NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF MARCH 4, 2010

The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, March 4, 2010 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman David Katz, Vice Chairman Karen Doorley, Secretary Mario Lionetti, William Wall and Brandon Wind. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor, John Boyle, Code Enforcement Officer and Justine Gregor, Stenographer.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Agenda was reviewed:

  • Application of Frank Mayo, 1 Crittenden Drive
  • Application of Third Federal Bank, 66 Walker Lane
  • Application of Burns Auto Repair, 19 North Sycamore Street

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Lionetti moved to accept the minutes of January 7, 2010. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Application of Frank Mayo, 1 Crittenden Drive

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Frank Mayo, owner, requesting a variance from section 803(H-8)(1)(b) to permit installation of a 30 feet by 15 feet in-ground pool with coping, decking and equipment pad in the front yard where no pools are permitted in the front yard. The property is located at 1 Crittenden Drive in the R-1 Medium Density Residential Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-23-114.

Frank Mayo and Jacob Fahs were sworn in.

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

Mr. Mayo explained that he would like to install a pool on his property at the rear of his house, but because his is a corner property he has three front yards. The back of his house backs to Eagle Road.

Mr. Wind asked if he has reviewed his plans with his homeowners association.

Mr. Mayo entered as Exhibit A-1 a letter of approval from the Cliveden Homeowners Association and as Exhibit A-2, a letter from his neighbor at 19 Crittenden Drive, supporting the plans.

Mrs. Doorley asked whether a variance would be required for impervious surface.

Mr. Fahs, contractor for the project, said that the property is currently 20.29% impervious surface; the pool would bring the total to 23% for the coping and decking around the pool. This development has a 35% impervious surface maximum total, and for this PRD, the pool surface is not considered for the purpose of calculating impervious surface.

Resident Judy Norkin was sworn in. Ms. Norkin said that she is a member of the Cliveden Homeowners Association. She asked about plans for fencing and landscaping, as this property is visible from the road.

Mr. Mayo said that he will have a four foot fence around the pool. The distance from the curb to the fence is 8 feet. He plans to use landscape screening around the pool to shield it from the road and to provide some privacy. He said that he did not want to install a taller stockade fence because it would require a variance and because he did not want to obstruct sight distances at the school bus stop on his corner.

Mr. Wind asked whether the setbacks for the pool comply.

Mr. Auchinleck confirmed that the plan complies with setback requirements.

Mr. Boyle said that the property was posted on February 24, 2010.

Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from section 803(H-8)(1)(b) to permit installation of a 30 feet by 15 feet in-ground pool with coping, decking and equipment pad in the front yard where no pools are permitted in the front yard. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Application of Third Federal Bank, 66 Walker Lane

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the applicationof Third Federal Bank, owner, requesting a variance from section 803(D-1)(5) to permit occupancy of 5000 square feet of G-1 manufacturing space as an D-1 office use with 13 assigned parking spaces where 25 are required. The property is located at 66 Walker Lane in the L-I Light Industrial Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-10-99-1-4.

Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant.

Wayne Bishop, Vice President of Third Federal, was sworn in.

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

Mr. Marshall explained that Third Federal is the equitable owner of a 5000 square foot condominium flex space at 66 Walker Lane, unit #4, which will be converted to office space. He entered as Exhibit A-1 a plan of 66 Walker Lane showing the numbered parking spaces, with 13 assigned to unit 4. He entered as Exhibit A-2 a plan for Third Federal Bank’s 3 Penns Trail property, noting that the properties are contiguous and that a walking path runs between the two buildings’ parking areas. The property at 3 Penns Trail is corporate office space with no bank branch and is use D-1, as will be the space at 66 Walker Lane. At that address the bank also owns unit #3.

Mr. Marshall said that the Ordinance requires 25 parking spaces for 5,000 square feet of D-1 office space. Third Federal has 14,752 square feet at 3 Penns Trail, requiring 74 parking spaces. There are 86 spaces at that location. Employees walk between the two buildings throughout the business day on a paved path. Third Federal proposes to assign 12 spaces at 3 Penns Trail to the 66 Walker Lane site.

Mr. Bishop agreed with Mr. Marshall’s presentation. He stated that the 66 Walker Lane site will be offices for the retail services department; no retail customers will visit the site.

Mrs. Doorley asked Mr. Marshall to review the parking at 66 Walker Lane.

Mr. Marshall pointed out 13 spaces assigned to unit 4, including the area used as a loading dock, which would not be needed so would become a regular parking space. The condo building also has 16 additional parking spaces not specifically assigned to any unit, but for general use.

Mr. Marshall entered as Exhibit A-3 a letter from Township Solicitor Jeffrey Garton, written at the suggestion of the Board of Supervisors, requesting that “the parking arrangements be memorialized in the from of an easement or other similar document”, as the Board had some concern that the proposed parking arrangement might not carry through should either property change owners.

Mr. Marshall said that the applicant would propose a deed restriction so that if the spaces at 3 Penns Trail were no longer available the office use at 66 Walker Lane would no longer be available. He explained that the condos were built as flex space, a combination of warehouse and office space.

Mr. Auchinleck asked about planned improvements for 66 Walker Lane.

Mr. Bishop said that three offices and an open desk area would be installed for 11 full time and two part time evening employees. The space is currently a bakery.

Mr. Lionetti asked about a deed restriction on the property.

Mr. Auchinleck explained that with a deed restriction, if either property were sold and off site parking were no longer available, the occupant of 66 Walker Lane would have to revert to flex space use or return to the Zoning Hearing Board. Any future tenant would need an occupancy permit, which would provide the Township with an opportunity to review the deed restriction.

Mr. Lionetti expressed some concern about future parking arrangements if both properties are not owned by the same entity.

Mr. Marshall said that he has spoken to Mr. Garton about possible deed restrictions rather than easements. He noted that the building at 66 Walker Lane was constructed before the zoning was changed to increase impervious surface and reduce parking stall size. The property could be altered to add more parking spaces.

Mr. Boyle noted that the property had been posted on February 24, 2010.

Mr. Wall moved to grant a variance from section 803(D-1)(5) to permit occupancy of 5000 square feet of G-1 manufacturing space as an D-1 office use with 13 assigned parking spaces where 25 are required, subject to the condition that the parking arrangements to provide 12 additional parking spaces at 3 Penns Trail be memorialized in the form of an easement or other similar document to the satisfaction of the Township solicitor. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 3-2, with Messrs Wind and Lionetti voting nay.

Application of Burns Auto Repair, 19 North Sycamore Street

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Burns Auto Repair Inc, owner, requesting a variance from sections 1106(F)(2)&(5)(a) to permit installation of an additional 14 square feet double sided identification sign for an E-10 service business where only one sign is permitted, such sign to be six feet high where five feet is the maximum permitted height, The property is located at 19 N. Sycamore Street in the TC Town Commercial Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-12-6.

Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant.

Dave Burns was sworn in.

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

Mr. Marshall entered as Exhibit A-1, a depiction of the proposed sign. He noted that the design has been reduced so as not to require variances for height and size. The sign will be 60 inches high and 26”X48”, a total of 12 square feet.

Mr. Burns said that his is a full service gas and auto repair business with six bays. He has the Shell insignia and price signs and the state required inspection sign. He wants to add the new sign to advertise the repair business. Many customers are unaware that in addition to gas sales and inspections, the business offers repairs. The words “Auto Repair” appear on the building. He had considered removing those words, but has concerns that removal of the letters could reveal damage or discoloration to the brick wall beneath the lettering. He understands that the sign will need HARB approval. This proposed sign is similar to other signs along Sycamore Street in the Historic District.

Mr. Marshall entered as Exhibit A-2 a plot plan showing the location of the new sign on the grass island between the sidewalk and the service station.

Mr. Marshall said that additional signage cannot be added to the Shell sign because it is owned by Shell. The application has been reviewed by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, with neither body having objections. The Board of Supervisors did not object to leaving the banner sign on the building.

Mrs. Doorley asked whether the installation would cause any sight distance difficulties for vehicles exiting the station.

Mr. Burns said that the sign is set back to allow clear sight distance to both sides of Sycamore Street.

Mr. Boyle noted that the property had been posted on February 24, 2010.

Resident Vincent Lombardi said that he was in attendance to support Mr. Burns’ application.

Mrs. Doorley moved to grant a variance from sections 1106(F)(2) to permit installation of an additional 12 square feet double sided identification sign for an E-10 service business where only one sign is permitted. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Lionetti moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary