ZONING HEARING BOARD
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF JUNE 6, 2013
The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, June 6, 2013 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Karen Doorley, Vice Chairman Brandon Wind, 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: Mrs. Doorley called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Wind moved to approve the minutes of May 2, 2013. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
The agenda was reviewed:
Continued Application of S&H Security, LLC, 74 Richboro Road
Application of Robert and Karen Crawford, 110 Durham Road
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that S&H Security has requested that its application be continued to the July meeting. The attorney for the applicant, Ed Murphy, has indicated that the application will be amended. He reminded the members that the July meeting will be on the second Thursday of July.
Continued Application of S&H Security, LLC
Mr. Wind moved to continue the application of S&H Security, LLC to July 11, 2013. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Application of Robert and Karen Crawford
Mr. Potero read into the record the application of Robert and Karen Crawford, owners, requesting variances from sections 404(B)&(C), 1208(C)(2) and 1209(A) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit replacement of a non-conforming 21 ft. by 20 ft. one-story detached garage destroyed by storm with a 26 ft. by 20 ft. two-story garage on the foot print of the original foundation resulting in a 12.29 ft. and 3.39 ft. side yards (aggregate 15.68) where 24 ft. (60 ft. aggregate) is required and a 23.5 ft. rear yard where 40 ft. is required and where reconstruction of destroyed, non-conforming buildings is not permitted; and a special exception under section 1208(C)(2) to permit reconstruction of a destroyed, non-conforming building on an non-conforming lot. The subject property is 110 Durham Road in the R-1 – Medium Density Residential Zoning District, being known as tax parcel #29-6-5-1.
Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.
Attorney Bernadette Kearney represented the applicants.
Karen and Robert Crawford were sworn in.
Ms. Kearney entered a packet of exhibits as follows:
A-1 – Board of Assessment information for lot 29-006-005-001
A-2 - Board of Assessment information for lot 29-006-005-002
A-3 – Tax map
A-4 – Deed
A-5 – Pictures of Property
A-6 – February 19, 2013 letter from Martin Vogt, Zoning Officer to Robert Crawford
A-7 – marked up plan
A-8 – title box for Sun Pipe Line Company Plan dated May 14, 1958
A-9 - Petition from neighbors:
Walter Lawton, 102 Durham Road (29-006-004)
Valdis Kaufelds, 124 Durham Road (29-006-001)
Arlin and Doris Eckhart, 108 Durham Road (29-006-003)
Gregory and Cheryl Shipley, 122 Durham Road (29-006-001-001)
Ms. Kearney explained that the Crawfords own the property at 110 Durham Road and the adjoining parcel. Mr. Crawford’s family has lived in the house since it was built in 1947. The garage on the property was destroyed when a tree crashed on it during Hurricane Sandy. The Crawfords hired a contractor to rebuild the garage and construction began. It had been the Crawfords’ understanding that the contractor had secured all necessary building permits. It was upon receipt of Mr. Vogt’s letter, exhibit A-6, that the Crawfords learned that no permits had been granted and that, in fact, Zoning Hearing Board relief would be needed. Construction was ceased at this point.
Ms. Kearney said that this is a non-conforming lot; it would now be impossible to rebuild the garage to meet current required setbacks. A special exception is required to rebuild. The new garage is being built on the foundation of the original garage. There had been a paved breezeway adjacent to the old garage. The new garage is built over the entire paved foundation, including what had been the breezeway, so that the new garage is slightly larger. The old garage was 1.5 stories, with a storage loft accessible by a drop down ladder. The new garage is two stories with a staircase to the second floor storage area. The Township’s Planning Commission had recommended that a condition be added to any approval that this second story not be used as residential. Such condition is acceptable to the Crawfords.
In response to Mrs. Doorley’s question, Ms. Kearney pointed out the locations of the homes of neighbors who wrote letters of support (Exhibit A-9) on the map included as Exhibit A-3.
Mrs. Crawford said that one of her neighbors is away and not available to write a letter of support, however she has spoken to that neighbor, who is aware of the project and had no objection.
Mr. Iapalucci asked about the entrance to the property and about the Shipley letter, which reads, “ … we reserve any statutory rights that we may possess for the future…”
Mr. Crawford said that his is a flag lot with an access drive from the old Durham Road.
Mr. Auchinleck said that he interpreted the Shipley letter to mean that they have no objection to this project but would not relinquish rights to any future projects on the property.
Mr. Vogt said that the Shipleys may be considering building code rights which could be an issue when construction is close to the property line.
Mr. Crawford briefly explained the history of the two houses, originally built specifically as housing for Sun Pipe Line pump operators and owned by Sun. His grandfather was the pump operator, who eventually took ownership of the two houses. His parents lived in the second house and then when he married he eventually lived in what had been his grandfather’s house. He now owns both houses and rents the second house. Lot #1 is 0.347 acres and lot #2 is 0.39 acres. Both houses were built in 1947; Sun Pipe Line subdivided the two lots in 1958. He reviewed the photographs of the houses, the old garage and the partially completed new garage entered as Exhibit A-5.
Mrs. Doorley asked whether the Crawfords have public water and sewer.
Mr. Crawford said that with the construction at Durham Road for the new assisted living facility he has the opportunity to hook into public water and sewer.
Mrs. Doorley asked whether the garage will have utilities.
Mr. Crawford said that it will have electricity for lights and the garage door opener, but no water or sewer connections.
Ms. Kearney noted that the new garage is 23.5 feet tall while the old garage was 19.5 feet. It is within the maximum permitted height and is not as tall as the two houses.
Mrs. Doorley expressed some concern that the one neighbor had not written a letter of support.
Mr. Crawford said that the name of that family is Hinterline. He has spoken to them and they have no objections. They are away in Florida for an extended visit and he did not have an opportunity to get a letter from them.
Mr. Potero moved to grant variances from sections 404(B)&(C), 1208(C)(2) and 1209(A) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit replacement of a non-conforming 21 ft. by 20 ft. one-story detached garage destroyed by storm with a 26 ft. by 20 ft. two-story garage on the foot print of the original foundation resulting in a 12.29 ft. and 3.39 ft. side yards (aggregate 15.68) where 24 ft. (60 ft. aggregate) is required and a 23.5 ft. rear yard where 40 ft. is required and where reconstruction of destroyed, non-conforming buildings is not permitted; and a special exception under section 1208(C)(2) to permit reconstruction of a destroyed, non-conforming building on an non-conforming lot, subject to the condition that the new structure is used for storage only and not as a residential dwelling. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Wind moved to adjourn at 8:45 PM. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary