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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Historical Architectural Review Board

July 16, 2010

The Lansdowne Borough Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) held a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 7:00 PM at Borough Hall, 12 E. Baltimore Ave., Lansdowne, PA.

Members Present

  • Jeffrey M. Laufer AIA, Chairman
  • Gloria Carpenter, Vice-Chair
  • Margaret Albee Vance, Acting-Secretary
  • John Gould, Borough Liaison
  • William Patterson

Others present representing Lansdowne Borough

  • Mike Jozwiak, Zoning Officer

Call to Order

  • Mr. Laufer called the meeting to order at 7:12 PM. All deliberations were made in consideration of the Lansdowne Borough HARB Guidelines and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation (Standards). The applications provided by the HARB Borough Liaison provided the basis for discussion.

Approval of Minutes

There were no minutes of previous meetings to approve.

Item No. 1: 24 N. Lansdowne Ave. – Proposed Sign

The application requests recommendation of approval for an exterior wall sign for Agustina’s Dominican Style Salon & Spa.

Presenting is the applicant/owner’s tenant, Agustina Gomez, assisted by Rachel Van Tosh, of the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation.

The proposed sign is to be mounted above the entry door of the premises centered in the facade’s designated sign panel. The proposed sign has been previously reviewed by the Zoning Officer and meets the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.

The proposed sign material is a type of canvas or umbrella fabric, which would be stretched over metal framing and in turn would attached to the building with screws. The board, expressing concern that the fabric material would, in time fade, sag and possibly mildew, considered the fabric to be not an appropriate material for the proposed sign and suggested a solid, painted, board sign. The Board also suggested that the edge of the sign be outlined in the same red color used for lettering in order to make it more outstanding.

Ms. Carpenter made a motion to conditionally recommend approval of the sign size, shape, design and coloring as proposed, but with a different material, and to deny the fabric material; seconded by Mr. Patterson. The members of the HARB (“the Board”) voted unanimously to recommend approval of the application with conditions.

The applicant is encouraged to follow up with a revision that meets the Boards recommendation before the next Borough Council meeting.

Item No. 2: 2-12 N. Lansdowne Ave. – Revisions to Approved Facade Alterations

Prior to review, Mr. Laufer recused himself due to conflict of interest and handed the chair to Gloria Carpenter.

The applicant requests a recommendation of approval for revisions to facade improvement storefront design. The Board had recommended and Borough Council approved a previous application for facade improvements which included the storefront designs.

Presenting is the applicant/owner of the property, Ms. Nadia Botros.

The proposed revisions include substituting four sections of solid framed exterior wall located at the corner of the building with glazed storefront framing extending the adjacent storefront framing system. The Board considered the proposed revisions to be an appropriate and acceptable improvement to the facade design. Mr. Patterson made a motion to accept the new proposal, seconded by Ms. Vance. The Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the application.

Following the vote, Ms. Carpenter handed the chair back to Mr. Laufer.

Item No. 3: 24-48 W. Baltimore Ave. – Facade Alterations and Miscellaneous Site Amenities

The application requests recommendation of approval for major facade alterations and miscellaneous site amenities as part of a redevelopment of the property known as the Lansdowne Shopping Center.


The redevelopment project includes converting the larger of two retail shopping buildings for use as a grocery store, and facade alterations on the smaller building. Additionally, the existing parking lot will be modified and new lighting poles and monument signage installed. As stated by the applicant, the proposed project seeks to bring a grocery store to Lansdowne.

The applicant’s project has been reviewed and influenced through guidance from the Economic Development Committee of Lansdowne Borough Council. The EDC’s contributions have helped to establish the overall appearance which seeks to create a small scale streetscape feel to the major facades of the buildings.

The applicant has received a variance from The Lansdowne Zoning Hearing Board for a single tenant area in excess of 10,000SF, which shall be occupied by Bottom Dollar Foods grocery store and will fill the larger of the two retail buildings. One of the conditions of the variance order is that the completed project be consistent with architectural facade renderings presented to the ZHB.

The applicant has had a preliminary plan review with the Lansdowne Planning Commission where site development issues related to parking, sidewalks, landscaping and site lighting have been addressed.

Presenting for the applicant (RBS Development, LLC):

Mr. Clint B. Allen, Archer and Greiner, P.C., Attorneys at Law

Mr. Brandon Graham, RBS Development, LLC

Mr. Jack Zorn, R.A., McKay & Zorn and Associates

Mr. Matthew Kensil, P.E., Pennoni Associates

Mr. Joseph Riggs, Lansdowne Center Partners, LLC

The applicant distributed the following exhibits to supplement the application.

A-1 Large Building Front Architectural Elevation

A-2 Small Building Front Architectural Elevation

A-3 Front Wall Sections A-A, B-B

A-4 Front Wall Sections C-C, D-D

A-5 Front Wall Section E-E

A-6 Grocery Store Floor Plan

A-7 Materials, Lighting and Facade Signage Handout

A-8 Site Location Map

A-9 Gooseneck Sidewalk Lighting

A-10 Parking Lot Lighting

A-11 Wall Light

A-12 Existing Building Front Elevations Photographs

The applicant presented the following exhibits without distributing copies to the Board.

A-13 Pylon Sign Photograph and Proposed Monument Sign (deferred to Planning Commission for comment)

A-14 Office Building and Bank Building Elevation Photograph

A-15 Proposed Site Plan Rendering

A-16 Existing Conditions Plan

A-17 Existing versus Proposed Large Building Elevations

A-18 Existing versus Proposed Small Building Elevations and Signage Elevations

A-19 Color Rendering – Both Buildings (material reference for ZHB conditions)

A-20 Color Rendering – Smaller Building (material reference for ZHB conditions)

Mr. Allen made a brief presentation of the overall project, followed by Mr. Zorn’s presentation on the architectural aspects of the proposed building alterations. The Board’s comments on each exhibit and other categories followed Mr. Zorn’s presentation.


The Board noted that the shopping center name on the facade does not match the name on the monument sign. Mr. Riggs confirmed that the name of the center shall be “Lansdowne Market” as shown on the monument sign and not “Lansdowne’s Market” as indicated by proposed signage on the elevation drawings. The applicant agreed to change the signage on the building to match the name on the monument sign.

  1. The Board noted that the shopping center name on the facade does not match the name on the monument sign. Mr. Riggs confirmed that the name of the center shall be “Lansdowne Market” as shown on the monument sign and not “Lansdowne’s Market” as indicated by proposed signage on the elevation drawings. The applicant agreed to change the signage on the building to match the name on the monument sign.
  2. The Board suggested a special brick bond pattern be used in several areas to dress up the large expanses of brick wall. They shall include: a) the areas of brick wall on each side of the central faux entry storefront, matching the height defined by the storefront framing and width defined as between the brick pilasters; and b) the section of brick wall under the entry soffit at the entrance to the grocery store. The defined brick areas shall have a “diaper pattern” or similar bond utilizing the two proposed brick colors. The applicant agreed to add the brick patterning to the three areas of wall.
  3. The Board suggested adding pedestrian scaled lighting fixtures on the larger brick pilasters, including two on the free standing column and one on the pilaster directly behind the column for a total of seven fixtures. The applicant agreed to add wall sconces where suggested similar in style to the fixture shown in Exhibit A-11 but scaled larger for the pilasters and column. The applicant shall submit a spec sheet for the sconce.
  4. The Board requested that wall mounted lighting fixtures (not shown on the drawings) which might be located on the west wall above the loading dock area should be fully shielded type such that spill light not reach the adjacent apartment building property. The applicant agreed to make any such lighting shielded type.
  5. The Board requested that cornice brackets, as shown in all cornices of the buildings but not shown in the tallest section of building above the grocery store entrance and vestibule, be added to this section as well to provide consistency across the facade. The applicant agreed to alter the facade design to include cornice brackets in this section.


  1. The Board suggested that the twin awnings on the two center sections of the smaller retail building be single continuous awnings and all awnings be no wider than the total width of the two entry doors, the intervening brick pilaster and one flanking windows on each side. The applicant agreed to the awning revision. Mr. Riggs noted that the project on the smaller building was limited to the brick facade and awnings.
  2. The Board requested that wall sconces be added to the three taller pilasters of this building, matching those to be used on the larger building. The applicant agreed to add the sconces.
  3. The Board requested that the mounting locations of all signage lighting on the smaller building be lowered to the center of the panels in the cornice band. The applicant agreed to the height modification.
  4. The Board noted the Lansdowne Ave. facade of the smaller building as depicted on the latest exhibit has changed significantly from the design shown on the renderings which are conditional to the ZHB order. It lacks the street frontage prominence that was part of the rendered design. The Board requested that the design revert back to something consistent with the rendering. The applicant agreed to include brick on the facade with string courses and recesses consistent with the north facade, and to add a pilaster on the south end to balance the facade design.
  5. The applicant noted that the signage indicated on the Lansdowne Ave. facade would be changed from what is indicated, removing the “Lansdowne’s Market” sign and providing a matching sign to that which is on the adjacent side of this tenant space.
  6. Mr. Laufer suggested adding pediment elements above two store fronts for added height emphasis but the other members of the Board disagreed, citing inconsistency with the architectural theme. The applicant suggested that that idea might be useful on the Lansdowne Ave. facade to create greater prominence on the street front. The Board agreed that an architectural element above the cornice line on the street front would be acceptable if included in the design.

A-3, A-4, A-5:

  1. The Board noted that brick string courses are inconsistent in that some are shown flush and some projecting from the brick field. The applicant admitted these were drafting errors and stated that all string courses will be projecting from the field.
  2. The Board noted that the floor slab at the faux entries is not complete up to the door threshold. The applicant agreed to make an adjustment as necessary.


  1. The Board noted, as there is no elevation showing the entrance doors to the grocery store, and the plan shows the pilaster adjacent to the entry door as being narrower than the free standing column, there may be a conflict with Detail D-D and the glazed entrance/ transom above. The Board asked the applicant to include an elevation drawing of the entrance and to review the wall section detail for problems. The applicant agreed to include the entry elevation on the final drawings.


