In a split decision Tuesday night, New Hope Borough Council voted 5-2 to disregard its president and Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB), and intervene in a legal appeal by Bucks County Playhouse to allow the continued use of a large, unauthorized sign on their river-facing north facade. The sign will be lit at night with colored LED lights.
Although Council President Claire Shaw, members of the ZHB, and virtually everyone who rose to take the mic Tuesday night decried the dangerous precedent of allowing the first signage facing the Delaware River, council members Geri Delevich, Ray Velasco, Cliff Montgomery, Nick Gialias, and Connie Gering voted to grant Bucks County Playhouse a special exception, although no hardship had been demonstrated. “It’s nice,” said Gering of the Playhouse.
Members of the ZHB, who have steadfastly avoided commenting to the press or speaking at borough council meetings over the years, made impassioned pleas for uniformity in the application of zoning law Tuesday night. None was more moving than the gutsy speech delivered by the typically reticent ZHB Chairperson Sandy Santello.
Real estate agent and Borough Council candidate Alison Kingsley said she had already heard of three other Main Street businesses that said they would request riverside signage, now that the precedent has been set by the Playhouse.
Several members of the audience noted that more time was spent by council on debating the merits of a proposal to limit the cultivation of bamboo plants in the borough than on the settlement it imposed on ZHB Tuesday night.
The signage approval goes w the building. Not the name currently used but any use of the bldg. it’s an issue of long standing. Why have a zoning hearing board if the council can stupidly over ride?
Why not use your concerns with issues more important….