TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – AUGUST 15, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on August 15, 2006.  Chairman Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:  Barbara Kirk, Chairman

                                                David Malinowski, Secretary

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Gregory Smith, Member

 

Others:                                     Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                John Donaghy, Township Solicitor

                                                Jennifer McGrath Township Solicitor

                                                 (for Appeal #06-1374 only)

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

 

Absent:                         Rudolph Mayrhofer, ZHB Vice Chairman

                                                Grace Godshalk, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

APPEAL #06-1374 – DIANE & STEVE BULLARD

 

Jennifer McGrath, attorney, was present on behalf of the Township as Township solicitor.

 

Ms. Kirk stated this matter was continued from June 20, 2006 when there was not a

quorum present.  Thereafter Mr. and Mrs. Bullard had asked several additional

continuances due to conflicts.  No testimony has been taken in this matter at this point. 

Diane and Steve Bullard, 110 Ovington Road, were sworn in.  The Application submitted

was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Included with that Application was an As-Built Plan for the

subject property dated 3/29/06, and this was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Mr. Bullard stated they are requesting a Variance for overfill in a certain section that has

come up on the survey by Mr. Pelke.  Mr. Pelke was not present to testify this evening.

Mr. Bullard stated the reason the overfill occurred was that two days prior to the

completion of the project, Mr. Pelke came out and marked, according to the original

survey, where the limits were for the fill.  He added that the last two days of the project

were extremely busy with a large number of trucks delivering dirt.  There were two

bobcats on site to push the dirt around and fill the hole according to the survey.  He stated

they had originally planned on going one more day with deliveries of dirt, but at that

August 15, 2006                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 14

 

 

point he stopped it because he felt they were close enough and it would not be necessary

to have any more dirt.  They spent the next two days grading the dirt according to the

Plan.   While they were close, they were a little over according to the drawing.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if it is true that as a result of the fill project, they disturbed in excess

of the maximum permitted disturbance of the steep slopes which was 15%, when in fact

they disturbed 32%; and Mr. Bullard agreed. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked where the fill was placed on the property, and Mr. Bullard stated it was

placed in the center and distributed forward from there.  He presented pictures which

show the property since it was seeded and stabilized.  Four photos were marked as

Exhibits A-3, A-4, A-5, and A-6. 

 

Mr. Bullard stated after the project was completed and the Township did a survey and

found that there was an overage, they applied for a Variance.  He stated they were

requested by the Township to seed it and stabilize it, and they did this right away.

 

Ms. Kirk asked the purpose of the fill, and Mr. Bullard stated it was to eliminate a 45’

hole in their yard brought about by a borrow pit from the Canal.  He stated 100 years ago,

they dug out that section of the property to build the other side of the Canal.  He has been

to the Canal Museum and been informed that it is a borrow pit and not a natural resource. 

The purpose for filling hole was primarily safety.  Ms. Kirk asked who marked the areas

of the steep slopes, and Mr. Bullard stated they marked them together with Mr. Pelke

who was the original surveyor and did the Grading Plan.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked how many cubic yards of dirt were brought in, and Mr. Bullard

stated 11,000.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they received anything in writing from the Canal Museum or any other

historical society to verify the information he testified to, and Mr. Bullard stated he did

not.  He stated they told him the next step would be to go to Harrisburg and get

something written down to finish the research. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they contacted anyone at the Bucks County Conservation District

before the project was started, and Mr. Bullard stated Bucks County Conservation has

been to the site a couple of times and approved the project product.  He stated the

Department of Environmental Protection has also been to the site three times.

 

Mr. Malinowski asked what the site looked like before it was filled, and Mr. Bullard

stated it looked like a U-shaped hole in the ground that had a direct drop off of

approximately 40 to 50 feet straight down to the Canal.  It was U-shaped with the open

part of the U on the Canal and going back from there. 

 

August 15, 2006                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 14

 

 

Mr. Toadvine noted a copy of the Grading Permit which was issued which shows the

existing features.  He stated it appears the elevation for the area runs from 40’ to between

75’ and 80’.  Ms. Kirk stated a copy of that material was provided to the Board by

Mr. Habgood in a packet including his memo to the Board dated 5/30/06.  This packet

was marked as Exhibit A-7. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated at the time Mr. Bullard submitted the Application for the Permit, a

separate Plan prepared by J. G. Park was submitted, and Mr. Bullard agreed.

Ms. Kirk asked why it was difficult to stay within the parameters of what was set forth in

the Plan which was approved for the Permit.  Mr. Bullard stated during the last three days

of the project approximately 75% of the dirt was delivered so it was extremely busy and

hectic; and while they marked it out ahead of time, they felt they had come in right on the

mark.  Ms. Kirk asked if anyone from J. G. Park was on site, and Mr. Bullard stated

they were there to mark it.  He noted the location where they were over and added they

marked around the perimeter of the U shape and there is an open space in the back of the

U facing the Canal on the right where there is level spot which was extremely hard to

judge because it could not be marked unless it was checked by a survey. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated they have disturbed 17% more of the steep slopes and asked

Mr. Majewski what that area would be in terms of square feet.  Mr. Majewski stated his

calculations show it to be 11% greater than the 15% allowed or 26%.  He stated the

additional disturbance is approximately 6,000 square feet or 0.15 acres.  Mr. Toadvine

asked if they could restore the steep slopes, and Mr. Majewski stated they could take the

dirt back out.  Mr. Toadvine asked if there has been any additional run off created as a

result of the fill, and Mr. Bullard stated there has not.  He stated the hill and the area have

been stabilized and the grass is growing.

 

Ms. McGrath stated the Township is requesting Party status.  She stated she was asked by

the Township to gather information and report back to the Board of Supervisors, and they

will then decide whether or not they will oppose it.  She noted she is present as Conflict

Counsel for the Township.  Ms. McGrath asked when they purchased the property, and

Mrs. Bullard stated they purchased it three years ago.  Ms. McGrath asked the current use

of the property, and Mr. Bullard stated it is residential.  They noted they also have a pool

on the property.  Ms. McGrath asked if it is one parcel, and Mr. Bullard stated it is.

Ms. McGrath asked their intent for the property and why they removed the steep slopes

and graded it out.  Mr. Bullard stated it was a safety factor and having a 45’ to 50’ drop

off around the side of their yard was a safety factor.  He stated by filling it in, it also

enhanced the property in general. 

 

Ms. McGrath asked if they Plan to subdivide the property, and Mr. Bullard stated at this

point this do not.  Ms. McGrath asked if they would be willing to agree as a Condition of

the Variance to not subdivide the property.  Mr. Bullard stated he does not feel

subdividing the property has anything to do with the Variance.  Ms. McGrath asked if

August 15, 2006                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 14

 

 

they have Plans right now to subdivide the property, and Mr. Bullard stated they do not.

Ms. McGrath asked if they would be willing to agree as a Condition of getting the

Variance not to subdivide the property, and Mr. Bullard stated that has nothing to do with

the Variance on the hole – what his intention long term or short term is on his property.

Ms. McGrath asked if he would be willing to agree as a Condition of granting the

Variance not to subdivide the property.  Mr. Bullard stated he will not answer the

question.  Mr. Toadvine stated he assumes that by not answering, he is not agreeing to

this.

 

Ms. McGrath asked if they could still use the property for their home without the

Variance, and Mr. Bullard agreed.

 

Ms. Kirk asked when they received notice from the Township that the actual grading was

exceeding that which was permitted under the Permit.  Mr. Bullard stated it was on the

last couple days as the project was being completed.  Mrs. Bullard stated she feels it was

in May since their first Hearing was scheduled for June.  Ms. Kirk stated she assumes that

by then the bulk of the dirt had already been filled in on the property, and Mrs. Bullard

agreed.  Mr. Majewski stated it was actually the beginning of March and not May.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Bullard when he applied for the Grading Permit, was a

calculation performed at that time as to how much fill would be brought to the property,

and Mr. Bullard stated there was.  He stated then Mr. Majewski came back and wanted

another estimate; and they both agreed to 11,000 cubic yards of dirt, and this is what the

Permit was based on.  11,000 cubic yards was brought in.  Mrs. Bullard stated they had to

write out an additional Permit.  Mr. Habgood stated there was not an additional Permit

issued – it was a revision of the Permit that was originally issued.  Ms. Kirk noted the

Permit they are looking at as part of the Application and asked if that was the original

Permit, and Mr. Habgood agreed.  Ms. Kirk stated there is then a later Permit that

modified the May Permit.  Mr. Habgood disagreed.  He stated the original Permit shows

that the additional information for the increased total was added to that Permit. 

Ms. Kirk stated there is not a copy of that information with the packet provided, and

Mr. Habgood stated there is not.  Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Habgood if he agreed with

Mr. Bullard’s statement that the 11,000 cubic yards was what was included as part of the

revision, and Mr. Habgood agreed.

 

Ms. McGrath asked Mr. Majewski if the property as it exists if the Variance were

granted, would the Bullards need further Variances to subdivide the property, and

Mr. Majewski stated he does not believe so.  She asked Mr. Majewski if excess fill could

be removed, and Mr. Majewski stated this would be an option to restore the steep slopes

and re-establish where the slopes were.  Ms. McGrath asked what this would involve, and

Mr. Majewski stated it would involve taking loaders and earth-moving equipment and

loading it back into the trucks and trucking it off to another location.  Mr. Toadvine asked

if it could also be done by redistributing the dirt on the site as opposed to removing it

August 15, 2006                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 14

 

 

from the site; and Mr. Majewski stated while this may be possible, the site has a number

of restrictions since there are woods and other categories of steep slopes that are between

15% and 25%.  He stated the Delaware Canal is also on the eastern side of the property

so it would be difficult to redistribute it. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the condition of the property existed prior to the current Zoning

Ordinance, and Mr. Majewski agreed. 

 

Mr. Malinowski asked if they were to take the excess dirt away could they do it from the

site or would they have to come down the Canal, and Mr. Majewski stated they would

have to come down through the Bullard property as they could not come down the Canal.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if there was any public comment, and Ms. B. J. Rassler approached.

 

Mr. Bullard stated he would like to ask a question prior to public comment being taken. 

He stated when he came to the Zoning Hearing Board Hearing for the Allegheny Valley

School, there was a ruling by the Board that the only people allowed to comment were

those within three blocks of the sites being considered.  He stated he assumes that this

rule applies as well in this case.  He stated Ms. Rassler is not a resident of Lower

Makefield and does not reside on Ovington Road but resides in Philadelphia.   He stated

if the same rules apply this evening as they did for Allegheny Valley School, Ms. Rassler

should not be allowed to speak.  Ms. Kirk stated if she is an adjacent property owner who

received Notice of the Hearing, she has the right to make a comment or participate in the

proceedings.  Mr. Bullard stated she is not a resident on Ovington Road and has not lived

there.

 

Ms. B. J. Rassler, joint owner of 105 Ovington Road which is next to 110 Ovington

Road, was sworn in.  She requested Party status. 

 

Ms. Rassler stated she also abuts this ravine which previously existed.  She stated she

moved into the Township thirty years ago and her three small children and all their

friends played in the ravine without incident. She questions if there is any history of

accidents occurring in this ravine in the last one hundred years.   Ms. Rassler stated the

ravine abutted her property and went to the Canal.  She stated approximately one year

ago Mr. Bullard had Mack-sized dump trucks come down their street and dump dirt into

the ravine.  She asked Mrs. Bullard what they were doing and she indicated they got

some free dirt and were filling in part of the ravine.  Ms. Rassler asked if they had

surveyed the property, received a Permit from Lower Makefield Township, contacted the

DEP or the Bucks County Soil Conservation Department and she indicated no to all

questions.  Ms. Rassler had suggested that they stop the work until they obtained the

appropriate documentation.  Ms. Rassler stated several days later she saw Mr. Bullard

who stated to her, “it was his property and he will do whatever he wants on his property.’ 

 

August 15, 2006                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 14

 

 

She stated that he advised her, “Mark my words, I will fill in that ravine; and I will build

a house.”  Ms. Rassler stated he has now completed the first part of his comment.

Ms. Rassler stated the ravine was huge and she commented on the number of dump

trucks coming down Ovington Road day after day.  She stated very frequently enormous

dump trucks would dump the dirt and the gate on the truck would then crash. 

Mr. Toadvine stated this has already taken place, and they are now dealing with the issue

of the Variance request.  He asked that she limit the testimony to the issue at hand. 

Ms. Rassler stated now they want the Township to grant a Variance so that the nightmare

they created will be okay.  She stated this is the first step in a number of Variances that

they will be asking for.  She stated she would welcome trucks coming back to the

property undoing what never should have been done in the first place. 

 

Mr. Bob Shellenberger, 103 Ovington Road, whose home is two doors away from the

subject property, was sworn in.  Mr. Shellenberger stated he has a copy of the 3/12/06

Board of Supervisors Minutes when this matter was discussed.  He read from the Minutes

where Mr. Bollard stated that every step of the way he had a Grading Permit and

complied with every single Township Ordinance, that the amount of overfill dirt came to

approximately 1,000 cubic feet, and that he was in full compliance with the Grading Plan.

Mr. Shellenberger asked Mr. Majewski if the Bullards ever confided to him what their

long-term Plans were for property.  Ms. Kirk stated Mr. Shellenberger should address

himself to the Board.  Mr. Shellenberger stated he feels it is a known fact that they plan

on building on the property.  Mr. Shellenberger stated Mr. Bullard advised the Board of

Supervisors that he complied with the Grading Plan, and it is now obvious that he did not. 

He assumes that he hired competent engineers to run the project, and either Mr. Bullard is

badly mistaken or lied; and he would like to see the mistake corrected.

 

Mr. Malinowski asked how he would like to see the mistake corrected, and

Mr. Shellenberger stated he would like them to remove the dirt.

 

Mr. Anthony Russo, 101 Tudor Lane, which is one block away from the subject property,

was sworn in.  Mr. Russo stated he has lived in the area for twenty-seven years and does

not feel people should be permitted to do things without Permits.  He stated this project

was started without a Permit, and there is overfill of more than 11,000 feet. 

Mr. Majewski stated he feels that they have less than 11,000 cubic yards and they are

within the Permit.  Mr. Russo stated this is different than what he said previously that

they were slightly over.  Mr. Majewski stated without doing calculations, he had thought

they were over based on the extent of the disturbance that they had done; but the

calculations have been done and double checked and show that they are within the

Permit.  Mr. Russo stated he does not feel that they should use the Board or the Township

for their own personal gain – to fill the ravine in, zone it, build a home, and then sell it.

 

Mr. Donald Lex, 106 Vernon Lane, was sworn in.  He stated he and his family purchased

a lot in back of this ravine in 1956 and built their home in 1961 where he has lived since. 

August 15, 2006                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 7 of 14

 

 

He stated he, the Rasslers, and the Bullards adjoin the ravine.  He stated they paid extra

for the lots as they felt it was going to remain open space.  He stated they never felt

anyone would do what has been done or that the Township would allow it.  He stated

they paid a premium price for their lots because of this open space which is now gone. 

He stated the next step is that they will build houses on it.  Mr. Lex stated he has different

calculations than Mr. Majewski.  Mr. Toadvine asked if he was an engineer, and

Mr. Lex stated he was a Mathematics teacher for thirty-five years.  Mr. Toadvine stated

Mr. Majewski is the Township engineer, and they will defer to his calculations. 

 

Mr. Bamburak asked what was so attractive about the ravine apart from the fact that there

was no house there.  Mr. Lex stated it was attractive because it was open space. 

Mr. Bamburak stated while it is nice to have open space, it was someone’s property;  and

people have the right to do what they want with their property.  Mr. Lex stated the

attraction was that it was not going to be built on because it was 30’ deep and no one

could have imagined that this would happen or that there was no Ordinance in the

Township to stop it.  Mr. Lex stated he feels they have made a violation of the law and

every ounce over should be taken out.

 

Ms. Shanley Rassler, 105 Ovington Road was sworn in.  She stated until a few months

ago she lived at 105 Ovington Road and was one of the children who played in the

ravine.    She stated the ravine was a place for animals, plants, etc. and she feels this is

why everyone was in favor of keeping the ravine.

 

Ms. Kirk closed testimony.

 

Ms. McGrath stated they would request that the matter be continued. 

 

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

matter until September 19, 2006 in order to present the information to the Board of

Supervisors. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked that Mr. Bullard return at that time as the Township may wish to present

additional testimony.

 

 

APPEAL #06-1383 – SANDY S. SPEICHER

 

Ms. Kirk reminded Ms. Speicher that she was still under oath since testimony began in

July, 2006.  She stated at that time the Board had requested that she explore alternatives

with her architect to help reduce some of the existing impervious surface.  Ms. Kirk

stated she understands that they have now submitted a revised Plan to the Board dated

8/11/06 indicating that she has modified some of the features in the proposed addition.

This document was marked as Exhibit A-4.

August 15, 2006                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 8 of 14

 

Ms. Kirk stated based on Exhibit A-4, this impacts only the impervious surface that she

was requesting; and she would still need a 35’ rear yard setback as opposed to the

required 40’.  Ms. Speicher stated this is incorrect; and she will not be touching the rear

yard.  Ms. Kirk asked if she is withdrawing her request for a rear yard setback, and

Ms. Speicher stated she is. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated at the last Hearing, all agreed that the existing coverage at the property

without the addition is 32%, and Ms. Speicher stated this is correct.  Ms. Kirk stated

based on what has been submitted to the Board, Ms. Speicher will keep the same 32%;

and Ms. Speicher agreed.  She stated she will not change anything and will only build

upon the existing impervious surface.  She will build 10’ out of the driveway and go up

and make a loft.

 

Mr. Majewski stated he has reviewed the information provided by Ms. Speicher

concerning the existing impervious surface and her proposal; and Mr. Majewski stated

with the configuration of the garage over the existing driveway, there will be no change

to the impervious surface.

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Township has nothing further at this time.

 

There was no public comment, and the testimony was closed.

 

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

Application for a Variance to Section 200-23B for increased impervious surface of 32%

be granted as submitted by the Applicant.

 

 

APPEAL #06-1389 – ROBERT J. NAWALINSKI

 

 

Mr. Robert Nawalinski and Ms. Mary Colleen Nawalinski, 56 Sutphin Road, were sworn

in. 

 

The Application submitted was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Included with the Application

was the survey Plan last dated 6/19/06, and this was marked Exhibit A-2.

 

Ms. Kirk stated based on the information provided in the Application, they intend to

construct an addition onto existing impervious surface.  Mr. Nawalinski stated it is partial

existing impervious surface.  Ms. Kirk stated based upon their proposal, the addition will

be 160 square feet, of which 60 square feet is already existing impervious surface so that

the overall increase is 100 square feet of impervious surface which is approximately ½%.

Mr. Nawalinski agreed.  Ms. Kirk stated they are currently at 28% impervious surface,

and they are only requesting a ½% increase.

 

August 15, 2006                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 9 of 14

 

 

There was no public comment.

 

Mr. Malinowski moved, Mr. Smith seconded, and it was unanimously carried to grant the

Variance as requested.

 

 

APPEAL #06-1390 – CRAIG J. AND BARBARA A. RADVANY

 

Edward Murphy, attorney, was present with Mr. Craig and Barbara Radvany who were

sworn in.  Mr. Murphy stated  this is precursor to a Minor Subdivision for the property

that Mr. and Mrs. Radvany have owned for the last ten years.  He stated this involves two

lots from a 1947 Subdivision known as Fairfield Village. 

 

The Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Mr. Murphy stated this included a Plan

identified as the Zoning Variance Plan dated 6/30/06, and this was marked as Exhibit

A-2.  Mr. Murphy stated he also has photographs to submit – one set was marked as

Exhibit A-3 and the other was marked as Exhibit A-4.

 

Mr. Murphy noted Exhibit A-2 which identifies Lot #1 which is the present home of

Mr. and Mrs. Radvany.  Exhibit A-3 shows a number of photos of the various elevations

of the Radvany home.  Three of the four photographs on Exhibit A-3 depict the

screened-in porch which is the subject of this evening’s Application.  He stated Exhibit

A-2 also identifies Lot #2 which is depicted in part on Exhibit A-4.  He stated one of the

prominent features in the photographs is a large tree which is shown as a 12” magnolia on

Lot #2 on Exhibit A-2.  He noted the flagpole on Exhibit A-2, and stated the flagpole is

shown on the lower photograph of Exhibit #A-4. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated the property total is approximately 1.3 acres.  He stated in the R-2

District where this property is located, the minimum lot size is 16,500 square feet.  He

stated Lot #1 is nearly double that size and is slightly over 32,000 square feet, and Lot #2

is 25,300 square feet.  He stated the issue this evening does not deal with the Subdivision

of a lot into a smaller lot than what the Ordinance would require.  Mr. Murphy stated the

issue is whether or not Mr. and Mrs. Radvany can maintain the existing screened-in porch

that is shown on Exhibit A-3.    Mr. Murphy stated the porch has existed since the house

was built in 1949. 

 

He stated the Subdivision Plan is in large measure being driven by the desire of Mr. and

Mrs. Radvany to provide a home for their daughter and son-in-law who are currently

living in France.  Ultimately Mr. and Mrs. Radvany will probably build a smaller home

on Lot #2 for themselves, and provide their existing home to their daughter and son-in-

law when they return from France. 

 

 

August 15, 2006                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 10 of 14

 

 

Mr. Murphy stated the requested relief they seek involves a side yard Variance so as to

maintain the existing screen-in porch shown on Exhibit A-3.  He stated in anticipation of

this, the home that is proposed on Lot #2 has been shifted further to the opposite side still

maintaining the minimum 15’ side yard, and they are showing a 22.7’ side yard on the

side of the line adjacent to the porch.  They have shown a front-entry garage proposed for

Lot #2 on the opposite side, further away from the porch.  Mr. Murphy stated Mr. and

Mrs. Radvany are also prepared to provide appropriate buffer and screening between the

porch and what they feel will be their new home so as to further provide additional

privacy for the owners of Lot #1.   Mr. Murphy stated as part of the Subdivision no

existing trees will be removed.

 

Mr. Murphy marked another photograph as Exhibit A-5 which shows a perspective of

Lot #2 standing at the rear of the lot and looking forward to Stackhouse Drive.    He

stated any home that would be constructed on Lot #2 would be set back well beyond the

tree shown. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated Mr. and Mrs. Radvany did speak to all the property owners

immediately abutting their property and across Laurel Lane, and no one had any

difficulty with the proposal.  He stated the porch was a feature that was not uncommon in

this neighborhood.  He stated the house directly across the street from Mr. and Mrs.

Radvany has almost the same elevation and similar porch. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the dividing property line were shifted further into Lot #2, they would

then have to come before the Zoning Hearing Board for a Variance as to  minimum lot

width since Lot #2 would not meet the requirement; and Mr. Murphy agreed.    He stated

the lot as shown does meet the 110’ minimum lot width.  Mr. Toadvine stated these are

existing lots previously created in a Subdivision.  Mr. Murphy agreed, although he noted

they are slightly re-configuring the vacant lot.  He stated he does have a copy of the 1947

Plan which he marked as Exhibit A-6.  He stated this property was originally two lots and

will still be two lots.  Ms. Kirk asked if his clients did a Deed of  Consolidation for the

two lots when they purchased the property, and Mr. Murphy stated they did not and he

feels that may have been done years ago before they acquired the property.  Mr. Murphy

stated he feels the Deed conveying the property always had  both lots in one Deed.  He

stated these are Lots #23 and #24 as indicated in the Application.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Radvany indicated that they heard Mr. Murphy’s summary, and indicated

that it was accurate.  Mrs. Radvany stated they do love the side yard porch and would like

to be able to maintain it.

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Township would like to participate as a Party, but they are not in

opposition.  Mr. Donaghy asked if there is any request for dimensional relief on Lot #2,

and Mr. Murphy stated there is not.  Mr. Donaghy stated he assumes they would agree to

provide buffering on Lot #2 in the area of where it abuts the porch; and Mr. Murphy

August 15, 2006                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 11 of 14

 

 

stated this is correct, and they would agree as a Condition of any Minor Subdivision Plan

that the additional landscaping and buffering would be depicted on that Plan. 

 

Mr. Donaghy asked if they would agree that any driveway on Lot #2 would be in an area

other than in the side yard between Lot #1 and Lot #2.  Mr. Murphy stated they would

agree to this; and if it is agreeable to Mr. Majewski, the driveway location that is shown

on Exhibit A-2 is the location they would propose.  They would agree to work with

Mr. Majewski on this.  Mr. Donaghy asked if the porch were to remain 3.1’ from the side

yard, how would they propose to maintain that side of the porch and asked if they are

proposing an access easement for maintenance since there is limited room to provide for

maintenance.  Mr. Murphy stated while he had not considered this, they would be willing

to entertain some type of access or maintenance easement and would agree to include this

on the Subdivision Plan. 

 

There was no public comment.  Testimony was closed.

 

Ms. Kirk moved and Mr. Bamburak seconded that the request for a Variance from the

side yard setback for proposed Lot #1 as presented be granted subject to the following

Conditions:

 

1)  That the proposed Subdivision as depicted on Exhibit A-2 be the Subdivision Plan provided to the Township for approval subject to those comments as required by the Township engineer and to meet the Township engineer’s satisfaction;

 

2)  That the Applicants shall provide such landscape buffering between the two proposed dwellings subject to the Township engineer’s satisfaction.

 

Mr. Murphy stated the Township’s Ordinance in Section 200-105 has a six-month

limitation on obtaining a Variance.  Because they still have to go through the Subdivision

process, he would ask that they run it from the time they have all their Permits associated

with the Subdivision since they do not feel they will be done the Subdivision process in

six months.  Mr. Toadvine asked if one year would be sufficient, and Mr. Murphy stated

he felt this would be sufficient. 

 

Ms. Kirk moved to amend the Motion to include the grant of a Variance from that

Section of the Zoning Ordinance that would require the Applicant to submit a Building

Permit within six months from the grant of Variance to extend it for a period of one year.

 

Mr. Bamburak seconded the Motion to amend, and the Motion as amended carried

unanimously.

 

 

 

August 15, 2006                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 12 of 14

 

 

APPEAL #06-1391 – ROBERT & ESTHER HILZER AND B & J BUILDERS

 

Mr. Robert Hilzer, 404 Lenape Lane, was sworn in.  The Application submitted was

marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached were two sheets entitled, “As-Built Grading Plan” for

the subject property and these were marked as Exhibit A-2. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated they are requesting a Variance from Section 200-27B to allow increased

impervious surface from the required 18%.    She asked the amount of impervious surface

he is proposing, and Mr. Hilzer stated he feels it is 60 square feet since it is a 5’ by 12 ½’

addition for the bathroom expansion on the front of  the house.  Ms. Kirk asked if this is

the only addition that is being proposed, and Mr. Hilzer stated there is also the issue of

the existing patio which was built in 1995 and this goes to the second Variance as to the

setback from the collector road. 

 

Ms. Kirk noted the second sheet of the As-Built Grading Plan which was provided shows

several notations – one being the proposed addition for bathroom expansion 5’ by 12.5’

which would total 62.5 square feet.  Further along in what appears to be the rear is

another notation marked – Addition 14’ by 6’, and Mr. Hilzer stated they obtained a

Variance for that in 1995 and constructed that at that time.  It is not a part of this

Application.  Ms. Kirk stated to the far left there is another notation for a garage addition

of 6’ by 24’, and she asked if this has already been built.  Mr. Hilzer stated this was built

in 1995 as well. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked the existing impervious surface at the property.  Mr. Majewski stated the

Sketch is difficult to read but both he and Mr. Habgood agree that they are requesting a

0.4% increase over what is existing.  Ms. Kirk asked if they feel they are looking for

anything that is in the 30% range of impervious surface, and Mr. Majewski and

Mr. Habgood stated they are not. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked why there is an issue with the collector road since it appears it is

already being violated by the existing patio.  Mr. Habgood stated the Permit for the

addition in the rear yard and the addition on the side yard was just for those additions and

there was no Permit on record for the construction of the patio.  The patio is encroaching

into the special setback and this does require a Variance.  Mr. Toadvine stated it does not

encroach any further than the addition, and Mr. Habgood agreed it does not.  Ms. Kirk

stated it appears that it is a matter of housekeeping, and Mr. Habgood agreed. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated the patio currently exists and it encroaches into the collector road special

setback as it is 68’ rather than the required 80’.  Ms. Kirk asked who constructed the

patio, and Mr. Hilzer stated he had the builder construct it.  Ms. Kirk asked if he was

under the impression that a Permit was being obtained for it, and Mr. Hilzer stated he

was.  Ms. Kirk asked the name of the builder, and Mr. Hilzer stated it is the same builder who is building the proposed addition. 

August 15, 2006                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 13 of 14

 

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Township would like to participate in this matter as a Party but

not necessarily to oppose.  He asked if Mr. Hilzer was aware that there may be an

encroachment into the side yard setback by this bathroom addition, and Mr. Hilzer stated

he was not aware of this.   Mr. Majewski stated if the Plan that was provided is correct, it

shows that the existing house is located at 15.0 feet off the property line; and due to the

angle of the property compared to the house, the addition will slightly encroach over that

by approximately 1.5 feet, so the side setback will be 13.5 feet to the front corner of the

bathroom addition.  Ms. Kirk asked if Mr. Hilzer agreed with this, and Mr. Hilzer stated

he would defer to Mr. Majewski.  Ms. Kirk stated because of the angled position of the

property line, the upper right corner of where the proposed bathroom addition will be,

they will not be able to meet the 15’ requirement although the bottom part of the addition

will meet this requirement.  Mr. Hilzer stated he does not feel the drawing is accurate. 

He stated he is not going out to the line of the front of the house and is going out 5’ rather

than 6.6’.  Mr. Toadvine asked if it goes all the way out to the side of the house, and

 

Mr. Hilzer stated he feels the dimension there is 12.5’  Mr. Toadvine stated it may not

actually encroach.  Mr. Majewski stated based on the 15.0 dimension, it will encroach

although it may be slightly less than the 1 ½’ that he calculated.

 

Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Hilzer if he would like to amend the Application to include a

Variance from the side yard setback to allow a 1.5’ encroachment if necessary, and

Mr. Hilzer stated he would.

 

There was no public comment.  Testimony was closed.

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried that the Variance

from Section 200-27B be granted to allow an increase of impervious surface by .4%; that

a Variance from Section 200-63A be granted to permit a Collector Road setback of 68’

for the existing patio; and that there be a Variance to permit a side yard setback

encroachment of 1.5’ for the proposed bathroom addition as presented by the Applicant.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Ms. Kirk stated there was an Application before the Board for an Assisted-Living Facility

to be constructed at Stony Hill and Heacock Roads known as Sunrise Development. 

They were requesting Special Exceptions and Variances.  She stated the Application was

granted by the Zoning Hearing Board but was Appealed to Bucks County Courts by both

the Township as well as individual residents within that area.  There has now been a

Stipulation entered between all of the Parties which would settle the Land Use Appeal

keeping the Special Exception and Variances that the Zoning Hearing Board granted, but

 

 

August 15, 2006                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 14 of 14

 

 

reducing the number of units and beds at the proposed facility to 76 units and no more

than 90 beds as opposed to the original 110 requested.  Ms. Kirk stated the Zoning

Hearing Board now needs to decide whether or not to authorize Mr. Toadvine to sign the

Stipulation on behalf of the Board.

 

Ms. Kirk moved and Mr. Bamburak seconded that Mr. Toadvine be authorized to sign the

Stipulation and return it to be filed with the Court.

 

Mr. Bamburak asked if the building will be smaller, and Ms. Kirk stated they will limit

the number of units and beds to limit the number of residents.  Mr. Toadvine stated there

was also an issue as to whether it would be a two-story or three-story facility, and it has

been agreed that it will be a two-story facility which required them to get a Variance for

the impervious coverage but made for a more aesthetically-pleasing facility.

 

Motion carried with Mr. Malinowski opposed.

 

 

There being no further business, Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        David Malinowski, Secretary