Minutes of the meeting held on September 9, 2010


The Newtown Township Historical Architectural Review Board met on Thursday, September 9, 2010, at 9:30 A.M. in the main meeting room of the Newtown Township Administration Building, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA.

Members present were Joseph McKernan, Jr., Harriet Beckert, Bill Mahler, Doug Terry and Building Inspector Rich Wendling. Not present were member Frank Tyrol, Planning Commission Liaison Peggy Driscoll and Supervisor Liaison Phil Calabro. Also present were John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager, Doreen Helmstrom, Codes Department and Township residents Gerald DeYoung and Sandy Bender.

Call to Order:

Chairman McKernan called the meeting to order at 9:37 A.M.

Minutes of June 10, 2010:

Mr. Terry made a motion to approve the minutes of June 10, 2010 as presented. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mahler and passed unanimously with one member abstaining (4-0-1).


New Business

Certificates of Appropriateness:

Gerald and Mary DeYoung – 103 North Sycamore Street

The Board discussed the Certificate of Appropriateness for 103 North Sycamore Street to demolish the 16’ x 42’ existing garage and shed to construct a new 24’ x 32’ two car garage.

Mr. DeYoung reported that the current garage is in disrepair and that he would like to construct a new garage; the new garage would be larger and a new footing would be needed. The house on the site has a Stone front and chocolate colored siding in the rear. He is proposing that the materials for the new garage are Khaki colored vinyl siding, Forest Green shutters, White trim and light colored roof shingles that would complement the siding and shutters.

Mrs. Beckert questioned the new garage’s visibility from Sycamore Street. Mr. DeYoung reported on the visibility of the garage.

Chairman McKernan reported that what is being proposed would be an improvement.

The members advised the applicant that the name of the manufactures of the vinyl siding and roof shingles is needed for that application. The applicant advised that he would contact his contractor and provide that information to the Recording Secretary via telephone.

Mr. DeYoung reported that the Joint Historic Commission has approved the demolition of the existing garage.

Mrs. Beckert made a motion to approve the application for 103 North Sycamore Street as presented with clarification as to the manufactures of the vinyl siding and roof shingles. The new garage would be 24’ x 32’ with Khaki colored vinyl siding, Forest Green shutters, White trim and light colored roof shingles. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mahler and passed unanimously (5-0).

Chairman McKernan advised the applicant that this Board only makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and that they give the final approval. He advised the applicant that the matter would be discussed at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on September 22, 2010. The meeting starts at 7:30 P.M. and a representative should be present. It was also recommended for the applicant to bring samples for viewing.

The Board thanked Mr. DeYoung for his time.

The Board signed the Certificate of Appropriateness for 103 North Sycamore Street. Chairman McKernan reported that he would make the presentation to the Supervisors on September 22, 2010.

The Recording Secretary confirmed that Mr. DeYoung would contact her to clarify the manufactures of the vinyl siding and roof shingles.

Old Business

Update on developing a Book of Appropriateness

Mr. Terry updated the members on HARB’s June 23rd report to the BOS. He advised that the draft Book of Appropriateness has been left with the Supervisors for their review. The members agreed that further directions are needed from the Supervisors on how to proceed. Chairman McKernan will question the Supervisors on the status of their review at the September 22nd meeting.

Report from Planning Commission Liaison


Privilege of the Floor

Resident Sandy Bender advised that he was just here to observe the meeting. Mr. Boyle advised Mr. Bender that if he was interested in serving as member on one of the Township’s Committees/Boards/Commissions that he should contact the Township.

Mrs. Beckert reported on her attendance at the Supervisors’ March Work Session where the Bucks County Planning Commission presented a conceptual design plan for the Sycamore Street Corridor Town Commercial District. Mr. Boyle advised that he is unsure of the status and would look into and report back to HARB.

Mrs. Beckert reported on her attendance at the Planning Commission’s September 7, 2010 meeting where Beneficial Bank presented a sketch plan for the property located at 34 South Sycamore Street. The members reviewed the sketch plan being proposed, which showed that the main entrance does not face Sycamore Street. The plan also showed that an extremely large building is being proposed. The members discussed the current building on the site needing demolition approval by the Joint Historic Committee. The applicant will also need to appear before HARB. The members agreed that the front of the building should face Sycamore Street. Chairman McKernan suggested that the building has too much brick and needs to be softened and that there would be parking issues. Mrs. Beckert advised that she has spoken to the applicant with regards to them having any questions for HARB and that she would email any of the applicant’s questions to the members.

Mr. Wendling reported on the status of 1 South Sycamore Street with regards to the air conditioner units. He advised that there are a number of units along the street that are visible. Mrs. Beckert discussed her concerns and reported that the applicant did advise that they would landscape the area to hide the units and that has not been done. The members discussed if landscaping falls under HARB’s jurisdiction. Mrs. Beckert and Mr. Terry advised that HARB has made recommendations with regards to landscaping. The members discussed the units needing ventilation and the need for the applicant to appear before HARB regarding landscaping. Mr. Boyle reported on the guidelines that the Township follows when accepting Certificate of Appropriateness applications; the Codes Department goes by the Ordinance, which does not address landscaping. The members discussed what could be done with regards to existing units and future units. The members discussed what types of materials should be recommended for landscaping. The members agreed that they should review the Ordinance that the Codes Department follows. Mrs. Beckert also suggested that the members review the Secretary of Interior Standards. The members agreed to review the documents and discuss the matter further at the next meeting.

Mr. Wendling reported on the status of the approved June 23, 2010 COA for 1 South Sycamore Street. He advised that the garage is almost complete and that no painting has occurred as of yet.

The Recording Secretary advised the Peggy Driscoll has agreed to be the Planning Commission Liaison. Mr. Boyle clarified that Mrs. Driscoll would not be a liaison she would be a voting member. The Supervisors are scheduled to appoint Mrs. Driscoll on September 15, 2010.

The members discussed the ability to vote via telephone if a quorum is needed. Mr. Terry questioned if members could vote via email. Mr. Boyle advised that he would research the voting methods and report back to HARB.

Mrs. Beckert reported that the Supervisor and Planning Commission Liaisons are having a difficult time making the daytime meeting and suggested that the HARB consider changing the meeting time to the evening. Mr. Boyle suggested that the Chairman contact the Board of Supervisors Chairman to discuss what time they would like the meeting to occur. The members discussed their availability for daytime and evening meetings.

Mr. Bender commented on the publics’ review of applications. The members reported on how applications are submitted to the HARB. Mr. Boyle advised that it is the Township’s intention to be able to present applications/plans on the overhead screens in the future. A suggestion was made for there to be extra copies available for the publics’ review.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:19 A.M.

The next meeting is schedule for October 14, 2010 at 9:30 A.M.

Respectfully Submitted,


Christy Holley-Flaherty, Recording Secretary