NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF June 5, 2008

The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, June 5, 2008 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: John Lenihan, Chairman; Victoria Bowe, Vice Chairman; David Katz, Secretary; Karen Doorley and William Wall members. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq. and Justine Gregor, Stenographer.

Call to Order

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

The Pledge of Allegiance

Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Doorley moved to accept the minutes of May 1, 2008. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

The agenda was reviewed:

  • Continued Application of Crossing Community Church – 80 Lower Silver Lake Road

  • Continued Application of Dr. & Mrs. Kim - 27 Sibelius Road

  • Continued Application of James McLaughlin - 174 Durham Road

  • Continued Application of Emmanuel Fashakin - 11 Waterford Place

  • Continued Application of Mike & Michelle Reilly - 4 Hillview Drive

  • Continued Application of Michael Sullivan - 178 Durham Road

  • Application of Newtown Park and Recreation Department – Durham Road

  • Application of Stephen C. Costalas – 26 Delaney Drive

  • Application of Thomas H. and Helen B. Landolt - 375 Stoopville Road

  • Application of Lithos, L.P - 10 Friends Lane

  • Application of Newtown Township - 100 Municipal Drive

Continued Application of Crossing Community Church

Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that this application has been withdrawn.

Continued Application of Mike & Michelle Reilly

Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that this applicant has requested that the application be continued until July.

Mr. Katz moved to continue the application of Mike and Michelle Reilly to July 3, 2008. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Continued Application of Michael Sullivan

Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that Susan Piette, attorney for the applicant has requested that the application be continued until the August meeting.

Mr. Wall moved to continue the application of Michael Sullivan to August 7, 2008. Mr. Katz seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Continued Application of James McLaughlin

Mr. Auchinleck reminded that Board that this application had been previously read into the record and continued.

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

James McLaughlin was sworn in. Mr. McLaughlin explained that he had applied for and been granted variances for impervious surface and lot width in order to subdivide his property in 2007. When that application had been prepared, neither his engineer nor the Township’s codes department realized that the proposed location of his garage would require a variance for front yard setback. The garage will be build on an existing pad which has a 40 foot setback where 60 feet is required. No additional impervious surface will be created. In response to questions from the Board, Mr. McLaughlin said that this was an oversight and should have been part of his original application.

Resident Steven Liesner of 172 Durham Road was sworn in. Mr. Liesner said that he opposes this application, noting that the garage would be located in his view. He noted that Mr. McLaughlin already has a garage on the property that had been converted to an in-law suite; this could be converted back into a garage.

Audrey Liesner of 172 Durham Road was sworn in. She said that she had been disappointed in the actions of the Zoning Hearing Board when Mr. McLaughlin last appeared. She felt that the Board has not considered the good of the surrounding community in rendering its decision and asked that an additional variance not be granted.

Mrs. Doorley said that, as a new Board member, she is unfamiliar with the previous application of Mr. McLaughlin, and asked that he review it.

Mr. McLaughlin said that his parents-in-law had moved here from Alabama after their home had been destroyed in a hurricane. They had been living in an in-law suite on his property for a time. He subdivided his lot to build them a house of their own. Regarding comments from the Liesners, Mr. McLaughlin noted that his proposed garage is about 300 feet from the Liesner home and is buffered by substantial landscaping. He has recently planted 15 trees along this portion of his property, and installed a rain garden for stormwater management. He has also installed a light on the driveway at the Liesners’ request.

In response to Mrs. Bowe’s question, Mr. McLaughlin confirmed that the new home will be occupied by his parents-in-law, and that there is no other suitable location for the garage. It is to be constructed over existing impervious surface.

Mr. McLaughlin entered as Exhibit A-1 the plan from his 2007 application, pointing out that the setback area in question was clearly shown on that plan.

Mr. Wall moved to grant a variance from section 404(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 2-car garage addition to an existing 2-story single-family detached dwelling resulting in a 40 feet front yard setback where 60 feet is required. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Continued Application of Emmanuel Fashakin

Mr. Auchinleck reminded that Board that this application had been read into the record and continued.

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

Emmanuel Fashakin was sworn in. Mr. Fashakin explained that he wishes to build a tennis court and swimming pool on his property at 11 Waterford Place. He would have 12% impervious surface where 15% is permitted. A portion of the tennis court would be within the setback. Tall trees buffer the property line between his proposed tennis court and the Township owned open space. A retention basin is next to his property. His neighbors and his homeowners association support his plans.

