ZONING HEARING BOARD
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF JUNE 2, 2011
The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, June 2, 2011 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Karen Doorley, Chairman, Brandon Wind, Vice Chairman; Mario Lionetti, Secretary, William Wall and Timothy Potero, members. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor and Michael Hartley, Code Enforcement Officer and Justine Gregor, Stenographer.
Call to Order
Mrs. Doorley called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Approval of the minutes was tabled.
The Pledge of Allegiance
The agenda was reviewed:
Continued Application of West 85 th LLC (Baylinks Golf) – 8 Pheasant Run
Application of Julie M. Laughlin – 420 Eagle Road
Application of The Saloon Restaurant, Inc. – 211-213 North Sycamore Street
Application of Julie M. Laughlin
Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Julie M. Laughlin, owner, requesting variances from section 401(C), 401(D)(1), 1000(C)(2)(a)&(c) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit demolition of an existing dwelling and build a 2-story, 2,745 square feet dwelling on a nonconforming lot resulting in a 59.9 feet front yard setback where 55.12 feet is existing and 100 feet is required, a 50 feet rear yard setback (44 feet for the patio) where 55.13 feet is existing and 60 feet is required, 144.13 feet width at the building set back line where 200 feet is required, a building envelope of less than 20,000 square feet, construction on a nonconforming lot that is 59% of the minimum lot size where 80% is required, a front and rear yard aggregate depth of 95.8 feet where 107.5 feet is required; and a special exception under section 1208(C)(2) to permit construction on a nonconforming lot. The subject property is 420 Eagle Road, in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-3-62.
Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone wished to be party to the application. There was no response.
Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant. Mr. Marshall entered the following exhibits:
Exhibit A-1 – Deed to the property
Exhibit A-2 – Assessment Board printout
Exhibit A-3 – Plot Plan
Exhibit A-4 – Architectural rendering of proposed new building.
Mr. Marshall explained that this is the first lot north of Stoopville Road on Eagle Road. There is an 1898 square foot split level house on the 25,830 square foot lot in the CM zoning district. Ms. Laughlin would like to remove this house and build a two-story, 2745 square foot home which she plans to live in. The new house will be narrower and deeper than the existing building, and similar in appearance to others in the neighborhood. The original house was built in 1953, with some renovations in 1969. The lot predates the current zoning ordinance.
Mr. Marshall referred to the plan and noted that only a portion of the patio will require a 44 foot rear yard setback, with the house, itself, needing a 50 foot setback. Mr. Marshall noted that, as outlined in Exhibit A-3, which shows the current building and proposed building, under current zoning, there is almost no building envelope at all. Almost the entire existing building is non-conforming.
Mr. Marshall reviewed the relief the applicant is seeking:
Ms. Laughlin was sworn in. She confirmed Mr. Marshall’s summary of her requests and confirmed that she intends to live in the house. The existing house would need major renovations. Ms. Laughlin is moving to a smaller house; she owns the adjoining property.
Mrs. Doorley asked whether the house will have a garage.
Ms. Laughlin said that the house will have a side entry garage, not visible in the architect’s rendering.
Mr. Auchinleck reviewed the two different building envelopes depicted on the plan.
Mr. Wall moved to grant variances from section 401(C), 401(D)(1), 1000(C)(2)(a)&(c) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit demolition of an existing dwelling and build a 2-story, 2,745 square feet dwelling on a nonconforming lot resulting in a 59.9 feet front yard setback where 55.12 feet is existing and 100 feet is required, a 44 feet rear yard setback (44 feet for the patio) where 55.13 feet is existing and 60 feet is required, 144.13 feet width at the building set back line where 200 feet is required, a building envelope of less than 20,000 square feet, construction on a nonconforming lot that is 59% of the minimum lot size where 80% is required, a front and rear yard aggregate depth of 95.8 feet where 107.5 feet is required; and a special exception under section 1208(C)(2) to permit construction on a nonconforming lot. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Continued Application of Baylinks Golf
Mr. Auchinleck reminded the Board that it had continued this application to allow the applicant to consider a revision of his request for three different signs.
Applicant Robert Murray was reminded that he is still under oath.
Mr. Murray provided copies of his exhibits to Mrs. Doorley and Mr. Wall, who were not in attendance at the previous meeting. He entered as Exhibit A-2, a supplementary packet of photographs. He explained that he had initially requested three signs, a wall mounted sign over the entrance to the facility, a freestanding directional sign at the driveway and a freestanding sign at the intersection of Terry Drive and Pheasant Run. He has eliminated the request for the sign near the driveway. He noted that there are three utility boxes and a large stand of trees which would block the view of the driveway sign from the intersection. He would like to have the sign at the intersection with a directional arrow pointing to the Terry Drive entrance and the sign over the doorway, only. He has not reduced the size of the doorway sign; he would like it to be visible from Terry Drive. The freestanding sign at the intersection would be 10 square feet.
Mr. Wind asked if the size of the Cosi sign were known, for comparison.
Mr. Murray said that he did not know the size of the Cosi sign, which is not set back as far as his proposed sign. There are there no trees blocking visibility to Cosi.
Mr. Lionetti said that he has visited the site and now agrees that a monument sign with a directional arrow would be needed at the intersection.
Mr. Wind said that he is concerned that if one sign is granted, other tenants in the Commons will ask for monument signage of equal size.
The members discussed the various signs which have already been erected in the Commons. They agreed that because this business’s entrance is not on the same street as its address, the monument sign with arrow is necessary. Mrs. Doorley asked whether a 10 square foot sign would work for Mr. Murray’s need.
Mr. Murray said that he could work with the 10 square foot size on a monument sign at the intersection and the larger sign over his entrance doorway.
Mr. Auchinleck reminded the Board that the sign size is limited to the sign itself, exclusive of pillars and other mounting.
Mr. Murray said that the wall sign would be 4 feet high by 16 feet long, or 64 square feet.
Mr. Wall moved to grant variances from sections 1106 (G)(2) and (G)(4)(a) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit two signs for individual use (C-6 health club) in multi-tenant building, a wall mounted sign of 64 square feet and a monument sign of 12 square feet, exclusive of pillars and mounting, at the intersection of Terry Drive and Pheasant Run. The monument sign is to be a directional sign. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Application of The Saloon Restaurant, Inc.
Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of the Saloon Restaurant, Inc., Lessee, Vitella Real Estate Partnership, owner, requesting a variance from section 805 (E-3)(4) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit a 57 feet by 15 feet outdoor patio deck (to accommodate outdoor restaurant seating for 34 additional seats) be constructed over 5 existing parking spaces (shared with parcel 29-12-16) leaving 41 spaces where 85 spaces are required. The subject property is 211-213 North Sycamore Street, Newtown, in the TC Town Commercial Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel # 29-12-16.
Attorney Shawn Ward represented the applicant.
Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone wished to be party to this application.
Vincent Lombardi, 125 North Sycamore Street, asked for party status in support of the application.
Mr. Ward entered a memorandum in support of the request and an exhibit packet, Exhibits A-1 through A-8, which includes a series of photographs and plans. Mr. Ward explained that the applicant, Dean Evangelou, leases the property and is the owner of the restaurant business at this location. It is an E-5 eating place use in the TC Town Commercial zoning district. Mr. Evangelou proposes to build a 730 square foot deck with no enclosure, which would require removal of 5 parking spaces. The current plan shows 51 parking spaces, while the approved plan shows 46 spaces. The lot had been resealed and restriped. With the new deck, the restaurant will have 46 spaces. The applicant shares parking with the adjacent building and there are 28 on-street parking spaces available. The proposed patio is for seasonal use and will not be enclosed. During the nice weather, business at the Saloon falls off significantly; Mr. Evangelou wants to be able to offer outside dining to compete with other restaurants in the area. Mr. Evangelou will work with HARB on the appearance and colors for the deck.
Mr. Ward entered as Exhibit A-9, a cross-easement agreement with 213 North Sycamore Street for shared parking. An additional cross easement exists with Dentists of Newtown for shared parking. The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors have reviewed the application and have no objections. The Supervisors did ask that the deck have no live music, no bar, no enclosure and that the agreement with Dentists of Newtown be formalized. There are currently no parking issues. The dental office has 18 spaces.
Dean Angelou and Vincent Lombardi were sworn in.
Mr. Angelou affirmed Mr. Ward’s summary of his application.
In response to Mr. Auchinleck’s questions, Mr. Ward said that the cross-easement with Mr. Deon, owner of the adjacent property, is recorded. The agreement with Dentists of Newtown has been formalized and will be recorded. Mr. Evangelou has a lease and right of first refusal.
Mr. Wind asked about amplified music.
Mr. Ward said that the deck will not have live music and no DJ. There could be some low, ambient recorded music through speakers.
Mr. Lionetti asked about the existing porch.
Mr. Ward said that the new deck will be attached to the existing porch. The handicapped entrance is through the doors on the porch. Entry to the deck will be through a new door from the interior of the restaurant; one of the windows will be removed.
Mr. Auchinleck asked about a bar or drink service.
Mr. Ward said that there will not be a separate bar on the deck. There will be table service for drinks and meals.
The members discussed access directly to the deck from the parking lot. Mr. Wind had some concern about overflow of diners waiting to be seated spilling onto the parking lot if the hostess station were to be on the deck.
Mr. Ward said that the hostess station will be inside, as it is now. The deck will be surrounded by planters which will serve as bollards.
Mr. Lombardi said that he is representing the Sycamore Street Community Association. The Association is in full support of this application, which will bring new life to that portion of Sycamore Street, and will improve and enhance the streetscape. The parking lot is an eyesore; the deck will screen it from the street.
Resident John Lenihan was sworn in. He said that he is a frequent patron of the Saloon and is supportive of the application. There has never been any parking problem at the restaurant and the deck will enhance Sycamore Street and improve the business, which will be good for the Township. He urged the Board to grant the relief sought.
Mr. Lionetti moved to grant variance from section 805 (E-3)(4) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit a 57 feet by 15 feet outdoor patio deck (to accommodate outdoor restaurant seating for 34 additional seats) be constructed over 5 existing parking spaces (shared with parcel 29-12-16) leaving 46 spaces where 85 spaces are required, subject to the following conditions:
Mr. Wall seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Wall asked if this variance runs with the business or the property.
Mr. Auchinleck said that the variance is for the property.
The motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Wall moved to adjourn at 9:30 PM. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary