Minutes of the meeting held on August 14, 2013

The Newtown Township Historical Architectural Review Board met on Wednesday August 14, 2013, 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., Kurt Jensen (late), Peggy Driscoll, Harriet Beckert, Mike Crane and Doug Terry. Also present were Patty Powers, Codes Department; Martin Vogt, Zoning Officer and Michael Lelli, Farmers Insurance.

Call to Order:

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

Minutes of July 10, 2013:

Mrs. Driscoll moved to approve the minutes of July 10, 2013. Mrs. Beckert seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

New Business

Farmers Insurance – 213 North Sycamore Street (Mr. Jensen arrived at this point.)

Mr. Lelli explained that after he had obtained a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Board of Supervisors he learned that Farmers Insurance had changed its logo and all signage must reflect the change. All other aspects of the sign remain the same, with only a change in the logo, including its colors, updated.

Mrs. Powers provided the Board with sample color charts.

Mr. Jensen moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for 213 North Sycamore Street for sign colors: Red Pantone 20, Red Pantone 185, Blue Pantone 2717 and Blue Pantone 287 and Arctic White. The motion passed 6-0.

Mrs. Powers noted that the application would be before the Supervisors on August 28, 2013.

Old Business

Discussion to Finalize the Certificate of Appropriateness Application

The members reviewed the certificate as presented at the July meeting. Mrs. Beckert suggested that to prevent demolition by neglect, perhaps a sentence should be added to item #8 on the application stating that it is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain historic property in good repair.

Mrs. Beckert moved to recommend that the Township adopt the new form presented at the July meeting with the addition to item #8. Mrs. Driscoll seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Vogt noted that the Township Manager would give final approval, as this is a Township form.

The motion passed 6-0.

Discuss the Design Guidelines Folder/Brochure

Mr. McKernan provided members with copies of Sherwin Williams’ and MAB’s historic Color and American Heritage Color charts to be used in guiding applicants to selecting historic colors. Copies of the charts will be kept at the Codes and Zoning Office for applicants’ convenience.

Discussion of Historic Toll House

Mrs. Beckert reported that she had spoken to members of the Newtown Historic Association about displaying photographs and artifacts at the Toll House. The Historic Association was receptive to the idea, which might be a good use, rather than displaying valuable works of art, which might require costly liability insurance.

The members briefly discussed costs associated with ongoing maintenance and repairs. It was unclear who would be responsible for the maintenance. Mr. McKernan suggested putting an addition for commercial office space might make the building more attractive to the property owner.

Mrs. Beckert said that she believed it might currently be used for storage but the interior is in need of repairs. It might need to be gutted if it is to be used.

The members agreed to continue to research using the house for activities such as Santa visits.

Privilege of the Floor

Mrs. Beckert said that in the course of reviewing the Farmers’ Insurance application, she noticed that the “Hollywood Nails” sign colors are not as outlined on the certificate of appropriateness. She asked Mr. Vogt to review this.

Mr. Vogt said that he has been contacted by the owners of 213 North Sycamore Street, who are interested in rebuilding the porch on the building, which has fallen into disrepair. He showed a photograph of the building as it appeared before the railing had been added to the porch. The owner would like to restore the porch to its original condition. Mr. Vogt had confirmed that the railings are not required by the building code.

Mrs. Beckert said that she recalled that the railing had been required because of the steep steps.

Mr. Vogt said that the steps are to be replaced to code and the railing would not be required. The applicant is eager to work with HARB to restore the building to its original appearance.

All agreed that they would be eager to work with the owners to restore the building façade. Mrs. Beckert said that she may be able to find some photographs showing the building as it appeared originally.


There being no further business to come before the Board, Mr. Jensen moved to adjourn at 10:05 AM. Mr. Terry seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 9:30 A.M.


Respectfully Submitted,


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary