TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

REORGANIZATION MEETING

MINUTES – JANUARY 4, 2006

 

 

The Reorganization Meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 4, 2006.  Chairman Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:34 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:  Barbara Kirk, Chairman

                                                Rudolph Mayrhofer, Vice Chairman

                                                David Malinowski, Secretary

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Darwin Dobson, Member

                                                Paul Kim, Alternate (voting only on

                                                  Appeal #05-1354)

 

Others:                                     Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                John Donaghy, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

 

 

REORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD

 

Mr. Toadvine called for nominations for Chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Mayrhofer moved and Mr. Dobson seconded the nomination of Barbara Kirk as Chairman for 2006.  There were no further nominations.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

The meeting was turned over to Ms. Kirk.

 

Ms. Kirk called for nominations for Vice Chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Dobson moved and Mr. Bamburak seconded the nomination of Rudolph Mayrhofer as Vice Chairman for 2006.  There were no further nominations.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Ms. Kirk called for nominations for Secretary of the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Dobson moved and Mr. Bamburak seconded the nominations of David Malinowski as Secretary for 2006.  There were no further nominations.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

 

January 4, 2006                                                           Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 17

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF SOLICITOR

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Dobson seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint

Marte & Toadvine as Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor for 2006.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1339 – HALLEY AND DEBORAH GOULD

 

Ms. Kirk stated this matter was continued from November 15, 2005.  The Board received

a letter from the Applicants dated 1/4/06 requesting that the matter be continued to a

future date as they have not yet received the wetlands delineation as requested by the

Board at the last meeting.  They have also waived any time constraints with the Appeal.

 

Mr. Kirk moved, Mr. Dobson seconded and it was unanimously carried that this matter

be continued to 2/7/06.

 

The letter sent by the Applicants was marked as Board Exhibit #1.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1351 – MICHAEL AND ROBBIN DEMUTH

 

Ms. Robbin DeMuth was sworn in and stated she lives at 2300 Yardley-Morrisville Road. 

The Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application was a Plan of

Topography for the property dated 8/24/05, and this was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Ms. DeMuth stated they would like to install a pool and the impervious surface will go up

to 27%. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated on the Plan that was submitted with the Application it shows a pool

equipment slab of 684 square feet which will hold the pool filter and other equipment. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked where this will be placed on the property.  Ms. DeMuth stated it was

going to go on the side of the pool.  Mr. Toadvine stated that it appears a mistake was

made by the Applicant with regard to the pool equipment slab.  Mr. Majewski stated he

feels this square footage refers to the pool itself as this would be an 18’ by 38’ area.  The

pool itself is not impervious.  Mr. Toadvine stated that it appears that the Applicant does

not have the correct calculations in term of the impervious coverage.  Mr. Majewski

stated there is also a discrepancy with regard to their existing impervious surface.

Mr. Habgood stated he feels the existing impervious surface is 25.7%.  Mr. Toadvine

asked Ms. DeMuth if she agrees with the calculations for the existing impervious surface

as noted by Mr. Habgood. and Ms. DeMuth stated she does.  Ms. Kirk stated their Plan

had indicated that they had 23.88% impervious surface existing which is approximately a

1.9% difference from what Mr. Habgood has calculated.

January 4, 2006                                                           Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 10

 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated he feels they should consider taking this back to their surveyor and

go back through the calculations.  Ms. DeMuth stated her husband was supposed to

present this proposal, but he is away on emergency business this evening and was unable

to attend.  Ms. DeMuth stated she really does not have the answers to the Board’s

questions.  Ms. Kirk asked if she would like to have the matter continued to the next

Board meeting, and Ms. DeMuth stated she would.  Ms. Kirk stated they can then verify

with the individual installing the pool as to the calculations. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated the surveyor should break out the percentages so they know how

much is for the house, driveway, walkways, etc.  Ms. Kirk stated what is shown on the

Plan as “equipment slab” is actually the pool itself.  Ms. DeMuth was advised that they

can work with Mr. Habgood at the Township Office if they have any questions.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated in reviewing the Plan it is not possible to determine what the actual

size of the coping is around the pool.  He stated the Board will want to know what areas

are impervious so anything that is being added such as the coping, walkway, etc. should

be noted.  He stated they need to delineate how many square feet of impervious they are

adding as a result of the pool installation as well as the amount of existing impervious

surface. 

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Supervisors have asked that the Township solicitor participate in

this matter.  He stated if there is an equipment slab proposed, this should be shown as

well. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated the Application does not indicate the Zoning classification, and

Mr. Habgood stated it is Zoned R-2.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated if they are going to continue the matter, Ms. DeMuth should

understand that the Board is required by State law to comply with certain time limits in

connection with the Appeal.  If she is requesting a continuance, they would also asked

that the time limit be waived up to and including the next meeting.  Ms. DeMuth agreed

to this.

 

Mr. Malinowski moved, Mr. Mayrhofer seconded and it was unanimously carried to

continue the matter until 2/7/06.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1352 – ORLEANS AT LOWER MAKEFIELD

 

Edward Murphy, attorney, was present with Mr. William Briegel, and Mr. Gregory

Glitzer.

 

 

January 4, 2006                                                           Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 10

 

 

The Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Submitted with the Application was a Plan

entitled Variance Request for Stormwater Discharge within Buffer Area for the Ferri

Tract dated 9/30/05, and this was marked as Exhibit A-2. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated they are requesting relief to permit disturbance of a six one

hundredths of an acre (.06)  in the wetlands buffer area.   

 

Mr. Briegel and Mr. Glitzer were sworn in. 

 

Mr. Glitzer stated he is an engineer with Gilmore Associates.  He stated he has been 

licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1991.  He has testified previously

before the Zoning Hearing Board.  He stated he is familiar with the property and he, or

someone under his direction, prepared Exhibit A-2.   Mr. Glitzer stated the property is an

eighteen acre site on the south side of Big Oak Road.  It is rectangular-shaped property

on which there is an existing nursery operation.  The Plan depicts a fifteen unit residential

development with fourteen lots and one existing home.  Mr. Glitzer stated the property is

zoned R-2.   Exhibit A-2 depicts the property subdivision as described by Mr. Glitzer.

He stated it was prepared based on the grading and drainage Plan for the Subdivision.

 

Mr. Glitzer stated the Subdivision as proposed has a single point of ingress and egress off

Big Oak Road as well as an emergency access easement out to Big Oak Road further to

the east of the principal access.  Mr. Glitzer stated they will also retain an emergency

access to the rear behind Lot #8 into Falls Township. 

 

Mr. Glitzer stated they have designed a Stormwater Management Plan which is closely

tied to the grading plan.  He noted the blue lines on this Plan which are the regulated

waterways and large expanses of wetlands.  This is shown on the poster board of Exhibit

A-2.  Mr. Murphy stated there are two colors on the poster board.  Mr. Glitzer stated the

solid blue line is wetlands and the dashed blue lines are Waters of the Commonwealth

which are actually regulated ditches over which the Army Corps of Engineers has

jurisdiction.  The green/yellow color is the Zoning Ordinance mandated buffer form those

regulated waterways.  This buffer is a 50’ uniform buffer from the outer most perimeter

of the regulated waterways. 

 

Mr. Murphy noted within the areas of the buffer, this Plan shows several encroachments,

and these are the subject of the Zoning Hearing Board Application.  Mr. Glitzer agreed.

Mr. Glitzer stated the encroachments are outfall heights, end walls, and rip rap associated

with the discharge of the stormwater management basins which ring the inner circle of

the road and are designed as created wetlands. He stated the first encroachment is on the

westerly side of the regulated area which is an outfall for Basin #1 and is across from Lot

#4 on the Plan.  The heavy dashed black line is the area where they will be encroaching

with proposed work including grading, sculpting the discharge channel, and/or placement

 

January 4, 3006                                                           Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 10

 

 

of a concrete end wall with stone rip rap.  The single dark dashed line is a pipe.  The

hatched marked line represents the whole disturbance.  The pipe itself does not encroach

into the buffer.  No part of the this encroachment is within the defined Waters or

wetlands on the site, and is only in the buffer itself.    Mr. Toadvine asked the actual

disturbance.  Mr. Glitzer stated the topsoil will be taken off within the hatched area and

stockpiled, a sub grade will be cut to create a ditch, lined with geo-textile fabric and rip

rap placed after the headwall is constructed in the area of the Basin #1 outfall.  The

headwall will also be on the edge of the buffer.

 

Mr. Glitzer stated adjacent to Lot #15 on Exhibit A-2 there is an irregularly-shaped area

that has been cross-hatched, and this is the second area of encroachment.  Mr. Glitzer

stated this would include the same improvements as proposed at the outfall of Basin #1

and also include the pipe itself leading from Basin #3.  At the end of the pipe there is less

rip rap and this is a function of the pipe and other engineering calculations.  This

encroachment is also only within the wetland buffer area. 

 

Mr. Glitzer stated he was aware when he designed the Plan the encroachments would not

be permitted by Ordinance.  He stated their initial design was not planned in this way but

rather Basin #1 was initially designed to discharge back into the road and storm sewer

and connect to the storm drainage system existing in Big Oak Road.  This would have

been consistent with the Zoning Ordinance and the Army Corps and DEP permitting, but

would not have been beneficial for the wetlands.  He stated they would have avoided

direct encroachment, but they would be shunting the hydrology of the water around it. 

They attempted in the re-design to provide a stormwater system that would continue to

hydrate the wetlands.  This applies as well to the encroachment adjacent to Lot #15.

 

Mr. Glitzer stated that other than the two encroachments described, there are no other

areas where they would propose encroachments into the wetlands or buffers.  The total of

the two areas of encroachment is six one hundredths of an acre.

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Board of Supervisors is taking no position in this matter.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked how close the nearest point of the encroachment would be to the

limits of the wetlands.  Mr. Glitzer stated for the one adjacent to Basin #1 from the limit

of the grading, it would be 25’ to the closest point of the wetlands.   For the one adjacent

to Basin #3 the closest disturbance is approximately 15’ from the edge of the wetlands. 

Mr. Toadvine asked how he calculated the 50’ buffer wetland buffer, and Mr. Glitzer

stated it is based on the various cover conditions on the site.  Based on the height, trees,

and type of vegetation, they are at approximately 50’.  He stated the Plans have been

submitted for review to the Township and they did receive a number of comments from

them, but they did not dispute that it was a 50’ buffer.  Mr. Majewski stated based on

their visit to the site and a review of the Plans, they would concur with the 50’ buffer.

 

January 4, 2006                                                           Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 10

 

 

Mrs. Veronica Bittner, 924 Big Oak Road, stated she lives across the street from the

subject property.  Mr. Toadvine asked if she would like Party Status; and after an

explanation of Party Status, Mrs. Bittner stated she would like Party Status. 

 

Mrs. Bittner stated she is sixty-seven years old and lives in the home with her thirty-six

year old daughter who has special needs including the lack of a spleen and severe

endocrine problems.  She stated they moved into the home in 1967; and because of the

clay soil, French drains were installed around the entire home.  When they built the home

the area was not developed, and the Township refused to install a sewage system and they

therefore had to have a septic system installed. She stated the lower level of their home is

half finished with additional living quarters.  She stated initially they had no flooding

problems, but as new housing developed the water course was disturbed and the lower

level of her home was flooded which necessitated the installation of a sump pump.  This

pump worked for several years until another developer was built which resulted in her

lower level flooding with more than four feet of water destroying her furniture, carpeting,

and appliances.  Currently she has three pumps in the downstairs, and during heavy rains,

they cannot flush their toilet.  She is concerned that with the construction of these homes

built in violation of the current Code, it will create new problems for them and deprive

them of their right to live in a healthy environment.  She stated she is very concerned for

the health of her daughter as she has a critical time fighting off infection and illness.  She

stated some years ago she notified the Board of Health and after visiting her property

they advised that while the septic system is working, the only thing that would correct her

problem is public sewers.  She stated if they intend to proceed with the construction, she

feels they must connect her to the sewer system. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated while the Board appreciates her concerns, the actual construction of the

homes does not violate the Zoning Ordinance.  She stated the Zoning Hearing Board has

no power to make any decisions as to the division of the land into multiple lots or the

construction of the homes as this will go in front of the Board of Supervisors for Land

Development.  She stated what is before the Zoning Hearing Board is under the Zoning

Code and relates to sections of the property that are wetlands or Waterways and a buffer. 