  1. The Board voiced the concern of Borough Council that the brick color needs to be redder than what was shown on the renderings. The applicant’s Exhibit A-7 shows a redder brick palette which the Board accepted as satisfying Borough Council’s comment. The Board noted the exhibit shows a range of color within each of the samples depicted and expressed a concern that the range not be too broad but needn’t be monotone either. The applicant agreed to use a color range that is neither too broad nor monotone.
  2. The Board accepted the proposed building mounted lighting fixtures as shown in the exhibit, consisting of an angled reflector and a projecting arm with a “hair-pin” shape. The applicant did not indicate a size or lamp source and wattage in the exhibit. Post-meeting Note: The applicant shall provide the information on reflector size for consideration by the Board.
  3. The Board noted that the general style of signage shown on the building facades is conditionally linked to previous discussions and approvals with Borough Council. The applicant admitted that the grocery store sign is a standard used by all stores in the chain and is no different than other internally-illuminated signs which will be on the facades of other regional stores; however, this sign will have no power feed or lamps installed. The Board noted that the acrylic panel on this sign is designed for backlighting and may not be as effective in reflecting external illumination. The applicant stated that the external illumination would sufficiently light the signage.
  4. The applicant described the script lettering signs as being similar in construction to the grocery store sign. The Board requested that the script lettering be typical stamped metal letters with offset supports. The Board accepted the proportions and fonts shown, and noted that the color of lettering on the smaller building should be consistent with the lettering on the larger building. The applicant agreed to make the script letters of stamped metal with offset supports.
  5. The applicant noted that the total area of building mounted signs is less than the allowable total. The Board noted that issues related to the area of individual signs and the total area of all signs is a zoning issue and defers to the Zoning Officer and ZHB on these matters.
  6. The applicant’s exhibit indicates colors for awning and storefront metals. The Board accepted the colors as indicated.


  1. The applicant’s exhibit shows the location of the project site within the Central Business District and the Transportation Oriented Development Overlay District. The Board made no comment on the site location map.


  1. The Board noted that a condition of the Zoning Hearing Board variance order states that the development include “antique-style light fixtures” in the parking area and along the sidewalk at the Baltimore Ave. edge of the site.
  2. The applicant noted that there is an existing precedent for the sidewalk lighting pole already in use along Lansdowne Ave. and presented a similar style pole and light from a different manufacturer than supplied the existing fixtures. The Board found the substitute to be materially similar in style and height and therefore acceptable. Post-meeting Note: The manufacturer of the existing poles was contacted and can provide matching fixtures, poles and bases. Their assembly is fully welded and superior to the slip-fit assembly of the proposed equipment.


  1. The Board noted the proposed parking lot lighting fixture bears no resemblance to any other lighting in the Borough and found no reason to suggest it is the appropriate style for the site. The applicant suggested that the style is in keeping with the architecture of the buildings. The Board decided to defer comment on this fixture and pole to the Lansdowne Planning Commission. Post-meeting Note: The manufacturer of the existing sidewalk poles along Lansdowne Ave. has a number of suitable “antique style” fixtures for higher mounting that will be efficient at lighting the parking areas. There are larger pole bases available that complement the existing sidewalk pole base style.


  1. The Board accepted the awning light fixture without discussion. Post-meeting Note: The fixture is partly solar powered and yet is proposed to be mounted behind a solid metal awning on the north facade of the building where sunlight can not reach it. The applicant should reconsider this selection.


  1. This exhibit includes existing condition photographs of the retail buildings. The applicant referred to these photographs in the presentation.

Toward the end of the review, Stephen Wagner, Borough Council’s Economic Development Committee president spoke up, requesting that the Board add the following in their recommendation to Borough Council:

  • The application should provide total square footage of signage.
    • Note: The applicant has indicated the total area on Exhibit A-7.
  • The Board should note a condition that the owner shall control the signage at smaller retail building consistent with the grocery store building.
    • Note: The Board will defer to Borough Council on a binding agreement, if necessary, between Lansdowne Center Partners LLC and tenants of the smaller retail building regarding consistency in signage for the entire retail development.

Mike Jozwiak, Lansdowne Zoning Officer, noted that shopping cart corrals were not included in the plan. The applicant did not present cart corrals in the HARB application and made no presentation of them to the Board. The Board defers comment on cart corrals to the Planning Commission and made no further comment in their regard.

Gloria Carpenter made a motion to recommend the application, as presented and with the above agreements seconded by Bill Patterson. The Board voted unanimously to recommend approval to Borough Council.

Miscellaneous Items

The Board tabled a vote on a new Secretary until the next scheduled meeting.


Ms. Carpenter made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:44 PM; seconded by Mr. Gould. The motion carried.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the HARB will be on August 19, 2010 at 7:00 PM at the Borough office.

Respectfully Submitted,

Peggy Albee Vance, Acting-Secretary

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