Published On: Wed, Aug 20th, 2014

Pending study, New Hope Borough Council tables Bucks County Playhouse request to light up riverside views with colored LEDs

New Hope Free Press Bucks County Playhouse

In a first for the  New Hope and Lambertville waterfront, Bucks County Playhouse wants to illuminate this unauthorized sign on the building’s river-facing side

New Hope Borough Council on Tuesday night tabled a Bucks County Playhouse proposal to illuminate its riverside building, along with the Ingham Creek, waterfall, surrounding shorelines, and an unauthorized river-facing sign, with multicolored LED lighting visible from the Delaware River.

Council requested that a technical study be undertaken prior to approval due to concerns about possible late-night light glare expressed by two homeowners from E. Mechanic St.

Perhaps of longer-term concern is Playhouse owners’ desire to train LED lights on a sign painted without Borough permission on the building’s north side, setting a precedent for the introduction of illuminated advertising along the Delaware River. No citation has been issued for the violation, say Borough officials.

The sign appears to also 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. One local environmentalist who spoke on background observed that the Delaware River is wild and scenic all the way down to Trenton, calling the concept of installing LEDs on the river “outrageous.”

Another, unrelated proposal up for consideration at the April 19 meeting was crafted by Borough Manager John Burke, and pertained to the “recruitment, selection, retention and removal of members of advisory boards.” That proposal, according to statements at council meetings by Council Member Geri Delevich and former Council Member Ed Duffy, raised the bar for potential new volunteers to committees like HARB, Zoning Hearing Board and others that are already hard-pressed for volunteers.

Burke and Council Member Bill Scandone amended the bill in an attempt to address the concerns of Council Member Gialias, who wanted new member approval policy to focus on a more volunteer-friendly approach. Others present expressed concern that a given council president not be granted leeway to abuse their proposed control over a powerful new “ad hoc committee,” along with tighter term limits, and potential committee member dismissal for a single meeting absence, for political purposes. Burke and Council President Shaw assured those in attendance that membership on the ad hoc committee would rotate frequently to include all members of Borough Council in decisions on potential new committee members.

In the end, the proposal was passed, with Council Member Gialias casting the sole dissenting vote.

For details on the rest of Tuesday’s night’s action, check the borough’s meeting minutes page in a few weeks.

 

 

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