NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF JANUARY 3, 2008

The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, January 3, 2008 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: William Wall, Victoria Bowe, David Katz, and John Lenihan, members. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor; Michael Solomon, Zoning Officer and Justine Gregor, Stenographer.

Call to Order

Mr. Wall called the meeting to Order at 7:30 PM.

The Pledge of Allegiance

Organization of Board

Mr. Auchinleck called for nominations for Board positions.

Mr. Wall nominated Mr. Lenihan as chairman, Mrs. Bowe as vice-chairman, Mr. Katz and secretary. Mr. Katz seconded.

Mr. Lenihan moved to close the nominations. Mr. Katz seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

The motion to nominate Mr. Lenihan as chairman, Mrs. Bowe as vice-chairman, Mr. Katz and secretary passed 4-0.

Mr. Lenihan moved to reappoint James J. Auchinleck, Jr. Board Solicitor at his current hourly rate. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mr. Lenihan moved to reappoint Mary Donaldson recording secretary. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Katz moved to accept the minutes of December 6, 2007. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

The agenda was reviewed:

  • Application of Anthony and Catherine Ferrandino
  • Continued Application of Robert Lantzy D.M.D.
  • Application of First National Bank and Trust Company

 

Application of Anthony and Catherine Ferrandino

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Anthony and Catherine Ferrandino requesting a variance from Rosefield Final Plan to permit construction of a 173 square feet bathroom and storage room addition, a 410 square feet family room addition and a 490 square feet covered deck resulting in 4,876 square feet of impervious cover where only 4,000 square feet is permitted. The subject property is 36 Atkinson Lane, Newtown, in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-44-231.

Mr. Lenihan asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Anthony Ferrandino and Catherine Ferrandino were sworn in.

Mrs. Ferrandino explained that her son has a degenerative neurological disorder and his confined to a wheelchair. The renovations planned that will increase the impervious surface of their home are designed to make the home handicapped accessible. Ramps are planned for the entrances, a covered deck is needed so that her son can be outdoors without being in direct sun, the bathroom will be handicap accessible, and the addition to the family room with storage area is to accommodate the equipment needed for her son. A Web site describing her son’s special needs is listed in the application.

In response to Mrs. Bowe’s questions, Mrs. Ferrandino said that a pool and patio had been planned but construction had not begun. That impervious surface had been calculated into the application. The Homeowners Association has been supportive on the plans, as have been the neighbors.

In response to Mr. Auchinleck’s questions, Mr. Ferrandino reviewed the properties surrounding his home. He pointed out five acres of open space to the right, which adjoins open space in Wrightstown Township. The property slopes toward the open space, where water drains toward a detention basin near Stoopville Road.

Mr. Lenihan said that he visited the site and confirmed the conditions as described.

Mr. Auchinleck explained that, should the Board grant a variance, this would only constitute zoning relief. Rosefield Development has an approved final plan. This relief is not an amendment to the Rosefield final plan. He advised the applicants to seek legal counsel to ascertain whether the renovation plans are in violation of the Rosefield final plan, as this could become a title issue at the time of sale if the property is sold.

Mr. Solomon had no comment.

Mrs. Bowe moved to grant a variance from Rosefield Final Plan to permit construction of a 173 square feet bathroom and storage room addition, a 410 square feet family room addition and a 490 square feet covered deck resulting in 4,876 square feet of impervious cover where only 4,000 square feet is permitted, subject to the condition that new construction is compliant with the specifications as outlined in the application and presented to this Board. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Continued Application of Robert Lantzy D.M.D

Mr. Auchinleck reminded that Board that this application had been opened and read into the record at the December 6, 2007 meeting.

Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant.

Mr. Lenihan asked if anyone wished party status. There was no response.

Robert Lantzy and Paul Salvatore were sworn in.

Mr. Marshall said that Dr. Lantzy has had a dental practice in Newtown for twenty years and would like to move his practice to 11 Friends Lane from its current location on Sycamore Street.

Mr. Marshall reminded the Board that 11 Friends Lane is an adaptive reuse of an existing building. It has been renovated as offices. The Board had granted parking variances in April of 2006, allowing 155 parking spaces where 205 would be required by the Ordinance, subject to a condition that limited medical use to 50% of the building, or 17,415 square feet. At land development, 306 square feet were removed from the parking calculations for mechanical equipment. Dr. Kipp has taken the medical space, but does not need all of the square footage, Dr. Lanzty wishes to take 2452 square feet for his dental practice. This will not exceed the parking variance but will exceed the square footage permitted for medical use.

Mr. Marshall entered the following exhibits:

  • Exhibit A-1 – The plan for the site
  • Exhibit A-2 – Deed to property
  • Exhibit A-3 – Dr. Lantzy’s agreement to purchase
  • Exhibit A-4 – Zoning Hearing Board Decision dated April 6, 2006
  • Exhibit A-5 – Plan submitted with original application
  • Exhibit A-6 – Outline of parking calculations

Mr. Marshall said that Exhibit A-1 is the site plan for land development. The plans required only 199 parking spaces, not 205, as originally thought. He reviewed the currently proposed medical vs. office use of the building and its parking requirements, and noted that the needed spaces are the same as had been calculated for the variance, so with the variance, the 155 parking spaces provided would still apply, however the building’s medical uses would occupy more than the permitted 50%.

Dr. Lantzy, and Mr. Salvatore, owner of the building, affirmed Mr. Marshall’s summary. Mr. Salvatore confirmed that Exhibit A-1 is the “as built” plan.

Dr. Lantzy said that he would purchase the office condominium to move his practice from its Sycamore Street location. He has three full-time and four part-time employees and four dental chairs. Not all employees are on premises at the same time.. There are usually three or four patients on the premises. His busiest time is on weekday evenings. He would not need as many as the 12 parking spaces assigned to his portion of the building.

Mr. Katz noted a discrepancy between the total square footage shown on Exhibit A-1 and A-5. The numbers used in Exhibit A-6 use the figure used in A-5.

Mr. Marshall said that the correct square footage of the building is 34,382, as shown on Exhibit A-1. Using that number, he and Mr. Auchinleck revised Exhibit A-6, making corrections to the parking calculations, so that the currently proposed numbers are as follows:

  • Medical use – 19344 square feet - 129 parking spaces
  • Mechanical room – 306 square feet – 0 parking spaces
  • Office use – 14, 632 square feet – 73 parking spaces

The total parking spaces required would be 202 spaces, where originally 205 spaces were needed. The April 2006 variance granted relief for 55 spaces, allowing 155 parking spaces. The additional medical use would now add 2153 square feet to the total medical use. The portion of medical use is now 56.26%, a total of 19,344 square feet.

Mr. Marshall noted that the Board of Supervisors had originally opposed the April 2006 application until the applicant agreed to limit medical use to 50% of the building. The Board and the Planning Commission have reviewed the current application and passed it to the Zoning Hearing Board without comment.

Mr. Auchinleck reviewed the changes made to Exhibit A-6, and Mr. Marshall confirmed that the changes are correct.

Mr. Salvatore confirmed that the remaining portion of the building will be sold as non-medical office condominiums. He confirmed that the changes made to Exhibit A-6 are correct.

Mr. Solomon had no comment.

Mr. Katz moved to amend the condition placed on the variance granted to 11 Friends Lane, LLC on April 6, 2006, which had limited medical uses to 50% of the building to allow up to 19,344 square feet for D-2 medical uses, leaving parking as constructed at 155 parking spaces. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Application of First National Bank and Trust Company

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of First National Bank and Trust Company requesting a variance from Section 1106(F)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit two wall-mounted signs, 20 square feet each in addition to the existing free standing signs resulting in three signs where only one is permitted. The subject property is 773 Newtown Yardley Road, Newtown, in the R-2 High Density Residential Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-10-52-7.

Melissa Lenihan and Nicole Tshudy were sworn in.

Mr. Lenihan asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Ms. Lenihan said that she is Vice President of First National Bank and Trust and Ms. Tshudy is the assistant to the operations manager.

Ms. Lenihan said that the Bank would like to add two signs to the building, as the front of the building does not face Newtown Yardley Road, and there are no signs visible to oncoming cars. The proposed signs will be externally illuminated by lights from above the signs. The signs will resemble signs at the Solebury branch. The building was built in 2003, and shares its entrance with Lutheran Church of God’s Love. The proposed signs will face the Church and Newtown Swim Club. In response to Mr. Auchinleck’s question, she said that she does not know whether the Church and Bank share a parking easement, and if churchgoers use bank parking it is when the bank is closed. At one time there had been a land swap with the Church, but she did not know the specifics of that.

Mr. Solomon had no comment.

Mr. Katz moved to grant a variance from Section 1106(F)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit two wall-mounted signs, 20 square feet each in addition to the existing free standing signs resulting in three signs where only one is permitted. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mr. Wall moved to adjourn at 8:45 PM. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary