Published On: Thu, Apr 14th, 2016

Overhaul plan for Moo Hope Ice Cream building turned down by New Hope historic review board

Rendering of proposed Moo Hope redesign from Oct. 2015.

Rendering of proposed Moo Hope building redesign from Oct. 2015.

The application by the owners of Moo Hope Ice Cream to refurbish their structure at 22. S. Main St. was unanimously denied by New Hope’s Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) at a meeting April 5, according to individuals who attended.

Owners Marlene and Larry Panzica were not immediately available for comment, but have previously indicated that renovating the building is a top priority. The structure previously housed the well-known Gerenser’s Exotic Ice Cream, and requires significant structural work.

The plan under consideration would have involved a top-to-bottom overhaul of the building, including the first floor ice cream retail area, and expansion of the second-floor residential space to a third floor, which would encompass multiple bedrooms and a veranda.

According to one source, “The renovation plan does not meet several federal standards, and the applicants and their architect are steadfastly unwilling to make any changes to their design.”

That individual and another source quoted a HARB member as saying after the decision, “Sometimes people believe that as a board, when HARB does not approve a design, the vote reflects our attitude toward development of and improvements in our business district. HARB is grateful that people take on buildings like the old Gerenser’s. These buildings are eyesores, and maybe even dangerous,” they reportedly said.

“The new owners have come to us several times,” the HARB member continued. “Each time we have explained the guidelines, the reason for the guidelines and their history. The applicants have had many months to make changes and reconsider their design, but have chosen not to do so. We appreciate and admire the efforts of people like the applicants when they take on these challenging structures. However, HARB’s support of upgrading New Hope’s business district is unrelated to our decision as to whether a design is architecturally appropriate for our town and meets the stated guidelines. We hope that everyone can separate these issues.”

The decision will be appealed at the April 19 borough council meeting, sources close to the situation say.

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  1.' Enon O'moss says:

    We walked past the ice cream place today. It really looks like a dump. That said, the historical society is not going to give you money if you do not restore the property back to its original historical state. That is just common sense. Nevertheless, you don’t need the permission of the historical society to slap on a coat of paint, clean the awnings and groom the property. The place looks like a dump. They simply do not show any pride in owning a business in Bucks county.

  2. I seem to recall when this rendering was first presented, some thought it looked like it was appropriate for The Jersey Shore. I sure can’t disagree with that.

  3.' JaneAdele says:

    What exactly is HARB’s objection to the design? What “guidelines” is the design not meeting?

    Is the design possibly due to current zoning restrictions in that district?

  4.' JoeSchmoe says:

    Downtown New Hope is slowly decaying and HARB stands in the way of any type of progress. They should be ashamed of themselves. Very sad.

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