Mr. Auchinleck said that Waterford Estates’ final plan had given each lot 7718 square feet of impervious surface. An additional 8,692 square feet of impervious surface is sought for the pool and tennis courts. The Zoning Hearing Board cannot amend the approved final plan, but can only grant zoning relief. If Zoning Hearing Board relief is granted from the Ordinance, the applicant can seek to amend the final plan at the County. He advised Mr. Fashakin to investigate whether any further steps are needed to amend the final plan that is on file with the recorder of deeds if a variance is granted.

Mr. Fashakin said that it was his understanding that at one time the roads in the development had not been dedicated to the Township, so that portion of impervious surface had been divided among the property owners. The roads have since been dedicated.

The Board questioned the need for setback relief. Mrs. Doorley asked whether the tennis court could be placed within the permitted setback area. She expressed some concern about locating Mr. Fashakin’s improvements close to land that in the future could be developed for active recreation, which could involve lighting and noise.

Mr. Wall noted that the property seems large enough to move the tennis court closer to the house so that a variance would not be required. He asked whether there are issues with the sloping of the property.

Mr. Fashakin said that the location was chosen to afford maximum use of the tennis court. If placed elsewhere it would be exposed to sun all day. This location allows for some shade.

Mrs. Doorley said that she has spoken to Peggy Driscoll of the Waterford Place Homeowners Association. There is no objection to the plan.

Township Solicitor Jeffrey Garton said that the Board of Supervisors does not object to this plan, but would suggest that, should relief be granted, a condition be added acknowledging that the tennis court will be within the setback adjacent to Township property designated for active recreation.

Mr. Wall moved to grant a variance from Section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 as affected by the Waterford Estates Final Plan to permit construction of a 750 square feet pool, 1,100 square feet of decking, 120 square feet of coping and a 7,200 square feet tennis court resulting in an impervious cover of 16,410 square feet where 7,718 square feet is permitted and a 20.2 square feet side yard where 50 feet is required and a 22.9 feet rear yard setback where 60 feet is required, subject to the condition that the applicant acknowledge his awareness that the adjacent property, owned by Newtown Township, could be developed for active recreation. Mr. Katz seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Continued Application of Dr. & Mrs. Kim

Mr. Auchinleck reminded the Board that this hearing had been opened and the application read into the record at a previous meeting.

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

David Kim and Vince Piscitelli, pool contractor, were sworn in.

Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant. Mr. Marshal said that the applicant is seeking a variance for 24.3% impervious surface to install a pool, deck, spa, cabana, walkway and fish pond in his yard. He entered the following exhibits:

  • Exhibit A-1 – Deed to property, highlighted page #2, not original owners, property subdivided by Orleans from an older development on Sibelius Road
  • Exhibit A-2 – Plot Plan
  • Exhibit A-3 – Orleans re-plotting of Eagle Glenn; this property had been an outparcel of original development
  • Exhibit A-4 – Decision of Zoning Hearing Board dated June 8, 2001, granting the Hou family a similar variance of 25% impervious surface for a pool

Dr. Kim said that he is familiar with the plan entered as exhibit A-2. If all of the amenities are built he will have a total of 7064 square feet of impervious surface. He has two children and is eager to improve his yard for his family’s enjoyment. He’s profession of dentistry is stressful and he would like to have a relaxing place in his yard. There are three other pools on his street.

Mrs. Doorley expressed some concern that that increase in impervious surface is excessive and said that she would like the plans reduced by about 1,000 square feet.

Mr. Katz expressed some concern about the additional run-off from the added impervious surface. He said that some applicants have agreed to add stormwater management to control additional run-off. He asked whether Dr. Kim would consider doing this.

Mr. Marshall referred to Exhibit A-1, noting that the redevelopment of Eagle Glenn contains 18.55 acres of preserved open space. Referring to the findings in Exhibit A-4, he noted that the stormwater management for Eagle Glen would be capable of handling additional run-off.

Mr. Piscitelli said that he is familiar with the plans shown in Exhibit A-2. He said that the pool is not extremely large, and can contain 6 inches of run-off. Grass surrounds the pool.

Mr. Wall said that he would like to table the application to allow the applicant to investigate ways to contain the additional run-off.

Mr. Marshall entered as Exhibit A-5 a plan for surface drainage management.

