ZONING HEARING BOARD
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF June 7, 2012
The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, June 7, 2012 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Karen Doorley, Vice Chairman Brandon Wind, Secretary Mario Lionetti and members Timothy Potero and Michael Iapalucci. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor, Martin Vogt, Code Enforcement Officer and Justine Gregor, Stenographer.
Call to Order: Chairman Doorley called the meeting to order at 7:32 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Wind moved to accept the minutes of April 5, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
The agenda was reviewed:
Application of Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Gillespie, 626 E. Penn Street
Application of Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Meehan, 5 Hillview Drive
Application of 15 Swamp Road LTD (Meglio’s), 15 Swamp Road
Application of 15 Swamp Road, LTD (Meglio’s)
Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of 15 Swamp Road, LTD, owners, requesting variances from sections 601.B.1,601.B.1, 1000E, 803.E.1, 803.E.5, 1001.A.2, 1001.F.4, 1001.F.6.a, and 1002.1 of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit construction of a 2,112 sq. ft., one-Story Restaurant and 960 sq. ft., one-Story Retail space resulting in an impervious surface ratio of 64% where the maximum permitted is 50%; a front yard set back of 3 feet for one-story restaurant to accommodate future outdoor dining deck and a front yard setback of 16.9 feet for one-story retail space where 40 feet is required; to permit 22 parking spaces instead of 55; to permit parking in the front yard; to permit parking in the right of way of Howard Avenue(unopened); and to permit no loading spaces. The subject property is 15 Swamp Road, in the CC Zone, Convenience Commercial District, being known as tax parcel number 29-11-98.
Mr. Auchinleck explained to the Board that it had recently been discovered that the owner of the adjacent parcel had not received a notice of the application, as it was sent to his former address. He has spoken to the neighbor and to the applicant’s attorney, Ed Murphy, and all have agreed that the application should be continued.
Mr. Murphy confirmed the applicant’s agreement to the continuance and has waived the time period for the hearing. No further notices are to be mailed for this application.
Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of 15 Swamp Road, LTD to July 5, 2012. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Application of Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Gillespie
Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Gillespie, owners, requesting variances from sections 405.B and 1208.C.2.b of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit a 403 square feet addition resulting in an impervious surface ratio of 21.8% where the maximum permitted is 13% and a side yard set back of 10 feet where 30 feet is required; and a Special Exception under section 1208.C.2 to permit construction on a non-conforming lot. The subject property is 626 E. Penn Street, in the R-2, High Density Residential Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-14-6.
Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.
Richard Walker, architect on the project and Raymond and Mary Ann Gillespie were sworn in.
Mr. Walker explained that Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie would like to put an addition onto their kitchen, which would increase the impervious surface to 21.8%. The house predates the current ordinance and the existing impervious surface is already at 17.5%. The design will also require a side yard setback variance to allow a ten foot setback to build the addition without interfering with existing tree roots. The setback is already non-conforming. In addition to the variance, a special exception is needed as this is a non-conforming lot.
Mrs. Doorley said that she is familiar with the property and agreed that it is difficult to work with existing non-conformities.
Mr. Walker entered as Exhibit A-1, three letters of support from surrounding neighbors.
Mr. Gillespie explained that he was unable to get a letter of support from the immediate adjacent neighbor as this house is currently vacant. The other adjacent property is in the process of being sold and the neighbor has not moved in.
Mr. Iapalucci asked about additional run-off from the addition.
Mr. Walker explained that a rain garden is to be installed to capture the run-off. There has not been any problem with wetness at the property.
Mr. Wind moved to grant variances from sections 405.B and 1208.C.2.b of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit a 403 square feet addition resulting in an impervious surface ratio of 21.8% where the maximum permitted is 13% and a side yard setback of 10 feet where 30 feet is required; and a Special Exception under section 1208.C.2 to permit construction on a non-conforming lot. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Application of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Meehan
Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Meehan, owners, requesting a variance from the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 as affected by the Foxhall Estates final plan to permit the construction of an in ground swimming pool with spa, coping, and decking totaling 2,598 sq ft resulting in 8,117 sq. ft. of impervious surface area where 6,000 sq ft is permitted. The subject property is 5 Hillview Drive, in the CM, Conservation Management District, being known as tax parcel number 29-16-2-11.
Bill Coyle of Sylvan Pools and Anthony Meehan were sworn in.
Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone present wished to be party to the application. There was no response.
Mr. Meehan explained that the Board of Supervisors had reviewed his application and were concerned about the large amount on increased impervious surface. He then spoke to Mr. Vogt and submitted a revised plan to the Township. This was entered as Exhibit A-1/
Mr. Meehan explained that he wants to put a pool in his yard for his five young children. His original plan showed a pool, spa and stamped concrete patio which were 2117 square feet above the permitted 6,000 square feet of impervious. The Supervisors asked that the plan be changed so that it would only increase the impervious by 12-1500 square feet. He had changed the patio to a wooden deck, reducing his request to 1277 square feet of additional impervious for a total of 7277 square feet. In response to Mr. Auchinleck’s questions, he pointed out the portions of the project which have been changed to decking. He noted that he also reduced the size of the coping and decking surrounding the pool, and had replaced the path from poured concrete to gravel with porous stepping stones.
Mr. Lionetti asked whether the gravel and stone are considered porous in Newtown’s ordinance.
Martin Vogt was sworn in. Mr. Vogt explained that the gravel might be considered impervious depending on the compaction. This is a subjective call by the Township Engineer.
Mr. Meehan said he was not sure of the type or size of the gravel at this time. It was his intention to make it porous to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer.
Mr. Vogt referred to the relevant section of the Ordinance which defines “packed stone” as impervious.
Mr. Auchinleck said that some landscapers, for example, use small stones instead of mulch in gardens.
Mr. Vogt said that these stones are loosely placed and not considered impervious. He then discussed porous pavers, which allow water to pass directly through.
Mrs. Doorley asked about stormwater management for the increased impervious surface.
Mr. Meehan said that the original plan called for seepage beds to absorb 2117 square feet of additional impervious.
Mr. Coyle said that the beds would be reduced to accommodate the new plan’s additional 1277 square feet.
Mrs. Doorley said that she had noticed a retention wall on the property.
Mr. Meehan said that this is not a wall but a berm. It is not on his property.
Mr. Coyle explained that there is a two-foot elevation around the pool, which will prevent run-off from leaving he property as water is directed to inlets to the infiltration basin.
Mr. Lionetti suggested granting a variance to allow 32.72% impervious surface and allowing the applicant to determine the size of his patio and walkways within that amount. He would also want to include a condition that the applicant address additional run-off with a seepage bed to handle the additional 1277 square feet of impervious.
Mr. Iapalucci said that he has concerns about run-off toward the adjacent neighbor to the left. He would favor a larger seepage bed to accommodate at least 1500 square feet of impervious surface.
Mr. Coyle said that he did not want to add unnecessarily to the cost of the project. The proposed bed would be more than adequate, as it is designed to address the 100 year storm.
Resident Tom Ames of 61 Gaucks Lane was sworn in. Mr. Ames said that his home is adjacent to Foxhall Estates. Many of the homes in this development have already added a pool. The residents of Gaucks Lane must maintain Gaucks Lane as it is not a dedicated street. He wants to be sure that the additional run-off will not spill into the Foxhall detention basin, as if this basin overflows, it would impact Gaucks Lane.
The members discussed increasing the impervious surface to accommodate a paved path. They considered the size of the pool, which is considered by the Ordinance to be impervious although it can act to retain rainwater. Mr. Wind pointed out that although the pool might contain some run-off it would not recharge the groundwater.
After some discussion, the members agreed that they would grant a variance for increased impervious and allow the applicant to decide what changes he would make to the plan to use the additional impervious surface.
Mr. Auchinleck said that Mr. Meehan would receive a written decision, but this would not change the recorded plan for Foxhall Estates.
Mr. Potero moved to grant a variance from the final plan for Foxhall Estates to allow an increase in impervious surface of 1277 square feet to allow construction of a pool, spa, decking and walkway totaling 1758 square feet for a total of 7277 square feet of impervious or 32.72% where 6000 square feet is the maximum, subject to the condition that a seepage bed to accommodate an additional 1500 square feet of impervious surface is installed. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Auchinleck polled the members to determine that the Board would have a quorum for the July 5 meeting, as it is the day after the Independence Day holiday. It was determined that at least four members would be in attendance.
Mr. Wind moved to adjourn at 9:15 PM. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary