NEWTOWN SQUARE–Marco Tarrantino, co-owner of , addressed the public at Monday night's Board of Supervisors meeting that a demolition permit has been filed for the historic barn behind the restaurant after receiving complaints from the neighbors and a citation from the township.
According to Township Manager Mike Trio, 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 neighbors from Terrazaa were present at the meeting to address their concerns about the dilapidated barn and the cats roaming their properties.
Steve Schoenstatt, of Cornerstone Drive, addressed the supervisors of some of the issues over the old barn behind the restaurant, off of S. Newtown Street Road/Rt. 252, has been causing for the neighbors of Terrazza.
"I would like to bring to your attention some of the significant problems," said Schoenstatt. "The residents of Terrazza are very concerned about the roof collapsing–it looks like the structural integrity of the walls is being jeopardized. There's a significant health hazard because the feral cats are traveling all over the neighborhood in search of food into all three of our garages. The odor is not helpful. If that building collapses...we're afraid some of them [children] may get hurt."
John Battista, president of the , also shared his concerns about the building and stated that the original owner of The Newtown Grill property–Della Porta Real Estate/Alberto's–should have taken care of the barn as promised.
"We wouldn't want to see this barn get demolished–it's one of the last barns in the area, but there needs to be so much money to get it rehabiliated. Ideally, we want to get the original owner to cough up the money," shared Battista after the meeting on Monday night.
Battista provided the supervisors with copies of an application approval letter, dated June 19, 2008, from the Delaware County Planning Commission to former Township Manger Jim Sheldrake to develop phase 2 of their project. The project was approved with a few conditions that the developer agreed upon approval of the project–one of which included maintaining the old historic barn, according to Battista.
Tarrantino responded to the issues addressed by the residents to the Board and stated that though the cats will probably come back, they are making sure that they do not come back and are currently waiting on estimates from a private company to take the feral cats away.
In addition, Tarrantino confirmed that they have indeed filed a demolition permit Monday morning to tear down the barn and felt it was the most practical solution.
"We are very much aware of the dangers of the barn," said Tarrantino. "This morning we applied for a permit for the demolition of the barn. At this time we felt it was the most convenient way to make sure that Terrazza is comfortable and that no one gets killed at the same time."
Understanding that there is no easy solution on what to do with the barn, Tarrantino added that the demolition of the barn is very expensive but so would the rehabilitation of the barn and maintaining it.
"It's going to take time but that's the best we can do. We cannot beautify the place–it's impossible. It's extremely expensive," said Tarrantino. "If we can come up with some money and work with the historical society then maybe we can do something but, at this point, we think it's the best way. The previous owner promised to fix it and we got it the way it is. So we think the best way is to level off and not to worry about this problem in the future."
Residents of Terrazza appeared to be satisfied with The Newtown Grill's decision to move forward with the demolition of the barn and applauded after Tarrantino's response.
The barn dates back to the 1800s and was once owned by Robert Mendenhall. Mendenhall's house is now what stands as The Newtown Grill, which was built in 1798.