Peggy Driscoll. Also present were Mike Galla, KMS; John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager and Debbie Wagner, Lilly’s Cocina Loca; Township residents/business owners Vince Lombardi, Sandi Thomas and Melva Vitoriano.
Call to Order:
Mr. Tyrol called the meeting to order at 1:36 P.M.
Minutes of February 10, 2009:
Mr. Mahler made a motion to approve the minutes of February 10, 2009. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Beasley and passed unanimously with one member abstaining (4-0-1).
Chairman McKernan arrived after the minutes were approved.
Certificates of Appropriateness:
Lilly’s Cocina Loca – 255 North Sycamore Street
The Board discussed the Certificate of Appropriateness application completed by Lilly’s Cocina Loca with regards to replacing the inserts of an existing self-illuminated sign.
Mr. Galla reported that per the JMZO only one sign is permitted and that the logo on the existing awning would need to be covered and the wall mounted sign would need to be removed.
The members discussed the identification sign being self-illuminated. Mrs. Beckert questioned how the applicant was granted permission for the self-illuminated sign. Mr. Galla advised that IL Sol did have an illuminated sign and that Ms. Salvatore is only changing the inserts on the existing sign. Mrs. Beckert advised that she is not in favor of the self-illuminated sign and that she feels it is not historically appropriate.
Ms. Wagner reported that she was representing the applicant Lilly Salvatore. She advised that the self-illuminated sign already exists and that only the inserts would be replaced. She discussed the cost involved with completely replacing the sign.
Mrs. Beckert suggested that the identification sign not be self-illuminated.
Ms. Wagner commented with regards to IL Sol having six (6) signs including the self-illuminated sign and questioned why that was permitted. She advised that Ms. Salvatore is only requesting the one sign and will paint the awning.
Mrs. Beasley commented with regards to things in the Historic District being grandfathered.
Mr. Tyrol reported that according to the memorandum received from the Township’s Interim Director of Planning and Zoning , the self-illuminated sign is viable.
Mrs. Beasley commented with regards to the HARB needing direction from the Board of Supervisors regarding bringing things inline to maintain the Historic District, things being grandfathered and the lower end of the street being discussed in the future.
Chairman McKernan arrived.
Mr. Tyrol suggested for the Board to get direction from the Board of Supervisors and the Zoning Department. He referred to the memorandum received from Mr. Galla. He questioned if the self-illuminated sign is grandfathered.
Mrs. Beckert and Mrs. Beasley advised that they feel this matter should go before the Supervisors for discussion.
Mr. Mahler questioned that if this were a new application would a self-illuminated sign be allowed. Mr. Tyrol advised that would not be allowed and commented with regards to the possibility of the sign being grandfathered.
Mrs. Beasley commented on discussions by the Planning Commission with regards to redefining the street.
Mr. Tyrol commented on the request made by the Supervisors at the February Work Session with regards to a vision for the street.
Ms. Wagner reported that the restaurant is scheduled to open on Sunday, May 3, 2009 and the need for a sign.
Mrs. Beckert suggested that the applicant apply for a temporary sign.
Ms. Wagner commented on the other businesses owned by Ms. Salvatore.
Mr. Tyrol advised that currently the applicant’s option is to apply for a temporary sign permit, Mr. Galla will research the issue with regards to the sign being grandfathered and that the Board of Supervisors will have to make a decision at the April 22, 2009 meeting. The meeting starts at 7:30 P.M. and a representative should be present.
The members discussed the Zoning Ordinance for the Historic District. Mr. Galla advised that the ordinance states that signs in the Historic District can not be self-illuminated. Mrs. Beckert advised that HARB has never approved an acrylic sign. Ms. Wagner questioned if there is a book advising applicants what is appropriate. Mrs. Beckert advised that the Board does have a book of appropriate signs. The members advised Ms. Wagner that copies of Township ordinances could be requested from the Township’s Administration Office.
Mr. Tyrol advised Ms. Wagner that this Board only makes recommendations to the Supervisors and they have the final say. He suggested the applicant look into applying for a moveable sidewalk sign.
The members discussed the application with regards to the sign design and colors. Ms. Wagner advised that the sign inserts would be acrylic. The proposed sign colors are as follows:
- background – cream (7403)
- trim – blue (pantone 313U)
- lettering – red (pantone 193U) and orange (pantone 166U)
The members agreed that they had no objections to the sign design or colors.
The members discussed the process if the Supervisors do not approve the application as is.
Mrs. Beckert suggested that the applicant agree to an extension and advised that this sign is the only self-illuminated sign in the Historic District.
Chairman McKernan advised Ms. Wagner that this Board is only an advisory board to the Board of Supervisors. He also discussed the Township’s Zoning Ordinance with regards to self-illuminated signs.
Mr. Boyle questioned if this application will go before the Supervisors at the April 22, 2009 meeting and if the applicant should be present. The members advised that this application would be presented to the Supervisors at the April 22, 2009 meeting and that the applicant should be present.
Mrs. Beckert made a motion to postpone making a recommendation for approval due to needing gu idance from the Supervisors and that the HARB is requesting an extension from the applicant for determination of the sign being grandfathered. The motion was seconded by Chairman McKernan and passed unanimously (6-0).
Mr. Galla advised Ms. Wagner on the applicant’s next step with regards to the extension.
The members discussed the next steps if the Supervisors decline the application.
The Board thanked Ms. Wagner for her time.
The Board agreed that they support the ordinance with regards to self-illuminated signs.
Chairman McKernan advised that he would attend the Supervisors’ meeting on April 22, 2009.
Begin working on request made by Supervisors – Book of appropriate elevations
Chairman McKernan updated the members on the request made by the Supervisors to create a Book of Appropriateness for the Historic District.
Mr. Tyrol advised that he had paperwork regarding Pottstown’s Historic District, he provided Chairman McKernan with the information for review.
The members discussed HARB working with the Planning Commission with regards to a vision for the Historic District.
The members discussed their charge being to come up with some parameters of design for the Historic District.
A suggestion was made to have the Board of Supervisors clarify what HARB’s mission is.
Chairman McKernan advised that he would discuss the matter during his presentation to the Supervisors at the April 22, 2009 meeting and update the members at their next meeting.
Report from Planning Commission Liaison
Mrs. Beasley reported on discussions that the Planning Commission has been having with regards to reviewing Sycamore Street, a vision of what the street should be like, reviewing uses on the street, locating historic buildings/sites within the Township, and working on an ordinance that will be passed by the Jointure. She requested Chairman McKernan to asked the Supervisors if they would like HARB to help with the ordinance that the Planning Commission is working on.
Mr. Lombardi commented on the Planning Commission being charged with reviewing zoning on Sycamore Street. He recapped discussions at past Planning Commission meetings and possible sites that may be redeveloped.
Mrs. Beckert commented on the 1985 survey done by the Heritage Conservatory.
The members discussed rezoning/extending the Historic District.
Mrs. Beasley requested that a map of the Historic District be provided to the Planning Commission and suggested Chairman McKernan to contact the Planning Commission Chairman Allen Fidler.
The members discussed HARB becoming more involved within the Township, not just the Historic District, the Joint Historic Commission, Newtown Borough and the Jointure.
Chairman McKernan requested a copy of the 1985 survey. Mrs. Beckert advised that information is available at the Historic Association.
Mrs. Beckert requested a map of the Township. Mr. Boyle advised that he would provide her with a map of the Township.
The members discussed expanding the role of this Board and that needing to be done by the Supervisors.
Privilege of the Floor
The members discussed the HARB filing cabinet with regards to its location and organization. The Recording Secretary advised that the cabinet has been moved to the Administration Building. Ms. Beckert advised on the information in the filing cabinet including approved COA’s.
Chairman McKernan advised that he would make the presentation to the Supervisors on April 22, 2009.
Chairman McKernan recapped today’s discussions:
- HARB needs to be a ware of Planning Commission results with regards to uses on Sycamore Street.
- HARB will review the 1983 and 1985 survey s.
- Discussed five sites along Sycamore Street that may be redeveloped.
- He will setup a meeting with Allen Fidler .
- He will have discussions with the Supervisors with regards to HARB locating historic buildings/sites within the Township
- He will have discussions with the Supervisors with regards to e xpanding the Historic District.
Ms. Thomas commented with regards to the moveable sidewalk signs and sign colors. Mr. Lombardi commented on the ordinance and the meeting with the Supervisors in May 2008. The members discussed should building colors be appropriate when designing the sign. Mr. Galla reported that the sign standard includes the colors that were approved for signs, not approved building colors. He advised on the process if the applicant is not going with the sign standard. The members discussed making a recommendation to expand the sign standard to include approved building colors. The members suggested for Ms. Thomas to complete an application and appear before HARB. Ms. Vittoriano commented on the sign standard , building colors and the grace period with regards to enforcement . Mr. Galla reported with regards to sign enforcement. Mr. Boyle suggested that HARB recommend the Board of Supervisors to revise the sign standard.
Mr. Tyrol made a motion to recommend that the Board of Supervisors expand on the sign standard to include approved building and sign colors. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mahler and passed unanimously (6-0).
The members suggested Ms. Thomas to contact Mr. Galla after the April 22, 2009 Supervisors’ meeting.
Mrs. Beasley made a motion to nominate Harriet Beckert for Vice-Chairperson. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tyrol and passed unanimously (6-0).
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 3:01 P.M.
The next meeting is schedule for May 12, 2009 at 1:30 P.M.
Christy Holley-Flaherty, Recording Secretary