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New Hope Council digs in heels on zoning issues


Attorney Jim Esposito represented the Logan Inn on West Ferry Street regarding an amended application extending construction of an addition from April 15 to October 1.

He stated at the April 16 New Hope Borough Council meeting that it was discussed with the borough zoning officer and also cited an agreement between his client and neighboring Marsha Brown’s Restaurant, whom he said consented to the extension.

The extension pertains to a major expansion currently under way that will add 38 rooms to the 16-room inn. The property is owned by Frank Cretella, president of Landmark Developers LLC, who is currently also discussing expansion of the neighboring Mansion Inn.

Councilman Dan Dougherty expressed his discomfort with the extension request, preferring that extensions be granted as needed rather than a blanket approval through such a long period.

Councilman Ken Maisel questioned why the sentiments of other neighboring businesses were not mentioned as Esposito seemed to be “citing Marsha Brown as the only one that has any skin in the game.”

“It doesn’t hang together for me. It doesn’t come close to hanging together,” exclaimed Dougherty, saying that Esposito was asking for an extra 75 days from the originally pursued extension of June 30.

The initial request for extension was set pending consent from Marsha Brown.

“Is Marsha Brown the deliberative body here – that whatever she wants we should initial that?” responded Dougherty. He added that the document before council was for June 30, and he would be inclined to forward the issue to the zoning hearing board with a positive recommendation.

A motion to forward the issue with no position for the June 30 date, passed, essentially comprising a neutral stance by the borough council. Solicitor T.J. Walsh stated that any extension would be at the discretion of the zoning officer.

In other business, an ordinance to authorize the solicitor to advertise a public hearing for discussions between Solebury Township and the borough for joint use of playing fields. The original agreement made in 2006 involved an annual contribution by the borough of $1,500. That contract ended in 2017 and a new proposed agreement by the borough agrees to contribute $5,000 per year.

The motion, which passed unanimously, sets the hearing for May 22.

A certificate of appropriateness for a new sign at 50 South Main St. was approved without dissent.

Another CoA for 182 South Main St., however, met with some discussion over the congruity of a new building with the village in terms of aesthetics.

The demolition and reconstruction across from the recently relocated Odette’s met with arguments by Dougherty and fellow council member Peter Meyer. Meyer stated that nothing enabled anyone, including the historic architectural review board, for establishing aesthetics. He went on to suggest that HARB had inadequate information in the decision it rendered.

Dougherty concurred, stating that nothing delineated height, setback, or other visual components. He stated he was okay with the demolition but without knowing any information on the structure, he could not agree on the replacement.

“This is ridiculous!” Meyer exclaimed, adding, “How are we supposed to say that we think that HARB has done its job appropriately?”

Borough Council President Connie Gering added that the structure did not fit the character of the surrounding village. Maisel, however, stated that it would meet all zoning requirements. After some further discussion, however, he added his voice to the generally expressed sentiment that plans should be delineated.

A motion to table the issue for further discussion passed over the objections of council members Alison Kingsley and Laurie McHugh.