TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – OCTOBER 17, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on October 17, 2006.  Chairman Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.  She asked that Rudolph Mayrhofer, Vice Chairman of the Zoning Hearing, be remembered as he passed away last evening.  She extended condolences to his family on behalf of the Board.  A moment of silence was held in remembrance of Mr. Mayrhofer and his family.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board;  Barbara Kirk, Chairman

                                                David Malinowski, Secretary

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Gregory Smith, Member

                                                Paul Kim, Alternate Member

 

Others:                                     Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                John Donaghy, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

 

Absent:                         Grace Godshalk, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

APPEAL #06-1374 – DIANE & STEVEN BULLARD

 

Ms. Kirk stated this matter had been continued from the 10/3/06 meeting.  The Board had

taken testimony with respect to this matter and took under advisement the Decision to be

granted by the Board.  Ms. Kirk asked if there were any questions from members of the

Board of the Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor.  There were none at this time.

 

Ms. Kirk moved, and Mr. Smith seconded to deny the Application.  Motion carried with

Mr. Malinowski opposed.

 

 

APPEAL #06-1398 – JERRY KAYE/BETTER LIVING PATIO ROOMS

 

Mr. Jerry Kaye, was present with property owners Linda and Robin Yonkin.  All were

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

Application was an impervious surface breakdown for the property, and this was marked

as Exhibit A-2.  Also included was a Plan for the subject property showing the proposed

addition, and this was marked as Exhibit A-3.

October 17, 2006                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 6

 

 

Mr. Kaye stated he is the contractor, and their Appeal is due to the rear yard setback.  He

stated the rear of the home is on a State road which requires that there be an 80’ setback. 

They will have 54.3’  Ms. Kirk stated it appears that it would 54.3’ on the left side but if

you look at the right side, it appears that it will encroach even more into the rear yard

setback.  After reviewing his information, Mr. Kay agreed that the arrow was drawn on

the left side, but he believes he actually measured it on the right side.  Ms. Kirk stated the

Township Code Enforcement Officer has taken measurements, and it appears that the

proposed setback from the collector road will be 49.5’.  Mr. Majewski agreed that this

number was approximately correct.  Mr. Toadvine stated if this is correct, the Application

will need to be amended, and Mr. Kaye agreed that the Application should be amended

so that they are requesting a rear yard setback of 49.5’ rather than 54.3’.  Mr. Toadvine

stated the Application is so amended.

 

Mr. Kaye stated there are two different right-of-ways – the existing and the proposed in

case the State wants to widen the road at some point in the future.  Mr. Toadvine stated

this would be the ultimate right-of-way.  Mr. Kaye stated the measurements were based

on the ultimate right-of-way.  He is not sure if the State will ever want to widen the road. 

He stated there is actually an additional 13’ between the ultimate and existing right-of-

way but they needed to go by the ultimate right-of-way for the dimensions presented. 

He stated in reality there is an additional 13’ to the actual cartway.

 

Mr. Habgood was asked the rear yard setback for this property notwithstanding the

collector road.  Mr. Habgood stated based on the lot size, it would be 50’.  There was

discussion as to whether this lot was in the R-2 or R-3 Zone.  Mr. Toadvine stated the

Application indicates it is R-3.  Mr. Habgood stated it is zoned R-2.  Mr. Toadvine stated

the Application is therefore incorrect when it states R-3, and Mr. Habgood stated this is

correct.  Mr. Kay stated he was advised by an individual at the Township that this lot was

R-3 when he was preparing the Application.  Ms. Kirk stated this does not matter

provided he cited the appropriate sections under the Code.

 

Mr. Kaye stated the other request they have is for impervious surface which they are

increasing by 5.28% over that which is permitted. 

 

Mr. Kaye presented photographs of the house.  He also presented a brochure showing an

example of what the room will look like although there will not be a front deck. 

 

Mr. Toadvine marked individual photographs as Exhibits A-4 through A-12.    Exhibit

A-13 was marked which is a brochure entitled “Better Living Patio Rooms of Delaware

Valley” depicting the proposed room with the exception of the deck shown.

 

 

 

 

October 17, 2006                                                         Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 6

 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the proposed addition will be built across the entire rear of the property

including the area where the wood deck is currently located, and Mr. Kaye stated this is

correct.  He stated the wood deck will be removed.  Ms. Kirk asked if they gave any

consideration to reducing the size of the proposed addition so that the impervious surface

would not be as great.  She stated the square footage is very large for a single room

addition.  She also stated she has a problem with the increase of impervious surface for a

900 square foot addition.  Ms. Yonkin stated it will be two rooms.  She stated one will be

a sunroom and one will be an addition to the bedroom.  Ms. Kirk stated the brochure

would then not be accurate, and Mr. Kaye stated it is accurate as to the shape.  He stated

there are few rooms that are 60’ wide so they do not have a brochure to show this.  He

stated the shape will be similar to what is shown in the brochure although it will be wider. 

Mr. Yonkin stated it will be a sunroom, but there will be a partition in the middle. 

Mr. Kaye stated he is not building the partition, and the Yonkins will do this after he is

done construction.  Ms. Yonkin stated the bedroom portion will have glass outside and it

will open into the bedroom with a doorway.   It was noted the existing house is a

one-story home with three bedrooms.

 

Mr. Kim asked if there is any hardship as to why they are asking for the Variance. 

He stated a hardship could be if there was a family member who was handicapped, etc. 

Mr. Kaye stated they like the outdoors but do not want to be outdoors, and with a

sunroom you feel like you are outdoors but are protected from insects.  Mr. Kim asked if

the noise vibration from the glass was taken into consideration since they back up to a

State road.  Mr. Kaye stated he feels they are far enough away from the road that it

should not be a hindrance.

 

Ms. Kirk stated the Plan shows high evergreens and she asked what they are.  Mr. Kaye

noted the photograph marked as Exhibit A-5 which shows these trees. 

 

Mr. Kim asked if consideration was given to a second story, and Ms. Yonkin stated they

purchased a ranch home on purpose so that they could retire there. 

 

Mr. Kirk asked if they have added any impervious surface since they purchased the

property, and Ms. Yonkin stated they have not.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if there are other properties in the neighborhood which have this type of

addition, and Mr. Kaye stated she feels there is one approximately 1/8 a mile away. 

Ms. Kirk asked how many homes are two-story in this area, and Ms. Yonkin stated she

feels there is only one other ranch on the street and a few on Valley, and most homes in

the area are two-story. 

 

Mr. Kaye noted Exhibit A-12 also shows more of the stand of trees going across the rear

of the property along Big Oak Road.  Ms. Kirk asked for an estimate of the number of

trees in the rear, and Mr. Kaye stated there are approximately 22 to 23 trees.  Mr. