NEWTOWN SQUARE–Possibly some good news comes to the old barn slated to be demolished behind The Newtown Grill. At the last Board of Supervisors meeting on May 29, Sid Elston, the Newtown Square Historical Society's buildings and grounds appointed member, shared that there was interest to restore the old barn.
"We have been contacted by someone who is interested in looking into restoring the barn and using it as some sort of craft center," said Elston. "I hope we can all be optimistic that that could occur because it is a very important barn in the county."
Though he couldn't provide further details on the interested party, since he wasn't the one who was directly contacted about the barn, according to Elston, he assured that there is indeed people who are interested in restoring the barn.
In a bit of a time crunch though, Supervisors Vice Chairman Dr. Ross Lambert suggested to "hurry up" with the interested party's restoration project as a demolition permit was sent out in early May by The Newtown Grill.
Township Manager Mike Trio previously said that The Newtown Grill was cited for nuisance of maintaining the historic barn and the feral cats that the neighbors have seen inhabiting the property.
A handful of residents from Terrazza–a condominium complex located behind The Newtown Grill and the barn–addressed their concerns about the dilapidated barn and the cats roaming their properties.
The owners of The Newtown Grill appeared at May 14 supervisors meeting to address the issues, which included announcing the demolition permit had been filed. The announcement of the demolition permit to the barn appeared to have appeased the neighbors at Terrazza, who had growing concerns of the dangers of the old barn possibly collapsing and the growing number of cats.
At last Monday's supervisors meeting, Trio said the township had been notified that the feral cats had been removed. In addition, the demolition permit is currently under review by the Code Enforcement Department and The Newtown Grill is in violation of their citations, according to Trio.
"We have issued probably multiple applications–they have not paid their court dates and they are subject to, I believe, a $500 a day fine," said Trio. "We're trying to enforce the signage issues that appear there, which was in violation. There doesn't seem to be any movement on their violations."
According to Township Solicitor Richard Sokorai, Magisterial District Judge Leon Hunter issued a $500 fine. The township code allows the township to continue fining the business per day but must go back to court to for approval to continue fining that business per day.
Lambert suggested looking into the overall township's demolition code.
"Developers frequently demolish properties and then they leave them demolished in a state of disrepair or fenced-in state that is very unattractive," said Lambert. "We have it in other places in the township and I think we need to either change the way we grant demolition permits or change our ordinance to whatever we have to do...when somebody knocks something down, we have a definitive plan for what's going to be done to that property."