In 1961 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved The Historic District Act to provide municipalities with a tool to protect “…those historical areas within our great Commonwealth, which have a distinctive character recalling the rich architectural and historic heritage of Pennsylvania.” The Act authorized the establishment of local Historic Districts and Historical Architectural Review Boards.
Historic Districts within the Borough and the New Hope Borough Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) were established in 1987 by Ordinance 183‐A1. This ordinance demonstrated the commitment of the citizens of New Hope to preserve and protect buildings of architectural and historic significance and the cultural heritage of the community.
The New Hope Borough Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) consists of nine (9) members appointed by Borough Council to serve three‐year overlapping terms. HARB provides counsel and recommendations to Borough Council on the advisability of issuing Certificates of Appropriateness, which are required in order to erect, reconstruct, alter, restore, demolish or raze any building or structure within a Historic District.
Certificate of Appropriateness
In considering whether or not to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness, HARB and Council consider the general design, mass, arrangement, texture, material, and color of the building or structures and the relation of such factors to similar features of buildings and structures in the Historic District. The issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness demonstrates that the property owner, HARB and Council have agreed that a proposed change to the exterior of a building will be consistent with, and preserve the general historic and architectural features of the Historic District.
The jurisdiction of HARB and Council is limited to exterior architectural features of buildings and structures (including fences, signs, retaining walls, etc.) that can be seen from a public street or way. Modifications to the interior of a structure are exempt from HARB requirements, although construction permits may be required before such work can proceed.