NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD

MUNICIPAL BUILDING - 100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE

NEWTOWN, PA 18940

THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 2004

7:30 PM


DRAFT - SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT BY THE ZONING HEARING BOARD UNTIL APPROVED


The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, June 24, 2004 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Mario Lionetti, Chairman; John Lenihan, Vice Chairman; Gail Laughlin, Secretary; and Victoria Bowe, member. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Solicitor; Thomas Harwood, Zoning Officer and John McHugh, Stenographer.

Call to Order

Mr. Lionetti called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM

The agenda was reviewed.

Continued Application of David and Beverly Fleming – 258 Durham Road

Application of Raymond A. Doran – 23 Harmony Way

Application of Helen and Gregory Lumpkin – 441 Taylor Avenue

Application of Joseph and Keirsty McDougall – 9 Madison Court

Application of Shaaban F. El Naggar – 35 York Street

Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Laughlin moved to approve the minutes of May 6, 2004. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mrs. Laughlin moved to approve the minutes of June 3, 2004. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Continued Application of David and Beverly Fleming

Mr. Auchinleck reported that he had received a letter from Don Marshall, attorney for the applicant, stating that Mr. and Mrs. Fleming were negotiating conditions for the application with the Township and they expect to resolve the matter. He is requesting that the matter be continued to the August 5, 2004 meeting. He said that the Township is in agreement with the request for a continuance.

Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of David and Beverly Fleming to August 5, 2004. Mr. Lenihan seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Application of Raymond A. Doran

Mrs. Laughlin read into the record the application of Raymond A. Doran requesting a variance from Section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 380 square foot patio resulting in a 10.6 foot rear yard setback where 30 feet is required. The subject property is 23 Harmony Way in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District.

Mr. Raymond A. Doran and Mrs. Anita Doran were sworn in.

Mr. Lionetti asked if anyone present wished to be party to the application. There was no response.

Mr. Auchinleck explained to those residents in attendance that if they wish to be a party to the application they would have the right to cross-examine the applicant and any of his witnesses, present evidence and witnesses, and make any statement concerning the application. Should they disagree with the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board, party status would give them the right to appeal the decision. Anyone present not wishing party status would be allowed to make statements for or against the application after the hearing and before a decision is rendered.

Mr. Doran explained that he had not known that permits or variances were required to install a patio. His patio has been installed. He said that his yard was steeply graded and the patio was installed to allow him to make use of his yard for entertaining. He said that his yard backs to open space and then to the PECO easement. The patio is built at ground level, and is not visible to his neighbors.

Mr. Auchinleck reminded the Board that they had heard a similar application at the June 3, 2004 meeting.

Mr. Harwood said that this patio would require an underpinning of stone and a building permit is required. He said that a permit could not be issued unless a variance is granted first.

Mr. Lenihan asked if Mr. Doran had gotten approval for the patio from his Homeowners association.

Mr. Doran said that he did not know that approval would be necessary prior to building, however, he has since gotten approval. He said that two of his Homeowners Association Board members were in attendance this evening and would state that the patio has their approval.

Mr. Frank Montemuro was sworn in. Mr. Montemuro said that he is a Board member of the Lakeview Estates Homeowners Association. He said that the patio had been approved in a 2-1 vote by the Homeowners Association.

Mr. Michael Ziev was sworn in. Mr. Ziev stated that he is a member of the Lakeview Estates Homeowners Association Board, and that he had voted to approve the patio.

Mr. John Kottler was sworn in. Mr. Kottler said that he lives at 21 Harmony Way, next to the Dorans. He said that the patio has no negative impact on his property and he supports the plan.

Mr. Robert Wendel was sworn in. Mr. Wendel said that he lives at 25 Harmony Way, next to the Dorans. He said that the Doran property backs onto at least 150 feet of open space, then the PECO easement. He said that there are no drainage problems and he supports the plan.

Mr. Dan Myers was sworn in. Mr. Myers said that he lives at 27 Harmony Way, and he supports the plan.

Mr. Harwood had no further comment.

Mrs. Laughlin moved to grant a variance from Section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 380 square foot patio resulting in a 10.6-foot rear yard setback where 30 feet is required. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Application of Helen and Gregory Lumpkin

Mrs. Laughlin read into the record the application of Helen and Gregory Lumpkin requesting a variance from Section 405(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 12 foot by 20 foot shed resulting in a 16.52% impervious surface ratio where the maximum permitted is 13% and a Special Exception under Section 1208(C)(2) to permit construction of a shed on a non conforming lot. The subject property is 441 Taylor Ave, Newtown, in the R-2 High Density Residential Zoning District.

Mr. Gregory Lumpkin and Mrs. Helen Lumpkin were sworn in.

Mr. Lionetti asked if anyone present wished to be party to the application. There was no response.

Mr. Lumpkin said that he wished to build a 12 by 20 foot shed in his yard to store garden tools.

Mr. Lenihan said that he had visited the site. He noted that the houses on either side of the Lumpkin house each have sheds, and that the location for this shed is surrounded by trees and would not be visible to the neighbors. He said that to the rear of the property are the homes that front Norwood Avenue.

