Published On: Mon, Aug 18th, 2014

Borough Council meeting preview: Playhouse hopes to light up riverside with colored LEDs; Council proposal would make joining committees harder, removing members easier

Bucks County Playhouse officials want to illuminate this illegal river-facing signage

Despite lacking required permits, Bucks County Playhouse officials want to illuminate this unapproved river-facing signage

There are are several important discussions and votes taking place at Tuesday night’s Borough Council meeting, but two proposals in particular are catching local political observers’ attention.

The first would allow the Bucks County Playhouse to illuminate its riverside building, along with the Ingham Creek, waterfall, and surrounding shorelines, with multicolored LED lighting visible from the Delaware River.

The second proposal, crafted by Borough Manager John Burke, pertains to the “recruitment, selection, retention and removal of members of advisory boards,” and would, according to statements at council meetings by Council Member Geri Delevich and former Council Member Ed Duffy, raise the bar for potential new volunteers to committees like HARB, Zoning Hearing Board and others that are already hard-pressed for volunteers.

The proposal also appears to further consolidate political power into the office of council president, who would be able to “appoint an Ad Hoc Appointments Committee” that could wield broad authority over board membership. Additionally, the move would impose a two-year term limit on members, and grant borough council the ability to remove any committee member at will for one unexplained meeting absence.

The other major piece of business at Tuesday night’s meeting involves a Bucks County Playhouse request to illuminate their building, grounds, front tree, rear riverfront deck, the Aquetong Creek and its banks, and other waterfront areas with various colored LED lights, including an unapproved sign facing the Delaware River.

Although Playhouse officials did not obtain necessary permits for the signage painted on the building’s north side, no citation has been issued for the violation as of date. In fact, Playhouse officials are seeking to light up the unauthorized sign, setting a precedent for the introduction of illuminated advertising along the Delaware. The proposal also appears to violate the spirit of a 2004 Zoning Hearing Board decision denying similar lit advertising on the Delaware to the owners of the former Club Zadar, and seeking to keep views of the Delaware River pristine and bucolic. Playhouse officials did not comment.

Borough Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the New Hope Community Meeting Room, 125 New Street. The tentative agenda is available online here.

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