They are asking for relief to be able to go into the buffer area to do some digging for the

detention basin.  This relates to stormwater run off in relation to their Plan and has

nothing to do with the sewage system or public sewers.  She stated if they develop these

homes under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, they must provide

calculations to show that the storm water run off once the homes are built will not be

increased because of the homes.  Ms. Kirk stated her concerns need to be addressed to the

Township with regard to the sewer/septic issue to see if there is a way she could be

hooked up at some point in the future. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if Mr. Donaghy could present this to the Board of Supervisors or if she

should file a written request to the Township Manager.  Mr. Donaghy stated the

appropriate time to deal with these issues would be at the Subdivision and Land

January 4, 2006                                                           Zoning Hearing Board – page 7 of 10

 

 

Development stage, and he suggested that she submit something in writing to the

Township and feels it could be arranged that she would be notified when it is before the

Planning process. 

 

Mr. Murphy also suggested that she discuss this with Mr. Hoffmeister, the Township

Sewer Administration. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated when the Subdivision was first conceived, the issue of the appropriate

point of connection of public sewers to the project was discussed and continues to be the

subject of conversation with the Township Sewer Administrator.  He stated the direction

that they have been given to date by the Township is to run the sewer in an easterly

direction down Big Oak Road to a point of interconnection slightly beyond the property. 

He does not know if Mrs. Bittner’s property has the ability to reach this point, but they

would be willing to work with the Township on this.  Mr. Glitzer stated he feels it would

probably need to be pumped from Mrs. Bittner’s property.    Mr. Briegel stated the

existing system is in Big Oak Road and runs in an easterly/northerly direction toward the

intersection of Makefield Road.  The closest tap-in to Mrs. Bittner would be one of the

new proposed manholes within their subdivision probably 150’ in off Big Oak Road. 

He stated the Township does have an existing sewer line in Derbyshire Road itself.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they would agree to take Mrs. Bittner’s information and assist her to

get to Mr. Hoffmeister to see if there is a way as part of the Subdivision Plan to see if she

can have a sewer connection tapped in either to their system or some other system. 

Mr. Murphy stated they would agree to contact Mr. Hoffmeister about what was

discussed tonight.  Ms. Kirk advised Mrs. Bittner that she should raise her concerns again

when this matter comes before the Board of Supervisors and the Township Manager will

be advised of her name and address so that when the matter comes before the Township,

she will be notified.

 

Mr. Mark Sanford, 879 Big Oak Road, asked to see where the proposed water flow is,

and he was shown a copy of the Plan.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to

approve the request for Variances as requested. 

 

 

APPEAL #05-1354 – THOMAS J. MACK CONSTRUCTION

 

Ms. Kirk excused herself from this matter as it involves her property.  Mr. Kim sat in as

Alternate. 

 

Mr. Thomas Mack and Mr. Ken Kirk were present and sworn in.

 

January 4, 2006                                                           Zoning Hearing Board – page 8 of 10

 

 

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

impervious surface break down which was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Exhibit A-3 was

marked which is a Final As-Built Survey Plan for Lot #22 – Canterbury Estates –

dated 5/2/7/86.  Mr. Toadvine stated this depicts the proposed addition.  The same Plan

with the same date is also attached with highlighting in yellow entitled “brick patio and

walkway,”  and this was marked as Exhibit A-4.

 

Mr. Mack stated the property at 1224 Knox Drive has been owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kirk

since 1997.  It is Zoned R-2 and the lot area is 16,500 square feet.  He stated they are

requesting a Variance to erect a 196 square foot bedroom addition to the rear elevation of

the dwelling unit.  He stated the maximum impervious surface permitted for the lot is

18% or 2970 square feet and the existing impervious surface is 20.16% or 3326 square

feet.  Existing conditions include a dwelling built in 1986 with a driveway, walkway, and

rear patio which currently exceed the allowable limits and existed on the property prior to

the purchase of the property by the Kirks.  They are proposing to change this ratio to

20.75% or 3424 square feet.  They will achieve this by removing 98 square feet of the

brick patio and they will thus net an overall change of 98 square feet. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if they have added any additional impervious coverage since their

purchase, and Mr. Kirk stated they did not.  The proposed addition would be 196 square

feet but they will remove 98 square feet, so the net increase will be 98 square feet.

The increase is therefore less than three quarters of a percent. 

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Township is not taking a position on this matter.

 

Mr. Majewski was asked and stated he agrees with the calculations.

 

There was no public comment.

 

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

the Variance as requested.

 

Mr. Kim left the meeting at this time, and Ms. Kirk rejoined the Board.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1353 – MARK RANNIELLO

 

Mr. Mark Ranniello, Mr. Michael Ranniello, and Mr. Paul Wojciechowski, engineer,

were present and sworn in.

 

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

As-Built Plan dated 11/10/05 which was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Also included in the

Board’s packet is a letter from the Township’s engineer directed to the Director of

January 4, 2006                                                           Zoning Hearing Board – page 9 of 10

 

Zoning, Inspection, and Planning dated 12/190/05 and this was marked as Board

Exhibit 1.  Ms. Kirk stated she understands that Mr. Majewski has spoken with the

Applicant concerning the contents of the letter.

 

Mr. Wojciechowski stated he performed the As-Built work and also did the lot line

change Plans for the Ranniellos.  He stated they are 6/10ths of a percent over on their

impervious and are at 24.6%.  He stated prior to the Building Permit, they proposed a

walk-out basement and the Township had asked them to turn the walk-out parallel with

the rear of the house so it would not encroach on the rear setback line.  After this was

done, they realized that the walk-out needed to be twice the size as you are walking down

steps and then making a right turn so you need a landing which is the width of the actual

door.  This has resulted in an increase in the impervious surface.  He stated the walk-out

does have a drain and it drains into a gutter chamber.  He stated they put four gutter

chambers on the property and the original design was to have these handle 320 gallons a

piece.  These were constructed and he took measurements and calculated the gallonage

on the ones that were installed and they are actually handling about 1200 gallons a piece

so the increased impervious is going right into one of these oversized gutter chambers. 

 

Mr. Wojciechowski stated the other issue is woodlands and trees and he understands that

they received a permit to remove five trees as they were certified as diseased by an

expert.  He stated they are on the left front of the house standing at the road.  He stated

they were granted a Variance to disturb 54% of woodlands and when these trees were cut

down, there was no understory and grass was planted.  Because of the removal of the

trees, they removed another 12 ½% of woodlands over the 54%.  He stated another issue

was a 22” tree that they say was removed.  He stated he was told that the 22” tree blew

down during a storm after the five trees to the right of it were removed. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated they are permitted 24% impervious surface and the existing is

24.6% which equals approximately 135 square feet.  Mr. Toadvine stated when they were

previously before the Board, the Zoning Hearing Board granted permission to disturb

54% of the woodlands.  Ms. Kirk asked if they would agree with Mr. Majewski’s

assessment that under the Board’s prior order 16 of the 38 trees were permitted to be

removed, and Mr. Wojciechowski and Mr. Majewski agreed.  Mr. Wojciechowski stated

22 trees were removed.  Of the six additional trees which were removed, five of them

were dead and one blew down.  Mr. Majewski stated one additional tree was also taken

down.  Ms. Kirk stated therefore 23 trees out of 38 trees are now gone, and

Mr. Wojciechowski agreed.

 

Ms. Kirk stated in his memo to the Board, Mr. Majewski recommended replacement of

certain trees.  It was recommended that five trees be installed of 2 ½” to 3” in caliper.

Ms. Kirk asked if they would also be willing to provide a warranty to replace those trees

within one year if they died, and Mr. Mark Ranniello stated they would.  Mr. Toadvine

asked if there is any recommendation as to the type of tree, and Mr. Majewski stated they

would like to have it submitted for review by the Township engineer.

January 4, 2006                                                         Zoning Hearing Board – page 10 of 10

 

There was no public comment.

 

 

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

grant a Variance for additional impervious surface so that the total ratio is 24.6% as

presented by the Applicant.  A Variance is also provided from Section 200-51b6b of the

Ordinance which would permit removal of 23 trees of the 38 in total subject to the

Condition that the Applicant will plant five replacement trees of his choice subject to

approval of the Township’s engineer of 2 ½” to 3” caliper and provide a guarantee of tree

survival for a 12 month period so that if a tree should perish, it will be replaced by the

Applicant.  It is further noted that all the trees that are to be removed have been removed,

and in effect the Board is authorizing what has already been accomplished.  No more

further trees are to be removed, and in fact five new trees are to be replaced.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Mayrhofer seconded and it was unanimously carried to cancel the

meeting of January 17, 2006 as there are no Appeals to be heard that evening.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Malinowski moved, Mr. Dobson seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

 

 

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                            David Malinowski, Secretary