PRESENT VIA ZOOM HISTORIC COMMISSION – Chairman McElroy, Historian Giovinazzo, Member Guthrie, Member Thompkins, Member Waldo, Member Smith.
PRESENT VIA ZOOM PLANNING COMMISSION – Chairman McMenamin, Member Farnen, Member Hegele, Member Shay.
PRESENT VIA ZOOM BOROUGH STAFF – Manager Hegele, Assistant Secretary DeRenzis, Secretary Bollendorf, County Planner Mohr, State Representative Guenst.
ABSENT – Planning Commission Vice Chair Kline was absent.
CALL TO ORDER – Chairman McElroy called the February 2, 2021 Historical Commission Meeting to order at 7:04 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Chairman McElroy led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Manager Hegele began the meeting by introducing everyone who was present.
HISTORIC OVERLAY ORDINANCE
County Planner Mohr asked what everyone thought were the most important criteria that needed review from her list and that she would like to start with discussing the incentives first. Member Thompkins asked if they could simplify a lot of them by going back to altering the appearance or structure. Planner Mohr stated that there are some cases where several of them can be combined but there is some importance to have clarity for Borough staff who are going to be reviewing them and questioning what falls under altering the appearance if they for example were just changing the door knob.
Representative Guenst stated that Doylestown has an Historic Overlay Ordinance and asked if we looked at theirs to compare and make things simpler. Planner Mohr stated that yes, herself and the Planning Commission did review others, but that there are some issues with existing ordinances in other townships. She also stated that with this kind of ordinance you have to be careful about other ordinances because the only thing that they regulate is demolition and they do not require any other review at all. She also stated that ours would be somewhere in the middle because there are things that need to be reviewed regarding alterations or uses.
President Bollendorf stated that they are trying not to make it too restrictive for the property owner but are also trying to preserve the Historic building itself as well as the appearance of the structure and that their goal is to try and keep everything in the middle.
President Bollendorf stated that the review process is time sensitive and they should make the process as simple as possible but whatever is decided should be brought to the Solicitor. Historian Giovinazzo stated that there are a lot of words and that can make it scary for the property owner and was there a way it could be more simplified and it is all about keeping the character of the building.
Chairman McElroy stated that a quick chart could be a way to help determine if an alteration is minor or major. President Bollendorf agrees and stated that if it is a minor change, two members of the Historic Commission can review it and decide if it needs a full process review or not. Historian Giovinazzo stated that she wants residents to be on the Borough’s side and champion this and PC Chairman McMenamin stated the benefits outweigh the downfalls to owning a Historic property.
There was as discussion regarding the time for review of a permit which the state gives 30 days and the only concern was that the Historic Commission only meets once a month. Chairman McElroy stated that the Historical Commission can call special meeting to review a permit if need be. President Bollendorf stated that the restraint is the time for permit review. Planner Mohr stated that the Borough has the say on what is considered complete and a Historic work permit can be required if need be. Manager Hegele stated that we need to get in writing exactly what they want the policy to be and that RVE said that they would graciously review the permits.
There was a discussion regarding demolishing due to an economic hardship. HC Member Thompkins stated that he would be ok with taking off the “and in good condition” if it is designated and important.
HC Member Thompkins and Historian Giovinazzo were concerned with the uses and parking requirements in R1 and R2 and Historian Giovinazzo stated that she would like more time to review.
HISTORIC COMMISSION REORGANIZATION AND BUSINESS
Member Tompkins asked Manager Hegele to please send invite to HC for the next PC Meeting
Member Tompkins asked for the status of the 501c.3 for Cressbrook. Manager Hegele stated still working with Solicitor, anticipating going to Council February or March meeting.
Manager Hegele stated Council pursuing Keystone PA Museum Grant and would like support from HC for application. Doing one application of nomination of Cressbrook and one for Bell Tower renovations. Chairman McElroy asked if the construction grant allowed for 2 applications and if the Borough could submit anything for Cressbrook. Manager Hegele stated she would check.
Member Tompkins asked if Council when adopting the overlay ordinance could set the property list requirements done via resolution making it easier to change in addition to a cost savings. Manager Hegele stated the use of resolution has been discussed and she is hoping that the ordinance could be authored in that manner.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS:
The floor was opened for elections of officers for 2021.
Member Waldo nominated Bill Tompkins for Chair. Member Tompkins nominated Chuck McElroy for Chair. Nominations were closed and Chuck McElroy was voted in as Chairman.
Member Giovinazzo nominated Bill Tompkins for Vice Chair. Nominations were closed and Bill Tompkins was voted in as Vice Chair.
Member Waldo nominated Suella Guthrie as Secretary. Nominations were closed and Suella Guthrie was voted in as Secretary.
2021 MEETING DATES:
The committee authorized the meetings for the 1st Tuesday of each month except in November, when they approved the meeting to be on the 1st Wednesday. Manager Hegele stated Council is still only authorizing the advertising of meetings every 3 months due to the pandemic. Advertising is very costly and doing in this manner saves the Borough some money.
The Commission welcomed their new member Tom Smith.
Borough Manager Hegele announced that Council is still looking for volunteers on the Parking Commission, Shade Tree and also a new committee to work on a re-write of the Borough Zoning Ordinances. Member Tompkins, Historian Giovinazzo and Member Tom Smith all indicated they would be willing to serve on new zoning committee. Manager Hegele stated she would share that info with Council and asked if anyone knew anyone that wanted to get involved to please have them contact her.
ADJOURNMENT – Chairman McElroy adjourned the February meeting at 8:41 PM.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Diane C. Hegele/Borough Manager
Transcribed by Cindy Bollendorf