NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD

MUNICIPAL BUILDING - 100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE

NEWTOWN, PA 18940

THURSDAY, JANUARY 2, 2003

7:30 PM


Approval of the Minutes of January 2, 2003: Mr. Lionetti noted that on page two, second paragraph, the word "matter" should be changed to "application".

Mr. Ragan moved to accept the minutes of January 2, 2003, as amended. Mr. Carver seconded, and the motion passed 4-0, with Mrs. Laughlin abstaining. 


The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, January 2, 2003 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were Mario Lionetti, Chairman; Thomas Ragan, Vice-Chairman; John Lenihan, Secretary; Franklin Carver and Michael Leone, Members. Also in attendance were James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor; Thomas Harwood, Zoning Officer; and Jackie Robbins, Stenographer.

 

The Pledge of Allegiance

 

The Agenda was reviewed

 

Approval of Minutes

Reorganization of Board

Continued Application of Newtown Center Associates

Continued Application of Platinum Executive Suites, LLC

Application of Banai Jacobs Anshe Emes

Application of Frederick Marshall

 

Approval of Minutes of December 19, 2002

 

Mr. Ragan moved to approve the minutes of December 19, 2002. Mr. Lenihan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Reorganization of the Board

 

Mr. Ragan moved to elect Mario Lionetti as Chairman. Mr. Carver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Mr. Lionetti moved to elect Thomas Ragan as Vice-Chairman. Mr. Leone seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Mr. Lionetti moved to elect John Lenihan as Secretary. Mr. Leone seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Mr. Carver moved to reappoint Mr. Auchinleck as solicitor at the same hourly rate as was paid in 2002. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Continued Application of Newtown Center Associates

 

Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that he had received correspondence from the attorney representing the applicant notifying him that the application had been withdrawn.

 

 

Application of Banai Jacobs Anshe Emes

 

Mr. Lenihan read into the record the application of Banai Jacobs Anshe Emes, L-3 Communications Aydin Corporation owners, requesting a variance from Section 702(A)(2)(3)(4), 803(C-1)(1) and 803(C-1)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a place of worship in the LI district where such use is not permitted and to have access from a local street, and a reduction of the required number of parking spaces from 242 to 10. The subject property is Unit 4A and 4B, Suites 100 and 200, 141 Friends Lane in the LI Light Industrial Zoning District.

 

Mr. Auchinleck advised the Board that the advertisement required for this application had appeared garbled in The Advance. The application would be re-advertised in a later edition of the newspaper. Because of the unintelligible advertisement, the matter must be continued. He has contacted the applicant and has tentatively scheduled a special meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board to hear this and the Frederick Marshall application on January 16, 2003 at 7:30 PM at the Newtown Township Building Lower Level Meeting Room.

 

Mr. Ragan asked if there would be any problem with a postponement, as he wanted to be sure that the application was heard in a timely fashion.

 

Mr. Auchinleck said that the application must be heard within 60 days, and that a decision must be rendered within 45 days of the close of testimony. He said that the special meeting date would accommodate this and the Frederick Marshall Application.

 

Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of Banai Jacobs Anshe Emes to a special meeting on January 16, 2003. Mr. Lenihan seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

 

Application of Frederick Marshall

 

Mr. Lenihan read into the record the application of Frederick Marshall requesting a variance from Section 401(B) (Pickering Chase Final Plan) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit installation of a 30 foot by 50 foot inground swimming pool with spa, walks and patio, resulting in a 20.8% impervious surface instead of 15%. The subject property is 3 Pickering Drive in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District.

 

Mr. Auchinleck explained to the Board that the advertisement for this application had been part of the garbled advertisement that had appeared in The Advance. He said that it would also be re-advertised. He had contacted the applicant, who will be available for a special meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board on January 16, 2003. This meeting date will satisfy all time limits on the application.