Mr. Piscitelli said that the plan shows seepage beds to contain and infiltrate run-off based on a 100-year storm.

Mr. Lenihan said that he had visited the site. He asked if the stones beneath the swing set were included in the impervious surface calculations.

Mr. Piscitelli said that he was not aware that this would be considered impervious surface. The applicant would replace the stones with mulch if necessary.

Mr. Auchinleck suggested that the codes office would determine whether the stones are impervious, and if so, should be considered in calculating impervious surface.

Mr. Katz moved to grant a variance from section 401(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 700 square feet pool and spa, 500 square feet of decking and coping, 24 square feet equipment pad, 185 square feet cabana, 145 square feet fish pond, and a 177 square feet walk resulting in a 24.33% impervious surface ratio where 20% is the maximum permitted, subject to the condition that a stormwater management system be designed and installed to contain run-off above 20% impervious surface and that the Township engineer and codes office determine whether the area beneath the swing set is impervious surface. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Newtown Township Department of Parks and Recreation, owners, requesting a variance from section 702.1(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a recreational park with athletic fields, parking, and associated improvements resulting in an impervious surface ratio of 9.1% where the maximum permitted is 8%. The property is the Woll Tract at Durham and Eagle Roads in the POS Park and Open Space Zoning District also known as Tax Map Parcel #29-3-25-2.

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

Township Solicitor Jeffrey Garton represented the applicant.

Sharon Dotts was sworn in.

Mr. Garton entered as Exhibit A-1 the plan for a park at the site. He said that the property is to be developed as a municipal park with playing fields, internal trails and a parking area. The land is zoned POS, which allows 8% impervious surface. It is ADA compliant. The stormwater facilities are designed to accommodate impervious surface in excess of 9.1%.

Ms. Dotts, a licensed engineer on the project agreed with Mr. Garton’s summary of the application. In response to Mr. Auchinleck’s question, she explained that the dotted lines on Exhibit A-1 show a conceptual plan for possible future development. These plans are not proposed at this time and are not part of the application.

Mr. Lenihan moved to grant a variance from section 702.1(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a recreational park with athletic fields, parking, and associated improvements resulting in an impervious surface ratio of 9.1% where the maximum permitted is 8%. Mr. Katz seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Application of Newtown Township

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Newtown Township, owners, requesting a variance from section 700.1(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a new municipal administration building resulting in a 25.7 feet front yard setback where 75 feet is required. The property is 100 Municipal Drive in the MS Municipal Services Zoning District also known as Tax Map Parcel #29-3-19, 29-3-18-2, 29-3-18-1 and 29-3-18-4.

Township Solicitor Jeffrey Garton represented the applicant.

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

Township Engineer Michele Fountain was sworn in.

Mr. Garton entered as Exhibit A-1 the plan for the proposed municipal complex expansion. He said that the administration building will have three front yards. It meets setback requirements on all but one side of Municipal Drive. The other proposed construction meets with the Ordinance. In response to questions from the Board he said that the building is aligned with the other structures on the complex facing Durham Road.

Ms. Fountain agreed with Mr. Garton’s summary of the plans.

Mrs. Bowe moved to grant a variance from section 700.1(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a new municipal administration building resulting in a 25.7 feet front yard setback where 75 feet is required. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Application of Stephen C. Costalas

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Stephen C. Costalas, owner, requesting a variance from section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 20 feet by 45 feet open wood deck resulting in a 25 feet rear yard setback where 30 feet is required. The property is 26 Delaney Drive in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District also known as Tax Map Parcel #29-20-45 lot 16.

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

Stephen C. Costalas was sworn in. He said that he lives at 26 Delaney Drive with his wife and two children. He would like to build a treks deck at the back of his property. It is not visible from his neighbors’ yards; they support his application. His house backs to open space. In response to questions from the Board he noted the setback line and said that his homeowners association does not object to his plan.

Mr. Wall moved to grant a variance from section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 20 feet by 45 feet open wood deck resulting in a 25 feet rear yard setback where 30 feet is required. Mr. Katz seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Application of Thomas H. and Helen B. Landolt

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Thomas H. and Helen B. Landolt, owners, requesting a special exception under section 1208(C)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a new single-family dwelling on a non-conforming lot. The property is 375 Stoopville Road in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District also known as Tax Map Parcel #29-27-11 and 29-7-11.2.

Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant.

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

Thomas H. Landolt was sworn in.

Mr. Marshall entered the following exhibits:

  • Exhibit A-1 – Plan
  • Exhibit A-2 – Deed to parcel #1
  • Exhibit A-3 – Deed to parcel #2
  • Exhibit A-4 – Correspondence All County Engineering to Codes officer Mike Solomon
  • Exhibit A-5 – Section 1000 of JMZO outlining standards for non-conforming lots
  • Exhibit A-6 – Photograph of existing property
  • Exhibit A-7 – Plan for proposed house

Mr. Marshall explained that the applicant intends to combine two existing non-conforming lots, creating a new lot that will be less non-conforming. The combined lots will have an area of 1.23 acres. The existing structure will be removed. The new house requires a 200 foot frontage, but will only have 160.23 feet. The front yard setback will be 135 feet in compliance with the Ordinance; the existing house was only set back 68.9 feet. Toll Brothers will be dedicating a portion of Stoopville Road back to the property owners when Stoopville is realigned, making the front yard longer. The side yard is 38.9 feet where 50 feet is required, but this is also less non-conforming than the existing structure. The rear setbacks conform to the Ordinance. The impervious surface will be 10.2% where 15% is the maximum permitted. The adjoining neighbors are supportive of the plan. The lots will be combined by a deed of merger. The existing house will be demolished within 90 days of issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the new house.

Mr. Landolt confirmed that Mr. Marshall’s presentation is accurate. The planned new building is in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood. In response to questions from the Board, he said that the house would have an attached garage. He will live in the house with his family. He does have an outstanding mortgage which will be satisfied by the new construction mortgage.

Mr. Auchinleck said that a deed of merger must be filed before a new mortgage or building permits are issued. He suggested to the Board that if a special exception is granted, it should be conditioned on recording of a deed of merger, and should require the demolition of the existing house after the new house has been completed.

Mr. Wall moved to grant a special exception under section 1208(C)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a new single-family dwelling on a non-conforming lot subject to the condition that a deed of merger is filed and that the existing house be demolished within 90 days of issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the new house. Mr. Katz seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Application of Lithos, L.P.

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Lithos, L.P., owners, requesting variances from sections 903(B)(4)(a)(1)&(2), 1001(B)(3), 1001(F)(6)(a), and 1002(I) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 35,700 square feet 3-story addition to an existing 25,020 2-story office building resulting in 100% disturbance of steep slopes, 23% full size parking spaces rather than 25%, parking within 20 feet of the right of way, and no loading berths. The property is 10 Friends Lane in the LI Light Industrial Zoning District also known as Tax Map Parcel #29-10-99-4.

Attorney Ed Murphy represented the applicant.

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

Dr. Lucas Makris and Mark Havers of Pickering Corts and Summerson were sworn in.

Mr. Murphy entered as Exhibit A-1 a series of photographs of the existing detention basin.

Mr. Murphy explained that the applicant wishes to build a three-story addition to an existing 25,020 square foot building and is seeking variances for parking, steep slope disturbance and loading berths. No variance is required for increased height of the building. The steep slopes are man-made and will be disturbed to expand the existing detention basin. The parking variances do not seek to eliminate spaces. The applicant will provide the required number of parking spaces, but wishes to provide only 23% of 10 foot by 20 foot spaces instead of the required 25%. There would be 6 additional 9x18 foot parking spaces with the variance. He reviewed the locations of the full size spaces, noting that not all of the larger spaces are close to the building. The property will still be 11% below maximum impervious surface by providing the smaller parking stalls. Mr. Murphy pointed out that portions of seven parking spaces will encroach into the right-of-way. The use proposed is office use, so the applicant will not need loading berths.

Dr. Makris and Mr. Haver agreed with Mr. Murphy’s summary of the application.

In response to questions from the Board, Dr. Makris said that he might move his business, Bio-source Pharmaceutical Research to the building; he might lease to a tenant. Some of the parking spaces will remain in green unless or until needed.

Mr. Katz moved to grant variances from sections 903(B)(4)(a)(1)&(2), 1001(B)(3), 1001(F)(6)(a), and 1002(I) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 35,700 square feet 3-story addition to an existing 25,020 2-story office building resulting in 100% disturbance of steep slopes, 23% full size parking spaces rather than 25%, parking within 20 feet of the right of way, and no loading berths. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Adjournment

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

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary