New Hope Borough Council plans to appoint new members to its Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) at its Dec. 17 meeting so that the group can begin functioning again.
HARB hasn’t met in recent months because membership has dropped below the number needed to hold an official gathering.
“The Borough’s HARB is still in place, it just does not have enough members at this time to make a quorum for a public meeting,” confirmed a borough spokesperson. “Council has been working diligently to recruit and appoint members to the HARB who are knowledgeable about historic preservation and who care about our community to ensure that the Borough’s Historic District is properly maintained.”
Historic Districts and HARB were established in 1987 in New Hope to preserve and protect buildings of architectural and historic significance and the cultural heritage of the community.
HARB consists of nine members appointed by council to serve three‐year overlapping terms. HARB advises council on whether to issue Certificates of Appropriateness, which are needed to build, renovate, or demolish or raze any structure within the Historic District. HARB considers the general design, arrangement, texture, material, and color of buildings it reviews in relation to other structures in the Historic District in order to maintain preserve its general historic and architectural appearance.
So, with HARB currently out of commission, who’s minding the store?
“Borough Council, under the advisement of the PA Historic Museum Commission, has been reviewing the HARB applications at workshop sessions with the assistance of a professional historic preservationist, so that applications are thoroughly reviewed at public meetings using the Borough Codebook and HARB Design Guidelines prior to formal approval for a Certificate of Appropriateness at a public meeting,” said the borough spokesperson.
“Borough Council is expected to appoint new members to the HARB at the December meeting so that the HARB can be an active working group again starting January,” they added.