 

Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of Frederick Marshall to a special meeting on January 16, 2003. Mr. Ragan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Continued Application of Platinum Executive Suites

 

Mr. Auchinleck advised the Board that the application had been read into the record and continued at the December 5, 2002 meeting.

 

Mr. Ed Shensky represented the applicant in this matter.

 

Mr. Shensky explained that Platinum Executive Suites has service agreements to provide their clients with office space and services. They occupy a 10,000 square foot facility, providing for 30 to 40 clients. They currently must apply for a certificate of occupancy for each client, but would like a blanket certificate of occupancy.

 

Ms. Karen Miller was sworn in.

 

Ms. Miller said that she is the owner of Platinum Executive Suites. She said that her business is the same as HQ Global Workplaces. She reminded the Board that HQ had been granted a variance for a blanket certificate of occupancy, and that her firm is a competitor to HQ.

 

Mr. Ragan asked what types of businesses her clients are in.

 

Ms. Miller explained that the types of businesses vary, however they are all business people. There are no doctors or psychologists as her offices do not have sinks. There is no manufacturing, no research and no storage. She explained that her business is similar to a hotel, in that the client is assigned a specific office and there are shared common areas and shared services such as copying, reception, telephone and kitchen. She said that while a space may be assigned to a specific client, that client can be moved. The office is staffed from 8:30AM to 5:00 PM, however there is a keyless entry system for clients to use offices after hours.

 

Mr. Auchinleck said that parking could be an issue if offices are rented to psychologists or other medical firms that see patients. He advised the Board that they could make a condition of any variance granted that it comply with certain approved businesses.

 

Ms. Miller said that her clients are all in businesses allowed in the LI Light Industrial District. She does not provide sinks in the rooms, so they would not be appropriate for any medical clients. She said that very few of her clients ever have customers visit. She currently provides adequate parking for the number of clients that she serves. Platinum has been at this location for three years without any parking problems. She said that Platinum provides all furniture and office equipment.

 

Mr. Shensky said that the average length of a service contract has been six months, although some clients sign on month to month and some have been longer than six months. He said that they have applied for as many as 100 certificates of occupancy. The applications cost $100. Because the direct competitor, HQ Global Workplaces, does not have to apply for individual certificates of occupancy, it causes a hardship for Platinum in competitive pricing on service agreements.

 

Mr. Harwood said that he would like to see a copy of the standard service agreement. He said that the language of the HQ service agreement made clear that this was not a lessor/lessee or landlord /tenant agreement, and that the clients do not have any interest in real estate.

 

Mr. Harwood said that the Fire Marshal currently makes annual visits to Platinum.

 

Mr. Harwood said that Platinum Executive Suites must comply with the existing Zoning requirements. The D-1 uses permitted are general office only. Medical uses are not permitted. D-1 Zoning permits such businesses as lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers.

 

Mr. Auchinleck advised the Board that he thought it would be better not to render a decision with conditions. He said that they should be sure that the service agreement does not provide landlord/tenant relationship.

 

Mr. Shensky said that he will provide a copy of the agreement to Mr. Harwood in the morning.

 

Mr. Lenihan said that he had visited the site and that he noted that it is identical to HQ. He said that the space would not be suitable for other than D-1 use, and would not allow for conducting an ongoing business.

 

Mr. Lenihan moved to grant a variance from Section 1403(D)(1)(c) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit occupancy under a blanket certificate of occupancy instead of securing individual certificates of occupancy. Mr. Carver seconded.

 

Mr. Ragan said that he was concerned that the Board would be granting a variance without having seen the standard service agreement, and without being sure that Mr. Harwood has seen it.

 

Mr. Lionetti said that he felt that Platinum had been in business in Newtown for three years and he trusted that the documents would be provided to Mr. Harwood in the morning.

 

The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Ragan voting nay.

 

Mr. Lionetti moved to adjourn at 8:30 PM. Mr. Ragan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Respectfully Submitted

 

 _____________________________

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary