Lambertville-based Architect Michael Burns appeared before the New Hope Borough Council on April 16 with his bid to obtain a certificate of appropriateness for 22 South Main, the site of Moo Hope Ice Cream.
A modest building that was a general store in 1860 and later the Village Snack Shop, the site is perhaps best remembered as Gerenser’s Ice Cream Shop until 2014 when Moo Hope Ice Cream took over.
The structure was essentially described as a patchwork of additions and reconfigurations, leaving very little of the original façade. The upper level is a vacant apartment.
Burns’ proposal would maintain the ice cream shop on ground floor but reconfigure the store front and apartment on second level. He maintained that the general configuration of the original building with a reconfigured store front would align more aesthetically with neighboring store fronts.
“We’re really not talking about a restoration. We’re talking about rebuilding,” Burns said, arguing that years of neglect left little choice for the remaining parts of the original building.
Council member Ken Maisel commented after a lengthy presentation that the discussion Burns just shared with the council was “far more exhaustive that what you presented to HARB,” referencing the historic architectural review board.
“They were deserving of this presentation, not the one they got,” Maisel said, referring to the detailed presentation by Burns.
Burns stated that he disagreed with HARB on several points, while maintaining he did “make some effort to let them understand that we’re talking about basically rebuilding the building.”
Among the disagreements were that HARB recommended cedar clapboard siding, wood windows, wood storefront and cedar wood trim, while Burns thought aluminum would be more appropriate in terms of maintenance and consistency with neighboring storefronts.
Council member Dan Dougherty pointed out that HARB recommended denial for a certificate of appropriateness based upon the presentation to them.
After deliberating, the certificate of appropriateness was propelled with a 5-1 vote by borough council.