NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF NOVEMBER 6, 2008

The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, November 6, 2008 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: John Lenihan, Chairman; Victoria Bowe, Vice-Chairman, David Katz, Secretary, William Wall and Karen Doorley, member. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor, Richard O’Brien, Codes Officer 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

Mr. Katz moved to accept the minutes of October 2, 2008. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Bowe abstaining.

The agenda was reviewed:

  • Application of Growth Horizons, Inc., 514 Washington Crossing Road

  • Application of Mr. and Mrs. Raj Kumar – 1 Harding Court

Application of Growth Horizon's Inc., Growth Horizon's Inc.

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Growth Horizon's Inc., Growth Horizon's Inc. owners requesting a special exception under Section 1208(C)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit an addition on a non-conforming lot. The subject property is 514 Washington Crossing Road, Newtown, in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-3-71-1.

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

Attorney Michael Sellers represented the applicant. Beth Davidson, Vice President of Growth Horizons, was sworn in.

Mr. Sellers entered the as Exhibit A-1, the application for a special exception and as Exhibits A-2, A-3, and A-4, a series of photographs of the property. He explained that a special exception is needed to build the proposed addition on a non-conforming lot.

Ms. Davidson explained that Growth Horizons has a group home for residential and vocational use by two adult men with mental retardation. One resident works full time and is transported to and from work by bus, the other works locally, part time, and spends a portion of each day exercising and swimming at the NAC. Growth Horizons would like to add a third bedroom and bathroom for a third resident at this location. The addition would be 18 X 26 feet or 468 square feet, at the read of the house. This is a 0.95 acre parcel.

In response to questions from the Board and from Mr. Auchinleck, Ms. Davidson said that the two men, and the proposed third resident, live as a family, with one cooking facility. A staff member, is on site at all times. There is one employee per shift, three shifts per day. The residents, with the employee, do all cooking. No residents drive, but one resident is picked up in the morning and dropped off in the early evening by Bucks County Transit.

In response to Mr. Lenihan’s question, Mr. Sellers said that the residents qualify for ADA consideration.

Mr. Lenihan said that he has visited the site. He explained that a special exception would be needed for a group home in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District, if there are 5 or more residents. The Board is ascertaining that the two, and proposed third resident, live as a family.

Mr. O’Brien had no comment.

Resident Dominic H. Sodano was sworn in. Mr. Sodano said that he lives at 512 Washington Crossing Road. He has concerns about the group home in the CM District. The house has three bedrooms, where a family of four had resided. He has concerns that this will become a nursing home, and affect his property value. He opposed the addition, which would allow for more than the stated three residents.

Mrs. Davidson reviewed again the routines of the two current residents. While there is a third bedroom, it is very small for an adult, and would not accommodate the necessary furniture. The proposed second bathroom will have a shower, which could not be added to the existing bathrooms.

Mr. Lenihan asked Mr. Sellers whether the applicant would accept as a condition of approval that only three residents could be housed at the location at one time.

Mr. Sellers indicated that the applicant would agree to such condition.

Mr. Wall moved to grant a special exception under Section 1208(C)(2) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit an addition on a non-conforming lot, subject to the condition that a maximum of three resident, excluding staff, live at the group home at any one time. Mr. Katz seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Application of Mr. and Mrs. Raj Kumar

Mr. Katz read into the record the application of Mr. and Mrs. Raj Kumar, Mr. and Mrs. Raj Kumar owners requesting a variance from Section 404(c) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 and New Haven Final Plan to permit a 9 feet by 25 feet covered front porch resulting in a 38 feet front yard where 40 feet is required. The subject property is 1 Harding Court, Newtown, in the R1 Medium Density Residential Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-5-2.

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

Raj Kumar was sworn in. Mr. Kumar explained that because the front door and large window over it both leak, he would like to replace them and protect the front of his house from the weather by adding a porch to the front of the house. If the porch is made 10 feet wide, it will be functional for a small table and some chairs. This will extend 2 feet into the required 40 foot setback. In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Kumar said that the large window will be removed and replaced by a smaller window, as depicted in the application. His Homeowners Association does not require an approval for the porch.

Mr. O’Brien had no comment.

Mr. Katz moved to grant a variance from Section 404(c) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 and New Haven Final Plan to permit a 9 feet by 25 feet covered front porch resulting in a 38 feet front yard where 40 feet is required. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Katz moved to adjourn at 8:05 PM. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary