NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF July 5, 2012

The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, July 5, 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. Lionetti asked that on page #4, paragraph 12, the sentence which reads, “He expressed some concern that the stepping stones might not be safe….” And any further reference to the safety of stepping stones, be removed.

Mr. Wind moved to accept the minutes of June 7, 201, as amended. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

The agenda was reviewed:

Application of Faith and William McManimon Jr., 21 Jasmine Court

Application of Matthew Walsh, 385 Stoopville Road

Application of Karate Kids of Newtown, 2110 South Eagle Road

Application of Newtown Racquetball Association, 209 Penns Trail

Application of S&H Security, LLC, 74 Richboro Road

Continued Application of 15 Swamp Road LTD (Meglio’s), 15 Swamp Road

Continued Application of 15 Swamp Road LTD

Mr. Auchinleck reminded the Board that this application had been opened at the June 7, 2012 meeting and continued. Attorney Ed Murphy is meeting with the intervenor in this application at this time and has asked that the application be continued to the August meeting.

Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of 15 Swamp Road, LTD to August 2, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Application of S&H Security, LLC, 74 Richboro Road

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of S&H Security LLC requesting variances from sections 601.A, 1001.A.6, 1001.F.6.b, 1001.B.5, 1001.D.1, 1001.D.2, 1001.F.6.c, and 1207.A.1 to permit seasonal conversion of an existing dwelling into a ”haunted house” and concession stand / ticket booth where such use is not permitted and resulting in 24 parking spaces instead of the required 97, no additional buffering, 12 to 15 feet driveway width instead of the required 25 feet, no curbing of parking area, no landscape island in parking area, and on-going residential use when not in seasonal use; and a Special Exception under section 1208A to permit a 224 sq ft concession stand/ticket booth as an expansion on a non-conforming lot. The subject property is 74 Richboro Road, in the CC - Convenience Commercial Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-11-33.

Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that Mr. Murphy, attorney for this applicant, has requested that the application be continued to the August meeting.

Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of S&H Security, LLC to August 2, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Application of Faith and William McManimon Jr., 21 Jasmine Court

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Faith and William McManimon Jr., owners, requesting a variance from section 1000E.3.b.2 of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit construction of a 18'11” by 15'9” feet open deck and a 8'11” by 13' open deck resulting in an 11.8 feet set back where15 feet is required . The subject property is 21 Jasmine Court in the R-2, High Density Residential Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-18-11.

William McManimon was sworn in.

Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone present wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. McManimon explained that he wished to build a deck at the rear of his home. In Newtown Grant the permitted setback for a house is 10 feet, however for deck it is 15 feet. He would like is deck to have the same setback as his house, with a setback of 11.8 feet. If he placed the setback at 15 feet, the deck would partially block his patio doors. Mr. McManimon entered as Exhibit A-1 a letter from his next door neighbor expressing support for the project.

Mr. Wind asked whether the Newtown Grant Homeowners Association has approved his plan.

Mr. McManimon confirmed that the Homeowners Association had approved the deck.

Mr. Iapalucci asked whether this home backs to Newtown Grant’s open space.

Mr. McManimon said that the wooded area to the rear is Newtown Grant’s preserved open space. He does not have a rear yard neighbor.

Mr. Wind moved to grant a variance from section 1000E.3.b.2 of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit construction of a 18'11” by 15'9” feet open deck and a 8'11” by 13' open deck resulting in an 11.8 feet set back where15 feet is required. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Application of Matthew Walsh, 385 Stoopville Road

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Matthew Walsh and Jessica Jumel, by Mike Walsh, attorney in fact, equitable owner, Elizabeth Bowman, owner, requesting variances from sections 401.B to permit the subdivision of one lot into two lots where one of the new lots will be 2.85 acres where the minimum lot size is 3 acres and the difference will not be set aside as open space. The subject property is 385 Stoopville Road, in the CM – Conservation Management Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-7-12

Mike Walsh was sworn in.

Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone present wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. Walsh explained that he is purchasing this property and wants to subdivide it into two lots. He will renovate the existing house for himself and his wife. He plans to demolish the existing barn and build a garage with an apartment above for his daughter and grandchild. He intends to build a new house on the second lot for his son. He submitted this plan to the Township and had presented it to the Planning Commission, which recommended approval. Shortly before he was to appear before the Supervisors for a minor subdivision approval, it was discovered that the lot measures less than 6 acres, which would then create one non-conforming lot. He has learned that when Stoopville Road was realigned it was upgraded in road class. The upgraded road has a 70 foot right of way, not 40 feet. The calculations for base site calculations were made using the 40 foot right of way. The plan to subdivide will create one lot measuring 2.84 acres, requiring a variance. The existing house, which is to be added to, does not meet the required setback requirements.

Mrs. Doorley noted that the application only seeks relief for the non-conforming lot.

Martin Vogt was sworn in. Mr. Vogt said that this problem was discovered when he was contracted by the Township to review applications. The applicant had thought it was a simple minor subdivision. The existing house is non-conforming, but renovations to it are consistent with the non-conformity and can be done by right. He has inspected the barn and found it to be unsafe. The applicant plans to remove it and build a garage.

Mr. Walsh said that the new garage will not be in the same footprint as the barn, but will be closer to the house.

Mr. Auchinleck asked whether the lot would then have two dwelling units.

Mr. Walsh said he is building an apartment over the garage for his daughter. The second, non-conforming lot, will have a new house for his son.

Attorney Don Marshall was sworn in. Mr. Marshall said that he represents the seller of the property, Elisabeth Bowman. He said that the plans only require relief for the 2.85 acre second lot. The dwelling unit over the garage is a permitted accessory residential use.

Mrs. Doorley asked whether the properties are served by public water and sewer.

Mr. Walsh said that both lots have public water and sewer, with lot #1 served by Stoopville Road and lot #2 served by Linton Hill.

Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from sections 401.B to permit the subdivision of one lot into two lots where one of the new lots will be 2.85 acres where the minimum lot size is 3 acres and the difference will not be set aside as open space. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Karate Kidz of Newtown LLC, 2110 South Eagle Road

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Karate Kidz of Newtown, LLC, Lessee, Newtown Center Associates, owner, requesting a variance from section 602A of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit the operation of a karate school (Use C-3 commercial School) in an 1,874 square foot space in the Village at Newtown South Shopping Center. The subject property is 2110 South Eagle Road, in the PC – Planned Commercial District, being known as tax parcel number 29-10-85-5.

Donald Drum was sworn in.

Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. Drum said that he would like to move his Karate School to the Village at Newtown South shopping center. His program is for children ages 4 through 16. It will occupy the space next to the travel agency; it had been a carpet store.

Mr. Auchinleck reminded the Board that there have been other commercial schools, particularly karate schools, granted variances in the PC Zoning District in the past.

Mr. Potero moved to grant a variance from section 602A of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit the operation of a karate school (Use C-3 commercial School) in an 1,874 square foot space in the Village at Newtown South Shopping Center. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Newtown Racquetball Association, 209 Penns Trail

Newtown Racquetball Association t/a Newtown Athletic Club owner, requesting a variance from section 702B of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit construction of a new one-story, 41,500 square foot baseball academy with a side yard setback of 33 feet where 75 feet is required. The subject property is 209 Penns Trail, in the L-I Light Industrial Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-10-137, 29-10-139 & 29-10-140.

Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant.

Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Jim Worthington, owner and Luke Teller, engineer with Langan Engineering, were sworn in.

Mr. Marshall entered as Exhibit A-1, the plan attached to the application, as Exhibit A-1-a the approved plan from 2011, Exhibit A-2, the last deed to the property dated 2012 and Exhibit A-3, a landscape plan for this project.

Mr. Marshall explained that the applicant had been granted variances subject to the condition that the parcels be consolidated. Exhibit A-2 shows that consolidation. The property is 17.08 acres in the LI light industrial zoning district. Since the plan for expansion of the NAC was approved in 2011, Mr. Worthington has acquired the lot in front of the PKF building on Penns Trail, opposite the NAC. Mr. Worthington would now like to eliminate the practice playing field and move the baseball academy to the area where the practice field had been. The area between the baseball academy building and the outdoor pool complex would be held in green for reserve parking if needed. It would make more sense to place the additional parking, if needed, between the pool and the baseball academy so that it would be a short walk to either facility, rather than have members walk around the baseball academy building to get to the pool. The newly acquired lot in front of PKF is 1.9 acres and Mr. Worthington might develop that as a practice field in the future.

Mr. Lionetti asked about parking for the practice field.

Mr. Worthington said that this field is not planned yet. If it is developed, children would be dropped at the baseball academy. He would install either a tunnel or bridge to the field or add some traffic controls to the road. This has not been planned yet.

Mr. Marshall reviewed the landscaping plan, noting that although the building would have a shorter setback than permitted, it would be attractively landscaped.

Mr. Wind asked whether the applicant would accept as a condition of approval that the area in between the academy and pool would be used for reserve parking only and that no new building would be placed on this land.

Mr. Worthington said that he would agree not to put a building on the land, but he may at some time in the future consider expanding the pool area.

Mr. Auchinleck pointed out that it would be difficult to craft a motion to address this condition, as any changes to the pool area would involve a structure, even a wading pool.

Mr. Auchinleck asked whether the baseball academy could be placed on the new lot.

Mr. Marshall said that he did not think it would fit. This site already has approval for a 25000 square foot office building, but Mr. Worthington prefers to leave it as a field.

Mr. Lionetti asked the distance from the pool entrance to the reserve parking area.

Mr. Marshall said it is about 200 feet.

Mr. Worthington said that he would like to preserve the large open area between the pool and baseball academy for parking if needed because it would be closer to both facilities.

Mr. Lionetti said that he would prefer the building closer to Pheasant Run than the parking lot. The building will be more attractive.

Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from section 702B of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit construction of a new one-story, 41,500 square foot baseball academy with a side yard setback of 33 feet where 75 feet is required. Mr. Wind seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Wind said that he favors adding a condition that the area can only be used for reserve parking and that no additional buildings can be added.

Mr. Iapalucci noted that any new buildings would have to go through land development reviews and would possibly need variances.

Mr. Marshall pointed out that additional construction is already limited because of parking variances.

Mr. Lionetti said that he did not think the condition was necessary.

The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Wind voting nay.

Mr. Potero moved to adjourn at 8:45 PM. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary