ZONING HEARING BOARD
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF DECEMBER 6, 2007
The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, December 6, 2007 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: William Wall, Chairman; Victoria Bowe, Vice-Chairman; David Katz, Secretary, Gail Laughlin, and John Lenihan, members. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor; Michael Solomon, Zoning Officer and William Campbell, Stenographer.
Call to Order
Mr. Wall called the meeting to Order at 7:30 PM.
The Pledge of Allegiance
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Lenihan moved to accept the minutes of November 1, 2007. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Wall abstaining.
The agenda was reviewed:
Application of Kathleen D. and Richard T. Mulcahey
Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Kathleen D. and Richard T. Mulcahey owners requesting a variance from Norwalk’s Final Plan as affecting the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 540 square feet pool with spa and 540 square feet of pool decking resulting in a 20.057% impervious surface ratio where the maximum permitted is 15%. The subject property is 40 Autumn Drive, Newtown, in the OR Office Research Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-16-11-1.
Richard T. Mulcahey was sworn in.
Mr. Wall asked if anyone present wished party status. There was no response.
Mr. Mulcahey said that he had submitted an application that had requested side yard setback in addition to impervious surface relief. He does not believe that relief is needed for the setbacks.
Mr. Solomon confirmed that only impervious surface relief is needed. That is all that has been advertised.
Mr. Mulcahey said that he would like to install a pool and spa with decking around the pool. The decking is to be open joint pavers with a screen base. His home is in the Office Research Zoning District, where there is significant stormwater management in place. There is a storm drain adjacent to his property.
Mr. Mulcahey entered as Exhibit A-6, a letter signed by six of his neighbors expressing support for the project, and as Exhibit A-2, a letter from Gordon and Elizabeth Todderud, whose home is directly adjacent to Mr. Mulcahey’s on the side where the pool is to be located, also expressing support.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Mulcahey showed his and the Todderud’s properties on a plot plan. He pointed out the drainage swale that runs alongside the Todderud property, and noted that the basin has only contained water about five times in the last ten years, only during significant storms. There have been no back-ups at the stormwater inlets. He said that his development does not have a homeowners association. He does not know who maintains the stormwater basins. Water in the swale runs toward Lindenhurst Road and the basin.
Mr. Solomon had no comment.
Mr. Katz moved to grant a variance from Norwalk’s Final Plan as affecting the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 540 square feet pool with spa and 540 square feet of pool decking resulting in a 20.057% impervious surface ratio where the maximum permitted is 15%. Mrs. Laughlin seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Application of Christian and Mary Katherine Seiler
Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Christian and Mary Katherine Seiler, owners, requesting a variance from Section 404(B) and 1000(E)(4) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 28 feet by 20 feet paver patio, a 10 feet by 12 feet shed, and a 8 feet by 15 feet driveway extension resulting in an impervious surface ratio of 18.46% where the maximum permitted is 12% and resulting in a 4 feet side and rear yard set back for the shed where 12 feet is required. The subject property is 13 Hillside Road, Newtown, in the R-1 Medium Density Residential Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-13-8.
Mr. Wall asked if anyone present wished to be party to this application. There was no response.
Christian Seiler and Mary Katherine Seiler were sworn in.
Mr. Seiler said that he had put an addition on his home last November, and had been granted a variance. He now would like to add a shed and patio and he would like to widen his driveway to park two cars. The house does not have a garage, so the wider driveway and shed are necessary. The shed will be tucked into a corner and not visible from the street or to neighbors. It is painted the same colors as the house.
Mr. Lenihan said that he visited the site and thinks the location for the shed is appropriate. If the shed were to be within the permitted setback area, a large old tree would have to be removed. He agreed that it is more important to preserve the tree.
Mr. Katz said that he had some concerns about the large increase in impervious surface and asked whether the Seilers would agree to a condition of installing a stormwater retention system.
Mr. Seiler said that he is not planning on installing the patio immediately, but some time in the future. He plans a retaining wall for this patio, which will keep water from flowing away from the house. He did not know what stormwater retention would mean, and whether it would add to the cost of the project.
Mr. Auchinleck explained that if stormwater management were added as a condition of approval, then an engineer would have to design a system to retain the excess run-off for impervious surface above 13.6%, the permitted impervious surface for this property. An increase in impervious surface would increase run-off of stormwater. This home is in an area without stormwater management. An engineer would calculate the increased run-off and design a system to retain the water and gradually release it. The Township engineer would then review the design for approval.
Mr. Katz said that he would ask that the stormwater management system be done at the time that the patio was installed.
Mr. Wall said that he was not sure whether this is necessary, as this is not a large house. He asked where current run-off goes.
Mr. Seiler said that currently stormwater runs down a hillside toward the open space and orchard at the rear of his home.
Mr. Katz said that he is concerned that in allowing a large increase in impervious surface there is no way to monitor the additional run-off. He is also concerned that other homes in the area could also be increasing impervious surface, and this could create problems later.
The Board discussed whether to require the stormwater management system, or to possibly grant a smaller variance, or to request the applicant to amend his application to only include the shed and driveway expansion and return with a plan for the patio at a later time. There was some concern that a variance had already been granted for impervious surface. They asked Mr. Solomon if he knew what the additional costs could be for design and implementation of a system.
Mr. Solomon said that other applicants have paid about $2500 for design and review of residential stormwater management. This does not include installation. He noted that this is a very large patio, at 560 square feet. In response to comments about porous paving, Mr. Solomon said that our Ordinance considers these materials impervious and a variance would still be required.
Me. Seiler said that he would not want to accept the stormwater management as a condition as it is not clear what additional costs would be involved.
Mr. Auchinleck suggested that the Board discuss possibly granting less relief than requested. The applicant could then review his plans and make reductions to the project, either reducing the driveway, shed or patio or possibly building a deck, which would be pervious.
After further discussion among Board members, it was agreed that a variance would be offered for a smaller amount of impervious surface than requested, without the requirement for a stormwater management system.
Mr. Katz moved to grant a variance from Section 404(B) and 1000(E) (4) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a patio, a 10 feet by 12 feet shed, and a driveway extension resulting in an impervious surface ratio of 16.6% where the maximum permitted is 12% and 13.6% is permitted by prior variance and resulting in a 4 feet side and rear yard set back for the shed where 12 feet is required. Mr. Lenihan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Application of Robert Lantzy D.M.D
Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Robert Lantzy D.M.D., equitable owner, 11 Friends Lane LLC., owner requesting a variance from Section 803(D-2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 and relief from a condition of previous relief granted by the zoning hearing board to allow the area of building devoted to medical use to be increased to 19,343.5 from the 17,415 limit imposed as a condition, without increasing the number of parking spaces above the 155 currently provided, where the total required by the ordinance would be 203 spaces. The subject property is 11 Friends Lane, Newtown, in the L-I Light Industrial Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-10-105.
Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that Attorney Don Marshall, representing the applicant, has requested that this application be continued.
Mr. Lenihan moved to continue the application of Robert Lantzy, D.M.D. to January 3, 2008. Mr. Katz seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mrs. Bowe moved to adjourn at 8:40 PM. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary