PRESENT VIA ZOOM – Chairman McMenamin, Vice Chair Kline, Member Farnen, Member Hegele, Member Shay, Manager Hegele, Assistant Secretary DeRenzis, Secretary Bollendorf, and County Planner Mohr were present.
CALL TO ORDER – Chairman McMenamin called the March 9, 2021 Planning Commission Meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Chairman McMenamin led the Pledge of Allegiance.
NEW BUSINESS –
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES (1/12/21 PC Meeting) – Members Hegele and Shay abstained as they were not present for the meeting. Vice Chair Kline made a motion to approve the minutes from the January 12, 2021 Planning Commission Meeting. Motion was seconded by Member Farnen, all ayes. Motion carried 3-0 with 2 abstentions.
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES – (2/2/21 Joint PC and HC Meeting) – Vice Chair Kline made a motion to approve the minutes from the February 2, 2021 Joint Historic Commission and Planning Commission Meeting. Motion was seconded by Member Farnen, all ayes. Motion carried 5-0.
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES (2/9/21 PC Meeting) – Vice Chair Kline made a motion to approve the minutes from the February 9, 2021 Planning Commission Meeting. Motion was seconded by Member Farnen, all ayes. Motion carried 5-0.
HISTORIC OVERLAY ORDINANCE – County Planner Mohr stated that she sent out a revised draft ordinance and that the revisions are what was discussed at the last meeting.
Marjorie Haigler, 560 N. York Road, stated that she does not live in Hatboro but her parents and sister live in the house and they are concerned about the extra effort it will cost for current owners not interested in changing the use. Chairman McMenamin stated that most of the Ordinance is if you change something on the building. Planner Mohr stated that the primary goal is to prevent demolition and it allows additional uses to encourage preservation.
County Planner Mohr stated that as far as alterations, the HC and zoning officer should consider exterior alterations which can be seen from a public way and she asked Manager Hegele if it should be a job for the Code Enforcement Officer or her and Manager Hegele stated it should be Code Enforcement. County Planner Mohr also stated that Historic Preservation is a legitimate ends for zoning but does not give any guidelines for what you can and cannot do and a lot of the authorization that is being considered comes from a different state law which called the Historic District Act which spells out things you specifically can do to regulate a Historic property in PA and that is where the public way comes from. Member Kline stated that a definition of public way should be included, and Planner Mohr stated that it would be her professional recommendation to include public way and that she already has one included in the draft.
Member Smith asked if color would be included as and County Planner Mohr stated that people tend to get angry about the government having opinions about the color of anything. HC Member Smith brough up the building on 611 in Warrington as an example as it ruined the esthetics of a traditional old building that is now gone altogether. Chairman McMenamin suggested adding a neutral color palate to the design guidelines and Planner Mohr stated that color can be in there and they can deny an application for color. Planner Mohr stated that if the Borough puts color in the ordinance or not, the Borough can include a color palate in the design guidelines and if you do not have color in the guidelines then anyone can use any color they want. Manager Hegele stated that her recommendation would be to have a color palate because so that the same thing doesn’t happen what happened in Warrington which was a dispute with the municipality for enacting ordinances. All members agreed it should be a requirement and not just a recommendation. Councilwoman Reichner stated that she thinks it should be in the guidelines and not a requirement in the ordinance because it would cause more problems if it is a requirement. Chairman McMenamin suggested it is something they can adopt it later if it becomes an issue. All members agreed to leave color out as a requirement for now and put a color palate as a recommendation in the design guidelines.
County Planner Mohr stated that she has a list of work requirements from the Historical Commission and that her understanding from talking to Council is they think that the list is too long and that for required review, it should not include so many items and she agrees with that recommendation. Chairman McMenamin suggested they pick the items that they feel are most important to include. County Planner Mohr stated that the Historical Committee was designated the task and she has not received anything back yet from them. Historic Commission Member Smith stated that the HC was under the impression they were to receive a list form the Planning Commission or Borough Hall and he apologized if this was the list they were supposed to review as the Historic Commission was aware of this list. He also stated that from the joint meeting that the Historic and Planning Commission’s had in February, they were going to make a list stating what was high priority and what was low priority and believes there was a miscommunication and that they did not do this yet but it will be addressed at their April meeting. Chairman McMenamin stated he agreed there was a miscommunication and asked the Historical Commission to review the list at their next meeting and give the Planning Commission their recommendations as this is their expertise. Manager Hegele asked HC Member Smith what he needed as everything was already provided to the HC to accomplish this task. She also stated that she realizes Member Smith is not the Chairman, but she wants to make sure that someone has this information so that this can get done. County Planner Mohr stated that the list was given to the Historical Commission prior to the joint meeting in February and when she did not hear back from them, she attempted to prioritize the list herself. HC Member Smith stated that he is not sure why it wasn’t taken care of but now that he is aware of it, he will make sure this is completed at the next Historical Commission meeting in April. Manager Hegele stated that she will follow up tomorrow with the Historical Commission.
OLD BUSINESS – There was no old business.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR – There was no public comment.
ADJOURNMENT – Member Hegele made a motion to adjourn the March 9, 2021 Planning Commission Meeting. Motion was seconded by Vice Chair Kline, all ayes. Motion carried 5-0. Chairman McMenamin adjourned the March 9, 2021 Planning Commission Meeting at 8:46 P.M.
Respectfully submitted by:
Diane C. Hegele CBO
Borough Manager/Open Records Officer
Transcribed by Cynthia Bollendorf