NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF August 2, 2012

The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, August 2, 2012 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: 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: Brandon Wind, Acting as Chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:34 PM.

Approval of Minutes:Mr. Iapalucci moved to accept the minutes of July 5, 2012. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

The agenda was reviewed:

Application of Dr. Joseph Jenci, 63 Harmony Way

Application of David and Geraldine Platt, 761 Newtown Yardley Road

Application of Rothman Institute, 2700 South Eagle Road

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

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

Application of David and Geraldine Platt

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of David H. and Geraldine Platt, Newtown Swim Club, requesting a variance from section 803(B-19) to permit a B-19 transitional residential use where not contiguous to Newtown Borough and not contiguous to O-LI Office - Light Industrial or POS Park - Open Space Zoning District resulting in 64 single family, townhouse units on 16.66 acres. The subject property is 761 Newtown Yardley Road, in the R-2 High Density Residential Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-10-52-2.

Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that the applicant has asked to continue this application.

Mr. Potero moved to continue the application of David and Geraldine Platt to September 6, 2012. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

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

Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that the applicant has requested to continue this application to September.

Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of 15 Swamp Road, LTD to September 6, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Continued Application of S&H Security, LLC

Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that the applicant has requested to continue this application to September.

Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of S&H Security, LLC to September 6, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Application of Dr. Joseph Jenci

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Dr. Joseph Jenci, requesting a variance from Lakeview Estates final plan to permit a 260 sq ft brick paver patio in the rear of the property resulting in a 2.7 feet rear yard setback where 30 feet is required The subject property is 63 Harmony Way, Lakeview Estates in the CM - Conservation Management Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-23-154.

Mr. Wind asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Dr. Jenci was sworn in. He explained to the Board that he wishes to install a larger patio in his yard. The patio installed by the builder is situated between the steps to his screen porch and a retaining wall. He would like to extend the patio out to the middle of the yard, so it will be more open and he can enjoy his view of the lake behind his home. He said that his yard backs to his development’s open space and then to the Township owned open space and earthen dam and lake. In response to Mr. Wind’s questions, he said that a landscaper designed the patio and it is the design favored by Mrs. Jenci.

Mr. Iapalucci asked about the increase in impervious surface.

Dr. Jenci said he did not know what percentage he would have, but the Codes department indicated that only setback relief is needed. It is his understanding that he is permitted above 90% impervious and he is well below that.

Mr. Lionetti said that even though this property backs to open space, he does not think a setback of only 2.7 feet is appropriate. He would favor a design that does not infringe on the setbacks.

Dr. Jenci said that other neighbors have similarly designed patios, although he did not know what their setbacks were. He said that he could get measurements from his neighbors.

Mr. Auchinleck explained that what other property owners have might not influence the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision. The Ordinance calls for a 30 foot setback; in some instances the Ordinance creates hardships and it is up to the Board to determine each application individually.

Dr. Jenci entered as Exhibit A-1 and A-2, copies of the plan with signatures of his next door neighbors, Michael Helmut and Gerard Neich. He entered as Exhibit A-3 the approval of his Homeowners Association.

Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from Lakeview Estates final plan to permit a 260 sq ft brick paver patio in the rear of the property resulting in a 8 feet rear yard setback where 30 feet is required. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mr. Auchinleck explained that he would send a letter and a formal decision confirming the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision. The Codes department would issue a permit. Dr. Jenci has the right to appeal this decision or modify his patio design to conform to an eight foot setback.

Application of Rothman Institute

Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Rothman Institute requesting variances from sections 1106(H)(4)(a) and (b), 1106(H)(4)(c)(2)a), 1106(H)(4)(d)(2), and 1106(F)(7) to permit two roof mounted identification signs about 96 sq ft each, three directional signs 8.5 sq ft each, and refacing of existing freestanding signs, resulting in four signs facing one street where only one is permitted, two roof mounted signs which are not permitted, two roof mounted identification signs of 96 sq ft where identification signs greater than 20 sq ft are not permitted, two roof mounted signs 252.5 inches above grade where the maximum permitted height is 9 feet, and three directional signs of 8.5 sq ft where 2 sq ft is the maximum permitted. The subject property is 2700 South Eagle Road, Village at Newtown Shopping Center in the PC - Planned Commercial Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-10-85.

Mr. Wind asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Josephine Freiling, Andrew Sheerlin and Andrew Taylor were sworn in.

Mr. Sheerlin explained that the Rothman Institute is an orthopedic surgical group with sixteen satellite locations in the Philadelphia area. The group wants to open a satellite location in Newtown and is seeking variances for signage.

Ms. Freiling entered as Exhibit A-1 photographs of modified rooftop signage. She said that at the advice of the Township’s Planning Commission, she has reduced the rooftop sign to 54 square feet, a 44% reduction. The two monument signs already exist and have variances. They will be refaced. There are also two directional signs proposed because the building has two entrances and two parking areas. The signs will direct patients to the doctors’ offices and the physical therapy entrance.

Mr. Sheerlin explained that Rothman has a branding strategy which involves marketing directly to the consumers. It has built a reputation of quality physicians and easy access. The group wants to brand the building as “the Rothman Building” and wants to be easily recognized and located.

Mr. Iapalucci asked whether other Rothman locations have needed any variances.

Mr. Taylor said that in a number of communities size variances have been sought. Rothman wants all of its locations to have certain branding and appearance. Some signs had to be slightly modified.

Mr. Sheerlin said that the Evesham Township location required some sign variances or a 72,000 square foot building.

Mr. Taylor said that building has a large setback and is on a busier road. The size of the signage was necessary for visibility.

Mr. Sheerlin reviewed all of the sign locations on the plan of the shopping center. He noted the two existing monument signs and the parking lot directional signs, one at the entrance to lower level and one at the rear of the parking lot pointing to the upper level. There is also an entrance sign at the door.

Ms. Freiling noted that the plan in the packet provided to the Zoning Hearing Board is not the one submitted. She reviewed the Zoning Packet and noted some other pages not submitted by the applicant.

Mr. Iapalucci asked about materials and illumination.

Mr. Taylor said that the signs are aluminum with baked enamel lettering. The monument signs are already lighted; the rooftop signs will be lit.

Mr. Wind said that the rooftop signs make the monument signs redundant. Both sets of signs are equally visible.

Mr. Sheerlin disagreed, noting that because of the curve in the road, the monuments are not nearly as visible.

Mr. Taylor agreed that one of the monuments is not visible from the road while driving because of the curve in the road.

Mr. Potero asked what the proposed hours would be.

Mr. Sheerlin said that facility would be opened from about 7:30 AM to about 7:30 PM. He said this is a very commercial area and Rothman wants equal visibility to its surrounding business neighbors.

Ms. Freiling presented photographs of some of the surrounding signage from Ace Hardware, Petsmart, bed Bath & Beyond, Acme, Pier 1 Imports and McCaffrey’s, to show as a comparison to the proposed Rothman signs.

The members discussed locating the signs on the building fascia.

Mr. Sheerlin said that this would not work because it would interfere with the gutters and doorways.

Mr. Iapalucci said that he thought the large signage would be unnecessary because all visitors have appointments and would locate the building by its address on the monument signs. He said that the two monument signs are sufficient to brand the building and to serve as wayfinding.

Mr. Sheerlin said this was not the case with Rothman. Some prospective patients drop in while passing by and ask for appointments or are seen right away. In addition, over 40 high school teams use Rothman as team doctor and injured players are sent directly from practice by their athletic trainers. The goal is to brand the building as The Rothman Building, making it visible to patients and the community. The building should have a similar appearance to the other Rothman buildings. He said that if necessary, he would consider eliminating the monument signs but would still need the rooftop and directional signage.

Mr. Iapalucci asked where the sign would need to be to meet the Ordinance’s height requirements.

Mr. Taylor said that the height limit is nine feet, two feet above the door. He said that the rooftop signs would be twenty feet high.

Mr. Lionetti asked what the permitted height for rooftop signs is.

Mr. Vogt said that rooftop signs are not permitted in this zoning district at all. The highest permitted sign is 9 feet.

Mr. Wind asked about the Pier 1 sign.

Mr. Vogt said that the dormer creates a wall for the sign; it could be considered a wall mounted or roof mounted sign.

Mr. Sheerlin said that Rothman would build a similar dormer if necessary for its rooftop signs.

Mr. Lionetti asked about the traffic to be generated by Rothman.

Mr. Sheerlin said that he is estimating that it could be between 70 and 100 trips per day.

Mr. Iapalucci said that he would like to eliminate the monument signs and also restrict the rooftop signs to this tenant or possibly to a medical use only.

Mr. Auchinleck said that the applicant could not accept these conditions without the approval of the owner of the shopping center. The monument signs already have variance; those variances would have to be extinguished.

Mr. Sheerlin said that he could bring this back to discuss with the Rothman Institute Board. He would not want to continue the application unless the Zoning Hearing Board is inclined to grant the rooftop sign variance.

Mr. Wind said that he believed the members would favorably consider the directional signs and rooftop sign if the monument variance were extinguished and the variance were limited to a medical use tenant. He would also expect some kind of time limit on lighting of the signs, perhaps until one hour after closing or when the last employee leaves the building. He suggested that Ms. Freiling work with the solicitor on details of an agreement with the property owner for his approval of the conditions.

Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of the Rothman Institute, 2700 South Eagle Road until September 6, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mr. Lionetti moved to adjourn at 9:40 PM. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary