TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – APRIL 4, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 4, 2006.  Chairman Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:              Barbara Kirk, Chairman

                                                            Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                            Paul Kim, Alternate

 

Others:                                                 Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                            John Donaghy, Township Solicitor

                                                            James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                            Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

                                                            Grace Godshalk, Supervisor Liaison

 

Absent:                                     Rudolph Mayrhofer, ZHB Vice Chairman

                                                            David Malinowski, ZHB Secretary

 

 

APPEAL #06-1339 – HALLEY AND DEBORAH GOULD

 

Ms. Kirk stated this matter was continued from 2/7/06.  The Applicants were not present

this evening. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated this matter had been on the Agenda in November of 2005 and was

continued until 2/7/06 at which time the Applicant requested an additional period of time

in order to supply information to the Board.  A letter was sent to the Applicant dated

2/13/06 by the Board’s Secretary confirming that the matter was continued until today. 

This letter was marked as Exhibit B-3.  Ms. Kirk stated since the Application is not

present this evening after receiving appropriate notice, she would recommend denial.

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to deny the

Application. 

 

Mr. Habgood was asked to send Notice of the Denial to the Applicants.

 

 

 

 

 

April 4, 2006                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 6

 

 

APPEAL #06-1361 – RICHARD AND VICKI MILLER

 

Mr. Richard and Ms. Vicki Miller were sworn in, and stated they live at 868 Sandy Run Road. 

 

The Application submitted was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application was

a Grading Plan prepared by All-County, Inc. dated 9/21/05 with a revision of 11/3/05. 

This was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Ms. Miller stated they wish to add an addition to their home.  Currently they have a two-

bedroom home and they have four children.  The design causes them to be over the front

setback by 2.7’.  She stated the home is 100 years old, and they are proposing to extend it

even with the existing house, but because the road cuts at the point where they are

proposing the addition, it causes them to go over the front setback line. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated it appears they are planning a two-story addition with a basement, and

Ms. Miller agreed.  She stated they are adding three bedrooms to the second floor and one

bath and replacing another bath.  The first floor has dining room, family room, kitchen,

bath, closet, and a small office in the front section of the home. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the office is used for a business, and Ms. Miller stated it is both a

personal office as well as for her computer consulting business which she does out of the

home although she has no clients coming to the house.   She stated this is the part of the

addition that is in the setback. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they are including a basement portion to the addition, and Ms. Miller

agreed.  She stated currently they only have a dirt floor basement and is not usable.

 

Ms. Kirk stated based on the Plan submitted it appears that the very corner of the addition

is the only portion that will encroach into the setback and Ms. Miller agreed.

 

Ms. Miller stated they did discuss this with their neighbors and no one indicated they had

a problem.

 

Mr. Ted Lutkus, 910 Sandy Run Road stated he is two doors away, and is in support of

the proposal.

 

Mr. John Bonasera, 900 Sandy Run Road, stated he is the adjacent property owner and

feels what is proposed is far enough away from everyone so that it should not be a

problem.  He stated they do need the space.

 

 

 

April 4, 2006                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 6

 

Mr. Kim moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the

Variance as requested.

 

 

APPEAL #06-1362 – ROBERT HARMAN

 

Mr. Robert Harman and Ms. Lauren Harman were sworn in and stated they live at 1280

Colts Lane. 

 

The Application submitted was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application was

an 8 ˝” by 11” Plan of the subject property date stamped by the Township 3/7/06.  This

was marked as Exhibit A-2. 

 

Ms. Harman stated they would like to fence in the yard including the easement area.  This

is a drainage easement.  Ms. Kirk asked if there are pipes, and Ms. Harman stated there

are no pipes visible.  Ms. Kirk asked who holds the easement, and Mr. Majewski stated

this is a Township easement.  He feels there are only swales in this area.

 

Ms. Harman stated if they fenced in the area only up to the easement, it would cut their

yard in half and they would not be able to use their entire property.  She stated they

would like to install an aluminum fence that would be pool approved.  She provided

information on the fence to the Board. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked how far from the ground would the fence be located, but Ms. Harman did

not have this detail.

 

Ms. Kirk asked the Township’s position, and Mr. Donaghy stated the Township has not

taken a position in opposition; however, this would depend on a number of conditions. 

He stated the Township would expect that the proposed fence would not impede any

water flow,  that the Township would be permitted access through the fence area and any

cost of replacing of the fence or any maintenance would be on the homeowners, and that

the granting of the fence would not mean that there is any other further approvals that

should be included in this such as for a pool.  He stated they would also require that there

be no change in grade or elevations.  Mr. and Mrs. Harman stated they understand the

Township’s requests.  Ms. Kirk stated the fence should also be at least 2” above the

highest section of ground where it is located; and if the Township needs access to the

easement, the fence would have to be removed at the homeowners’ sole cost and expense. 

Mr. and Mrs. Harman agreed to these conditions.  Mr. Donaghy stated they could also not

plant or place sheds, etc. in the easement area.  Ms. Kirk stated the Application is specific

for the installation of a fence and nothing else.  Mr. Donaghy stated that he understands

this but wanted to make sure the Applicants understand this as well.  Ms. Kirk stated they

should also understand that what is before the Board this evening has nothing to do with

the future possibility of a pool or anything else, and they are only dealing with the fence

itself; and Mr. and Mrs. Harman agreed. 

April 4, 2006                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 6

 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they would agree that the fence will be installed in the area as shown

on the Plan marked as Exhibit A-2, and Mr. and Mrs. Harmon agreed.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Majewski if there is a maximum amount of clearance that is

needed yet still safe between the bottom of the fence and the ground that is considered to

be the correct amount.  Mr. Majewski stated this would vary depending on the type of

property and how much drainage flows through.  He stated typically a 3” gap is sufficient

to allow water for most areas.  Ms. Kirk asked if they should recommend it be at least 2”

to 3” above the ground subject to the satisfaction of the Township engineer, and

Mr. Majewski stated this would be acceptable.  Mr. and Mrs. Harman agreed to this

Condition.

 

There was no public comment.

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve a Variance to Section 200-6914c to permit the construction of a fence within the Township grading and drainage easement area subject to the following Conditions:

 

1)  That the proposed fence be installed in accordance with the location as

      set forth in Exhibit A-2 submitted to the Board:

 

2)  That the proposed fence be at least 2” to 3” above ground subject to

                  approval by the Township engineer;

 

            3)  That the proposed fence not impede the water flow for the drainage area

                   in any way whatsoever;

 

            4)  That the Applicant not change the grading of the existing area where

                  the fence is to be installed;

 

            5)  That the Township maintain full access to the easement area subject

                   to the Applicant’s responsibility to remove the fence, if necessary,

                   at their sole cost and expense.

 

 

APPEAL #06-1363 – JOHN M. BITTNER

 

Mr. John Bittner was sworn in and stated he lives at 1455 Hidden Pond Drive.

The Application submitted was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application was

an 8 ˝” by 14” Plan entitled “As-Built Plan of Lot 4 Hidden Pond Estates” last dated

1/26/06.  This was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

 

April 4, 2006                                                                Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 6

 

 

Mr. Bittner stated he is requesting two Variances.  The first concerns an existing 12’ by

24’ shed built onto and attached to pier footings.  He stated when it was built it was built

10’ back from the setback line.  He stated there was a corner marker.  He stated this was

not found during the most recent survey and as a result it was found that one corner of the

shed is 9’ from the rear property line rather than the required 10’.  He noted the property

line runs at an angle to the back of the shed. 

 

Ms. Kirk noted the Plan marked as Exhibit A-2 and asked if the shed is next to the

existing garage, and Mr. Bittner stated the shed is the garage.  It is located at the end of

the driveway. 

 

Mr. Bittner stated the other Variance request involves a hot tub which has been integrated

into an existing deck and enclosure.  He stated there have been provisions made for a

locking cover and a gate around the deck.  After discussions with Mr. Habgood he

understands that the enclosure height is safe; however, he understands the Code states

that the enclosure needs to have 2” spacing as opposed to the 3 ˝” spacing which exists.

Mr. Habgood stated the hot tub is recessed in the deck and sitting on grade.   He stated

this came to the Township’s attention because the deck and the hot tub were put in

without a Permit, and they found out about this when the builder came in to request a

Final Certificate of Occupancy.  The work was done by the Applicant – not the builder.

Mr. Habgood stated under Section 271 Paragraph F, they do not meet the spacing

requirement between the slats in the fencing.

 

Photographs of the hot tub were presented to the Board this evening, and the set of photos

was collectively marked as Exhibit A-3. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked the distance from the ground to the deck, and Mr. Bittner stated it is

2 ˝’.  The total height including the railing is 5 ˝’. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the fence was installed in accordance with any National standards as to

spacing, and Mr. Bittner stated he feels it was.  Ms. Kirk asked who installed the fence,

and Mr. Bittner stated it was done by his son.  Ms. Kirk asked how long he has lived at

the property, and Mr. Bittner stated he has lived there approximately four and a half

years.  The hot tub has been installed for approximately three years.  Ms. Kirk asked

Mr. Bittner if his son is a contractor, and Mr. Bittner stated he is not.

 

Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Majewski if he feels there are any safety hazards with the spacing of

the slats on the fence, and Mr. Majewski stated he does not.  Mr. Toadvine asked the

difference between 2”and 3 ˝” as he assume the issue has to do with someone getting

through, and Mr. Majewski agreed.  Mr. Majewski stated someone could get stuck but

could not get through. 

 

There was no public comment.

April 4, 2006                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 6

 

 

Mr. Kim moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve two

Variances – one for the ten foot setback, requesting a nine foot setback; and the fence

having 3 ˝” versus 2 ˝”. 

 

Ms. Kirk suggested that Mr. Bittner speak with Mr. Habgood after he receives the

Board’s Decision to insure that the proper permits are on file with the Township as to the

hot tub and the enclosure, and Mr. Bittner agreed.

 

 

There being no further business, Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        Barbara Kirk Chairman