RICHBORO >> Big changes are coming to the home of the Big Mac on 2nd Street Pike in the heart of downtown Richboro.

During an April 22 virtual meeting, the Northampton Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved preliminary/final plans for a major upgrade to the McDonald’s fast food restaurant, including renovation to the exterior and interior of the fast food eatery, improved handicapped accessibility and the general enhancement of the site with street trees and landscaping.

In compliance with the Richboro Village Overlay District, the project will also bring a number of streetscape improvements to the 2nd Street Pike frontage, including installation of a full sidewalk, the addition of two decorative streetlights along with street trees and landscaping.

“Overall we’re looking to reduce the impervious coverage of the lot and upgrade the site itself and providing upgrades to parking and landscaping where appropriate,” the project engineer told the supervisors.

The building’s footprint will remain the same, but its exterior architecture will be reconfigured, said the engineer.

Gone will be the McDonald’s signature double-sloped Mansard roof, which has been the fast food restaurant’s calling card for decades.

The renovated building will boast a brand new look, the bright colors associated with a traditional McDonald’s restaurant replaced with a more Earth-tone, muted color scheme, to provide “a more aesthetically pleasing, professionally polished grown-up image.”

In addition, signage being planned on the building itself “won’t be overpowering” compared to what’s there today. “And there’s lots of glass associated with certain elements of the building,” said the McDonald’s engineer, all done in an effort to improve the streetscape and the overall appearance of the site in downtown Richboro.

“Overall McDonald’s is very happy with the outcome with regards to coming up with an equally acceptable solution,” said the engineer of the final architectural renderings negotiated by McDonald’s and the township. “McDonald’s is very proud of how this building has turned out and are very excited to make this come to life.”

Supervisor Barry Moore said the township “does appreciate the fact that McDonald’s has made significant efforts to improve the facade of the building. McDonald’s has been a long-standing member of our business community and we also appreciate the fact that during this difficult time you are staying open and feeding people.”

The proposed changes also won the support of Supervisor Dr. Kimberly Rose. “I love the plan. It looks beautiful and it’s going to add to our community,” she said.

The plan also anticipates a future driveway access point at the rear of the property as a way of providing dual access to the site.

In a note included on the plan, McDonald’s has agreed to work with the township on creating a future connection, that would link a number of neighboring parking lots and driveways, including McDonald’s, with an existing service road between Addisville Commons and Almshouse Road.

“Until we know how the land around the McDonald’s is going to be developed, we don’t know where that road would be located, what it would look like,” township solicitor Joseph Pizzo told the supervisors. “This is an acknowledgment from McDonald’s that some form of an access road is coming. Secondly, the township is asking for them to grant us an easement when it’s determined where that road is going to be in order to make it a public thoroughfare.”

Township manager Bob Pellegrino personally thanked the local McDonald’s operators for working with the township on the elevations. “We talked about elevations the last time for six months and couldn’t come to an agreement. They came back to us and right out of the box we had a plan that was acceptable. That’s kudos to them on doing a really good job.”

Board chairman Adam Selisker reiterated the township’s thanks to McDonald’s for staying open. I know you’ve fed a lot of folks in Northampton. Thanks for sticking it out.”

2020 Road Projects

In other business, the supervisors awarded its 2020 road milling bid to James D. Morrissey Inc. of Philadelphia at a cost of $180,988.04.

The work will be completed in four phases and will include 23 township roads. The 2020 road paving program includes six miles of paving and four miles of micro-sealing.

Slated for milling and repaving are Sunset Drive from Farmway Drive to Manor Drive; Manor Drive from Sunset Drive to Harmony Drive; Harmony Drive from Newtown-Richboro Road to the end; Holly Hill Road from Holyoke Road to the cul-de-sac; Holyoke Road from Highspire Road to Primrose Drive; Holly Road from Holly Hill Road to Cloverly Drive; Highsprire Road from Worthington Mill Road to Holly Hill Road; Howard Road from Worthington Mill Road to Holly Hill Road; Buttonwood Drive from Second Street Pike to Dogwood Place; Dogwood Place from Buttonwood Road to Willow Road; Hatboro Road from Almshouse Road to Temperance Lane; Thoroughbred Drive from Buck Road to Dalton Way; Dalton Way from Thoroughbred Drive to Seam; Rolling Hills Drive from Buck Road to Buck Road; Wood Drive from Rolling Hills Drive to the cul-de-sac; Lawrence Avenue from Wood Drive to East Holland Road; Zelkova Drive from Wood Drive to Briarwood Drive; Mallard Road from Buck Road to Heron Road; Martin Drive from Mallard Road to Heron Road; and Brooke Drive from Elm Avenue to Lark Drive.

Slated for micro-surfacing are Schan Drive from Bustleton Pike to the end; Shady Lawn Drive from Schan Drive to Green Valley Drive; Green Valley Drive from Bustleton Pike to Schan Drive; High Point Drive from Green Valley Drive to Schan Drive; High Point Circle from High Point Drive to Cul-de-sac; Summit Drive from Green Valley Drive to Cul-de-sac; Meadow Drive from Green Valley Drive to Cul-de-sac; Prince Circle from Green Valley Drive to Cul-de-sac; Glen Meadow Road from Upper Holland Road to End; Nottingham Drive from Glen Meadow Road to Glen Meadow Road; Dorchester Lane from Nottingham Drive to Providence Drive; Providence Drive from Glen Meadow Road to Glen Meadow Road; Castleton Drive from Glen Meadow Road to Providence Drive; and Redwood Drive from Glen Meadow Road to Shelbourne Road.

Tax bill penalty adjustment

As a result of the coronavirus, the supervisors also passed a motion reducing the penalty size from 10 percent to zero for real estate taxes paid between June 30 and July 30.

April 30th is the last day residents can pay their property taxes and receive a two percent discount.

“From May 1 to July 30, you can pay the face value of your tax bill and not pay a penalty. This is for this year only,” said Dr. Rose in making the motion. “And let me be very clear. If you pay your tax bill after July 30, which is a Thursday, and you pay it on Friday, July 31 you will pay a 10 percent penalty.”

In other coronavirus action, the supervisors voted to approve an emergency declaration effective March 13 for a 90 day period until renewed or rescinded by further action.

Traffic signal improvements

In other business, the board approved a resolution authorizing the township manage to submit applications to PennDOT for improvements to traffic signals at four township intersections: 2nd Street Pike and Tanyard Road, 2nd Street Pike and Crossroads Plaza Drive, 2nd Street Pike and School House Commons and Bustleton Pike at Upper Holland Road and Crossroads Plaza Drive.

The improvements include installation of pedestrian countdown signals and push buttons, emergency preemption, stop bar presence detection and dilemma zone detection, which allows the signal to adjust to the indecision of a driver faced with a changing yellow to red light.

“This project will improve intersection operation, further standardize our traffic signal system and improve pedestrian safety,” said supervisor Frank O’Donnell. “But in order to modify the signals, PennDOT requires a resolution authorizing the application with the PennDOT district office.”

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