The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, January 5, 2012 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Karen Doorley, Brandon Wind, Timothy Potero and Michael Iapalucci. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor, Michael Hartey, Code Enforcement Officer and Justine Gregor, Stenographer.

Call to Order

Mr. Auchinleck called the meeting to order. He welcomed newly appointed member Michael Iapalucci to the Board.

Organization of Board

Mr. Wind nominated Mrs. Doorley to serve as chairman. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mrs. Doorley nominated Mr. Wind to serve as vice chairman. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mr. Wind nominated Mr. Lionetti to serve as secretary. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mrs. Doorley moved to appoint Mr. Auchinleck to serve as solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mrs. Doorley moved to appoint Mary Donaldson to serve as recording secretary. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

The agenda was reviewed:

Continued Application of Brian Mills, 1 Hillside Drive

Application of McDonald’s USA, LLC, 2875 South Eagle Road

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Auchinleck suggested that the approval of the minutes be tabled until the February meeting, when Mr. Lionetti would be in attendance.

Application of McDonald’s USA, LLC

Mr. Wind read into the record the application of McDonald’s USA LLC, lessee, Newtown Village Plaza Associates LP, owner, requesting a variances from sections 1101(B)(5) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit a new 3,911 square feet McDonald’s Restaurant with a portion of a one-way driving aisle leading to the drive through window that will be 18 feet wide instead of the designated 25 feet wide aisle width. The subject property is 2875 South Eagle Road, in PC Planned Commercial Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-10-24-6.

Mr. Auchinleck explained that this application and subsequent advertisement contained an incorrect tax map parcel number. The Township solicitor requested that the application be continued and re-advertised with a corrected tax map parcel number.

Mr. Wind moved to continue the application of McDonald’s USA, LLC to February 2, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Continued Application of Brian Mills

Mr. Auchinleck reminded the Board that Mr. Mills application had been opened at the December meeting. After hearing testimony the members agreed to continue the application and visit the site, which was done on December 18, 2011. He noted that four Board members participated in that visit. He reminded Mr. Mills and Mr. Beurach that they were still under oath.

Mr. Mills said that the Board had visited his home to observe the slope of the property because one of his rear yard neighbors had objected to the plan. Another neighbor to the rear of his property is in support of his plan. Since the last meeting, Mr. Mills said that he spoke to civil engineers, Pickering Corts and Summerson, who indicated that engineering and design of stormwater management for a project like his would cost $10-12,000. He lives in a cul-de-sac with 13 homes, of which 10 have similar additions to the one he is proposing. Some of the additions were built before the current stormwater ordinance was adopted. He was able to research five of the additions and learned that they increased impervious surface to between 16% and 18%. He is seeking to increase to 16.5%. He said that only half of his property slopes toward Mr. Beurach’s property. He calculated that the impervious surface on the side sloping toward Mr. Beurach’s home is 1,063 square feet, which is 11.7%, which would comply with the ordinance. He would like to try to mitigate the impact but would also want to avoid the very high engineering costs.

Mr. Wind asked what the engineer had proposed.

Mr. Mills said that he had tried to ask the engineer to attend with him this evening. Due to the holidays, he was unable to meet with the engineer but did have a telephone conversation. He believed the engineer was proposing an underground retention system.

Mr. Beurach said that he was not in attendance when the Board met at the site.

Mr. Auchinleck said that the Board visited the site but no discussion of the application took place. The visit was scheduled to allow the Board to see the slope of the property.

Mr. Wind noted that at the December meeting, Mr. Mills indicated that he had scaled back his plans in order to avoid engineering costs for stormwater management. If this project were to require engineering, would Mr. Mills then reconsider his original, larger, project.

Mr. Mills said that he understood that any variance would only be good for six months. The project might be postponed if costly engineering is involved.

Mr. Potero asked whether rain barrels would be sufficient to contain the excess run-off.

Mr. Mills said that he has been doing research but he is not sure how to calculate the additional run-off. He has offered to plant flower beds along his property line with Mr. Beurach to contain some of the additional run-off.

Mr. Wind asked whether Mr. Mills has any pressing time limit on when he would like to get started on the project. The Board would like to have more information on what will be necessary to mitigate the additional run-off.

Mr. Auchinleck reminded the Board that in the past, it has required an applicant to show that the additional run-off from the increase in impervious surface above the permitted percentage is being contained on the property.

Mrs. Doorley said that this would be only 4.5%, as 12% impervious is permitted. Perhaps a simple solution like rain barrels would be adequate.

Resident David Katz was sworn in. Mr. Katz said that he had served on the Zoning Hearing Board at one time and was aware that the Board has sometimes required applicants to contain the additional run-off on their properties. He has spoken to some applicants who were able to install stormwater systems themselves. These systems were available through on-line catalogs which had calculators to help determine the size needed. The applicant might be able to research this type of system to determine whether it would be appropriate for his needs.

Mr. Auchinleck suggested that the Board could continue the hearing until February. Mr. Mills could then research various alternatives to mitigate the additional 4.5% run-off.

Mr. Mills said that he would appreciate additional time to try to learn more about stormwater management methods.

Mr. Wind moved to continue the application of Brian Mills to February 2, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mrs. Doorley moved to adjourn at 8:45 PM. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary