ZONING HEARING BOARD
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF DECEMBER 5, 2013
The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, December 5, 2013 in the Township meeting room. In attendance and voting were: Karen Doorley, Chairman, Brandon Wind, Vice Chairman, Mario Lionetti, Secretary and members Tim Potero and Michael Iapalucci. Also in attendance were James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Solicitor, Martin Vogt, Code Enforcement Officer and Justine Gregor, Stenographer.
Call to Order: Chairman Doorley called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Lionetti noted that page #2, line #9 should read “or Terry Drive.” Mr. Lionetti moved to approve the minutes of October 3, 2013 as corrected. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
The agenda was reviewed:
Continued Application of Donald and Denise Queeny, 1 South Sycamore Street
Application of David and Beverly Fleming (Rosebank Winery) 258 Durham Road
Application of Tim Ayrer, 498 Linton Hill Road
Continued Application of Donald and Denise Queeny
Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that the applicant has requested that this application be continued to the January meeting.
Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of Donald and Denise Queeny to January 2, 2014. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Application of David and Beverly Fleming
Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of David and Beverly Fleming, Rosebank Winery, owners, requesting a variance from section 1106(A)(6) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit an existing freestanding sign to be indirectly illuminated. The subject property is 258 Durham Road, Newtown, in the C-M Conservation Management Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel # 29-3-25-1.
Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant.
Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone present wished to be party to this application. There was no response.
David Fleming was sworn in.
Mr. Marshall explained that Rosebank Winery is an 11.09 acre parcel in the CM zoning district, operating under use A-1 agriculture, accessory H-17 winery. The sign for which relief is sought is already in place and has a permit. During a recent inspection after completion of land development for a barn on the property, it was noted that while the sign is permitted, lighting on agricultural signs is not permitted.
Mr. Marshall entered the following exhibits:
Exhibit A-1 – The deed to the property
Exhibit A-2 – a photograph of the existing sign
Exhibit A-3 – the plot plan attached to the application with the location of the sign outlined.
Mr. Fleming said that he had obtained a permit from the Township for the sign, which is at the driveway entrance and lighted on both sides by spotlights.
Mr. Marshall said that the ordinance prohibits lights on agricultural signs, but this portion of the JMZO, which includes accessory use H-17, was adopted after the sign was in place.
Mr. Fleming explained that the winery hosts events in the evenings after dark, all year round. The sign is necessary so that event attendees can locate the entrance driveway.
Mr. Auchinleck asked Mr. Marshall to confirm the location of the sign on exhibit A-3, as it appears to be farther north of the driveway than the photograph indicates.
Mr. Marshall outlined the sign location in red on Exhibit A-3. He noted that the electronic copy of the plan shows the sign in the correct location.
Mrs. Doorley asked whether the sign would be changed.
Mr. Fleming said that he is leaving the same sign with the same existing lights as shown in Exhibit A-2.
Mr. Auchinleck noted that this property has had prior variances. He asked if any of them included signage.
Mr. Marshall said that variances had been granted for a tent for events; that variance was voided when the permanent barn was built.
Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from section 1106(A)(6) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit an existing freestanding sign to be indirectly illuminated. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Application of Tim Ayrer
Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of Tim Ayrer, owner, requesting a variance from section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit a 20' by 30' addition to a 25' by 25' detached garage on a non-conforming lot. And a special exception under section 1208(C)(2) to permit construction on a non-conforming lot. The property is 498 Linton Hill Road, Newtown, in the C-M Conservation Management Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel # 29-3-76.
Mrs. Doorley asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.
Tim Ayrer was sworn in. He explained that he wishes to put an addition on his existing detached garage for his cars. Now that his children are driving they have more cars, plus he needs space for his lawn mower, snow blower, etc. He has a pick-up truck which is too long for the existing garage.
Mr. Iapalucci asked whether the existing shed would be removed.
Mr. Ayrer said that the shed would remain; no trees would be removed. He has no immediate residential neighbors. He is surrounded by open space and the water company land.
Mrs. Doorley noted that the open space is the retention basin for Pickering Chase Homeowners Association.
Mr. Lionetti noted that the driveway is very close to the property line and the new addition would put two bays on the garage, which seems very large.
Mr. Ayrer said that the previous owners had been granted a variance for this. His is a non-conforming lot. The addition, while large enough to have two bays will only have one garage door.
Mrs. Doorley asked whether any variances are needed for the driveway.
Mr. Vogt said that the variance already exists; the driveway is only being extended within that setback.
Mr. Potero moved to grant a variance from section 401(C) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit a 20' by 30' addition to a 25' by 25' detached garage on a non-conforming lot and to extend the existing variance and a special exception under section 1208(C)(2) to permit construction on a non-conforming lot. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Lionetti voting nay.
Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that he had received a decision from the State Supreme Court in the appeal of the Federal Cemetery Overlay District (FCO). He reminded the Board that some years ago, a Mr. Holt challenged the validity of the FCO at the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board. A number of interested parties joined the appeal. When Mr. Holt withdrew his challenge, the Zoning Hearing Board terminated hearings. The interested parties demanded to continue the hearings and appealed the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision. The Supreme Court has upheld the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision.
The members discussed the FCO. Mr. Auchinleck said that it is his understanding that the FCO had provided additional housing density to the Melsky tract, located in both Newtown and Upper Makefield Townships. Toll Brothers was granted preliminary approval to develop the property. The ordinance was subsequently amended, taking away that density. Toll Brothers can moved forward and seek final land development approval for the plan already granted preliminary approval, but no other plans could be approved under the old FCO.
Mr. Lionetti moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mrs. Doorley seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary