DOYLESTOWN The Doylestown Township zoning board voted Monday night to deny variances that would have allowed construction of a museum and theater honoring famed Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II on his former farm.

In a 3-0 vote, the board decided that the $20 million project, which would have brought a 400-seat theater to the five-acre property, "was a neighborhood-changing proposal that was not justified," the board's solicitor, Bill Bolla, said Tuesday.

Hammerstein's grandson Will Hammerstein, who has been spearheading the project, said he was prepared for the board to vote it down. During five previous meetings, Hammerstein said, he got the impression that the board's approval would be difficult to secure, particularly since several township supervisors had recommended against it months ago.

"It did not go our way," he said.

Bola said he has to write a report explaining the board's reasoning and deliver it to Hammerstein by July 2.

Hammerstein said he is likely to appeal the denial but that he wants to read the report before deciding on next steps. - Chris Palmer