Mr. Harwood had no comment.

Mr. Lenihan moved to grant a variance from Section 405(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 12 foot by 20 foot shed resulting in a 16.52% impervious surface ratio where the maximum permitted is 13% and a Special Exception under Section 1208(C)(2) to permit construction of a shed on a non conforming lot. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Application of Joseph and Keirsty McDougall

Mrs. Laughlin read into the record the application of Joseph and Keirsty McDougall requesting a variance from Section 401 (C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 (and Pheasant Point Final Plan) to permit construction of a 423 square foot patio resulting in a 3 foot side yard setback where 10 feet is required. The subject property is 9 Madison Court, Newtown, in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District.

Mrs. Keirsty McDougall was sworn in.

Mr. Lionetti asked if anyone present wished to be party to the application. There was no response.

Mrs. McDougall said that she wished to install a patio in her backyard. She said that the patio is to be located at the door to her walkout basement and her rear door. She said that these are the only rear exits, and she wants to place the patio there. She said that her side yard adjoins Pheasant Pointe open space, and then Eagle Road. She does not have a neighbor on that side of her house. She said that she has the approval of her Homeowners Association, and the patio is not visible to her neighbors.

Mr. Lenihan said that he visited the site, and he agreed that this is the only appropriate location for a patio because of the placement of the doors.

Mr. Lionetti asked if the patio could be made longer and narrower so that a side yard variance would not be necessary.

Mrs. McDougall said that the patio is just wide enough to accommodate a picnic table, and to make it longer would require removal of her children’s swing set. She said that her contractor had indicated that if the patio were made longer there would be grading problems.

Mr. Harwood had no comment in this matter.

Mrs. Bowe moved to grant a variance from Section 401 (C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 (and Pheasant Point Final Plan) to permit construction of a 423 square foot patio resulting in a 3 foot side yard setback where 10 feet is required. Mr. Lenihan seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Application of Shaaban F. El Naggar

Mrs. Laughlin read into the record the application of Shaaban F. El Naggar requesting a variance from Section 1000(E)(3)(b)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of an 8 foot by 16 foot deck resulting in a rear yard set back of 10 feet where 15 feet is required. The subject property is 35 York Street, Newtown, in the R-1 Medium Density Residential Zoning District.

Mr. Shaaban F. El Naggar was sworn in.

Mr. Lionetti noted that no members of the public were present as parties to this application.

Mr. El Naggar said that he wishes to build a deck in his back yard, and he would need more space than is allowed. He said that the deck would be in the same location as the existing patio, and would be smaller than the patio. The patio is to be removed.

Mr. Lenihan said that he visited the site. He said that the proposed deck will be smaller than the existing patio, and that the yard is fenced. He did not think it would pose any problems for neighbors.

Mr. Lionetti said that he is familiar with the site and that he agrees with Mr. Lenihan.

Mr. Harwood had no comment in this matter.

Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from Section 1000(E)(3)(b)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of an 8 foot by 16-foot deck resulting in a rear yard set back of 10 feet where 15 feet is required. Mrs. Laughlin seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Other Business

Mr. Lionetti reminded the Board that they had been asked to review and comment on proposed changes to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance dealing with conditional uses and special exceptions.

Mrs. Laughlin said that she had not had sufficient time to thoroughly review the proposed changes and compare them to the existing Ordinance.

Mr. Harwood explained that the changes were proposed by Upper Makefield in order to streamline the conditional use and special exception process. He said that it was his understanding that the Planning Commission wanted input from the Zoning Hearing Board because they currently hear applications for special exceptions. He said that currently a special exception is granted to a property, whereas a conditional use approval is granted to the specific applicant. He was not sure whether that would change under this proposal.

Mr. Auchinleck said that much of the proposed change dealt with housekeeping matters, correcting mistakes in language, however a portion of the proposal would change the requirement for documentation for an applicant seeking a special exception or conditional use. He said that these changes would affect the applications presented to the Zoning Hearing Board, and for this reason, the Planning Commission is interested in comment from the Zoning Hearing Board before any recommendation is made to the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Auchinleck explained that the Planning Commission reviews proposed changes to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance, then makes recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to approve or deny the proposed changes. In this particular case, the Planning Commission has indicated that the opinions of Zoning Hearing Board members might be helpful in considering whether to recommend approval.

Mr. Harwood said that he regularly attends the Planning Commission meetings, and he noted that there is some confusion in understanding these particular changes. He said that he also has some questions about the proposed changes.

Mr. Lionetti asked if Mr. Auchinleck could find out if there is a time limit for the Zoning Hearing Board to continue this discussion and review. He said that he thought that the Board members would need to continue to review these changes before they discuss them further.

Mr. Auchinleck agreed to discuss the timeline with the solicitor for the Planning Commission. He suggested that further discussion on these proposed changes be resumed at the July 22, 2004 meeting.

Adjournment

Mr. Lenihan moved to adjourn at 9:45 PM. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Respectfully Submitted

 

_____________________________
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary