NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF AUGUST 6, 2009

The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, August 6, 2009 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: John Lenihan, Chairman; Karen Doorley, Secretary and William Wall, member. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor, John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager 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. Wall moved to accept the minutes of July 2, 2009. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 3-0.

The Agenda was reviewed:

  • Application of Dina Brilliant and George Segel
  • Application of Michael and Michelle Reilly
  • Application of Suzanne Brennan
  • Application of Grainhouse Developers, LLC

Application of Dina Brilliant and George Segel

Mrs. Doorley read into the record the application of Dina Brilliant and George Segel owners requesting a variance from Section 1208(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of 1,292 square feet second story addition which will increase the height of a non-conforming structure where such is not permitted. The subject property is 391 Eagle Road, Newtown, in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-3-55.

Dina Brilliant and George Segel were sworn in.

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

Ms. Brilliant explained that she wished to add a second story to her home to include a master bedroom and bath and children’s bedrooms. She entered as Exhibits A-1 through A-5, a series of photographs of her home and the other homes immediately surrounding hers. She said that all are two story houses. Her home is set back farther from the street than any of the neighbors. In response to questions from the Board she said that there will be an enclosed connection from the house to the dental office, but no expansion to the dental office is planned. The house was built after World War I, but she is not sure of the exact age.

Mr. Boyle said that the property had been posted on July 30, 2009.

Mrs. Doorley moved to grant a variance from Section 1208(B) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of 1,292 square feet second story addition which will increase the height of a non-conforming structure where such is not permitted. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed 3-0.

Application of Suzanne Brennan

Mrs. Doorley read into the record the application of Susanne Brennan owners requesting a variance from Section 803(H-1)(9) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a hair salon business to be conducted out of an existing 400 square feet detached garage where a hair salon is not a permitted home occupation. The subject property is 509 Washington Crossing Road, Newtown, in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-10-58-2.

Suzanne Brennan and Timothy Brennan were sworn in.

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

Ms. Brennan explained that she is a hair stylist and her previous employer’s shop has closed. She would like to have a small beauty salon in her garage.

Mr. Lenihan said that he had visited the site and asked about the buildings on the property.

Ms. Brennan explained that the beauty show would be in the two door garage. The second floor is for storage. The other garage is for storage for her farm equipment.

The Board asked questions about the hair styling arrangements in the proposed shop.

Ms. Brennan said that she would be able to work on two clients at the same time. She plans to have four styling chairs and one employee. The shop is only 400 square feet so there would not be room for more than four styling chairs. Ms. Brennan said that there would probably be two customers at a time scheduled at 30 minute intervals, so she did not anticipate any problems with entry and exit onto the road. She has already removed trees to improve sight distance.

Ms. Brennan reviewed her proposed hours of operation as follows:

  • Wednesday – 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday - 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday – 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday – 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Mrs. Doorley said that she is familiar with the site and feels it would be adequate for the home occupation described. She explained that the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision would dictate the hours and number of employees. She suggested that Ms. Brennan consider asking for at least one evening per week.

The Board discussed the appropriate number of styling chairs, employees and hours of operation. Mr. Lenihan asked about parking.

Mr. Brennan said that there is a very large area of crushed stone which could accommodate a large number of cars. The property is more than 4.5 acres.

Mrs. Doorley noted that the application included a letter with the signatures of 13 neighbors who support the application.

Mr. Boyle said that the property was posted on July 30, 2009.

Mr. Wall moved to grant a variance from Section 803(H-1)(9) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a hair salon business to be conducted out of an existing 400 square feet detached garage where a hair salon is not a permitted home occupation, subject to the following conditions:

  • Hours of operation would be four days per week, with three days from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and one day per week until 8:00 PM
  • A total of three employees plus the owner would be permitted
  • A maximum of three styling chairs would be permitted.

Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 3-0.

Application of Michael and Michelle Reilly

Mrs. Doorley read into the record the application of Michael and Michelle Reilly owners requesting a variance from Section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of two decks in the rear yard resulting in a rear yard set back of 35.6 feet where 50 feet is required. The subject property is 4 Hillview Drive, Newtown, in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-316-2-6.

Schaunn McKarmey of Woodway Construction was sworn in.

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

Mr. McKarmey explained that Mr. and Mrs. Reilly had built a pool and patio on their property but had changed a portion of the plan to a deck in order to meet the impervious surface requirement. It was later discovered that a portion of the deck will need setback relief of 14.5 feet.

Mrs. Doorley questioned the need for the second deck. This is a small lot with a very large deck, patio and pool. The drop is only two feet from the upper level to the pool. It would not be necessary. She did not see that this is a hardship.

Mr. Wall noted that he could see the reason to want to continue the decking from one level to the other.

Mr. Lenihan said that he is appreciative that the applicant is using decking, rather than additional impervious surface. He also noted that the setback encroachment is to the rear of the property.

Mr. Boyle said that the property was posted on July 30, 2009.

Mr. Lenihan moved to grant a variance from Section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of two decks in the rear yard resulting in a rear yard set back of 35.6 feet where 50 feet is required. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed 2-1, with Mrs. Doorley voting nay.

Application of Grainhouse Developers, LLC

Mrs. Doorley read into the record the application of Grainhouse Developers LLC, owners requesting a variance from Section 1106(G)(4)(a) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a 32 square feet joint use sign where the maximum permitted sign size is 20 square feet. The subject property is 11 Penns Trail, Newtown, in the LI Light Industrial Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-10-97.

Karen Miller was sworn in.

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

Ms. Miller explained that she has completed renovations to a 50,000 square foot warehouse building in the Newtown Business Commons, creating six offices, all leased and occupied. She telephoned the Township about erecting a multi-tenant sign and was told by Code Enforcement Officer Mike Galla that her plan was approved. She later learned from Kristie Kaznicki of the Codes Department that Mr. Galla was mistaken and that a variance is required for signs over 20 square feet. In response to questions from the Board she said that she has built in the Commons before. Her last building was completed six years ago. She knew that there were sign restrictions, and that is why she phoned first. There are a number of signs in the Commons greater than 20 square feet. She has tried to keep the sign tasteful, not allowing tenants to include any logos or other information. The size is necessary so that motorists can find the tenants as they drive by.

Mr. Lenihan agreed that perhaps the sign ordinance should be revised in the Business Commons, as so many buildings are being renovated to house multiple tenants.

Mr. Boyle noted that the property had been posted on July 30, 2009.

Mr. Wall moved to grant a variance from Section 1106(G)(4)(a) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a 32 square feet joint use sign where the maximum permitted sign size is 20 square feet. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 3-0.

Mr. Wall moved to adjourn at 8:30 PM. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 3-0.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary