Minutes of the meeting held on November 13, 2013

The Newtown Township Historical Architectural Review Board met on Wednesday morning, November 13, 2013 in the Township meeting room. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Joseph McKiernan, and members, Harriet Beckert, Michael Crane, Peggy Driscoll, William Mahler and Township Code Enforcement Officer Martin Vogt and Building Inspector Kurt Jensen

Call to Order: Mr. McKiernan called the meeting to order at 9:30 AM.

Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Driscoll moved to accept the minutes of October 9, 2013. Mr. Crane seconded and the motion passed 4-0-2, with Mrs. Beckert and Mr. McKiernan abstaining.

Old St. Andrew’s Church, 135 South Sycamore Street

Handicapped Lift

ArchitectJoseph McKiernan represented the applicant. As the architect on this project, Mr. McKiernan recused himself from participation in the recommendation.

Mr. McKiernan explained that St. Andrew’s wishes to install a wheelchair lift at the Old Church at 135 South Sycamore Street to provide wheelchair access to the building. The Old Church is used for weddings and funerals and special services and increasingly is used for senior citizen meetings and activities. The lift will be located at the side door near the bell tower. Lift platform to be constructed of brownstone to match building, with a railing to match existing rails.

Mrs. Beckert asked whether any existing shrubbery would be removed.

Mr. McKiernan said that some bushes would need to be moved to make room for the lift, but would be replanted in front of the walk to soften the appearance from the street.

Mr. Jensen asked whether the threshold and hardware will be ADA compliant.

Mr. McKiernan said that the threshold is ADA compliant. If hardware must be changed to comply with the ADA, it would be selected to match the existing hardware. The existing light post will remain in place.

Mrs. Driscoll moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors authorize a certificate of appropriateness for Old St. Andrew’s Church, 135 South Sycamore Street, to install a handicapped lift on the side door entrance, as presented, subject to the conditions that any replacement of hardware to meet ADA requirements match existing hardware and any landscape features to be removed are relocated to west side of pathway. Mrs. Beckert seconded and the motion passed 5-0-1, with Mr. McKiernan abstaining.

Old Business

Mrs. Beckert reported that she would be incorporating some photographs of acceptable signs into the guideline book which is being prepared. Once a booklet is completed she would like to add the guidelines to the Township Web site to help applicants.

New Business

Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko was in attendance to discuss a possible partnership between the Park and Rec Department and HARB to offer some classes or programs on Newtown’s history and its historic points of interest. She would like to include something in each of the Department’s three brochures, winter, summer and fall. Perhaps a one our lecture series in each season might be a good starting point.

Mrs. Beckert said that she and Mr. Mahler are both members of the Newtown Historic Society, which might be interested in such a partnership. They suggested that Mrs. Pawlenko send them an e-mail with details about what kinds of programs residents might be interested in and they would present it to the Historic Society. They agreed that it might be a beneficial partnership, as so many residents are interested in the history of the town.

Privilege of the Floor

Mr. Mahler asked about repairs being done on the front porch of 213 (?) North Sycamore Street.

Mr. Vogt said that the old railing will not be re-installed. The owner of the building has indicated that the colors will be the same as in the building’s original HARB approval.

Mrs. Driscoll said that she would like the Township to be more vigilant in overseeing Brixmor’s maintenance of the old toll house in front of Wells Fargo Bank at Village at Newtown. She understands that Brixmor intends to make repairs and upgrades once a tenant has been found, but she favors making the necessary improvements first. This could help attract a tenant.

Mr. Mahler said that if the exterior is being maintained to prevent further deterioration, the Township has no leverage.

Mr. Mahler said that he will be speaking to Township Manager Kurt Ferguson to finalize the HARB application and instruction sheet.

Mrs. Beckert moved to adjourn at 10:10 AM. Mr. McKiernan seconded and the motion passed 6-0.


Respectfully Submitted,


Christy Holley-Flaherty, Recording Secretary