Minutes of the meeting held on February 12, 2014

The Newtown Township Historical Architectural Review Board met on Wednesday morning, February 12, 2014 in the Township meeting room. In attendance and voting were: Joseph McKiernan, Peggy Driscoll, William Mahler and Township Building Inspector Kurt Jensen. Also in attendance were Martin Vogt, Code Enforcement Officer and Patty Powers, Administrative Assistant.

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 9:30 AM.

Reorganization of Board
Mrs. Driscoll nominated William Mahler to serve as chairman. Mr. McKernan seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Mahler nominated Mr. McKernan to serve as vice chairman. Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Approval of Minutes: Mr. McKernan moved to accept the minutes of November 13, 2013.  Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

College Nannies and Tutors, 277 North Sycamore Street
Signage and lighting
Corey A. Reef of College Nannies and Tutors was in attendance to seek approval for an 8 square foot sign at 277 North Sycamore Street. He submitted colors, design and gooseneck lighting for the proposed sign.
Mr. Mahler explained that because the sign will be in a historic district, the colors of the sign must conform to an approved, historically accurate color palette and lighting must be of an approved historic design.
Mrs. Driscoll asked whether the colors submitted have been provided by the parent company and required of all franchisees.
Mr. Reef said that he got the color chips from the parent company. They appear on all company marketing and sales materials as well as in the interior décor of the office. He provided color chips sent to him by the parent company to be used on the signage.
Mr. Mahler said that he did not believe the bright purple color is historic, although there may be other purples on historic color palettes which might be acceptable to the parent company and might be close to the color submitted. HARB does not want to limit business but does want to maintain historic accuracy.
Mrs. Driscoll asked whether the franchise is aware that this is branch is in a historic district. She noted that many other chains cooperate with restrictions in historic districts and have shown flexibility. She noted that Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds have modified their branding requirements when located in historic areas throughout the country.
Mr. Reef said that he is uneasy with changing the corporate branding. He would need to speak to the parent organization to get permission to make a change.
Mr. Jensen suggested that Mr. Reef visit paint stores with his paint chips and see whether manufacturers are offering some similar colors in their historic color palettes. He can then have something to show the corporate headquarters for comparison.
Mr. Mahler said that the application will be sent to the Board of Supervisors for consideration at its February 26 meeting. HARB is an advisory board, and will have no objection to the lights or the green color on the sign, but will be recommending that the Board not approve this particular purple color, called “impulsive purple.” Mr. Reef can come to the Board meeting with corporate approval for a historic color or he can present his case to the Supervisors for approval of the original color without HARB approval. He will be at the meeting; Mr. Reef can show him any alternative color at that time.
The Board was in agreement that the “gecko green” plus sign on the sign is small and not very visible and they have no objections. The proposed gooseneck lights also fit within the HARB guidelines.
Mr. Reef asked whether he should bring the colors to the Township on the night of the Supervisors meeting.
Mr. Mahler said that if his corporate headquarters approved an alternative color, Mr. Reef could scan it and send it electronically to Mrs. Powers or bring the color chip to the office if there is time.
Mrs. Powers said that she can scan colors and send them electronically to the Board, but the colors are not always accurate when scanned. He should plan to bring the alternative paint chips with him to the Supervisors meeting.
Mrs. Driscoll said that many of the big box stores carry historic colors as do Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore and Newtown Hardware. He should be able to find a color that will be historically accurate and also acceptable to the parent company.
Mr. McKernan moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors authorize a certificate of appropriateness for College Nannies and Tutors at 277 North Sycamore Street for an 8 square foot sign with three gooseneck lights with the recommendation that the “impulsive purple” color, which is not historically appropriate be replaced by an alternative historically accurate color. Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Planning Commission Report
Mrs. Driscoll reported that at its most recent meeting the Planning Commission reviewed a concept plan for the two properties at 1 and 5 North Sycamore Street. Meglio’s Restaurant is planning to purchase the properties, combine them into one lot and build an addition onto #1 for a restaurant and a small retail space. The two existing apartment houses will be renovated and continue as residential uses. Attorney Ed Murphy and Engineer Scott Mills have consulted with Jeffrey Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy, who has confirmed that the existing buildings do have historic significance. Meglio’s intends  to preserve the two buildings and build the new addition to reflect the historic district and will work closely with HARB to comply with HARB requirements.

New Business
Mr. Mahler reported that he had been copied on a letter from the Joint Historic Commission to the Board of Supervisors about demolition by neglect. This has been an ongoing concern of the Joint Historic Commission and it is eager to see the Township draft and enforce ordinances to prevent this demolition. He forwarded the letter to the members. He noted that although the Borough does address demolition in its ordinances, there is no enforcement in the ordinances.

Old Business
Mrs. Powers said that the HARB application has not been changed nor have the instructions been simplified.
Mr. Mahler agreed to speak to the Township Manager about this.

Mr. Jensen moved to adjourn at 10:30 AM. Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 4-0.


Respectfully Submitted,


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary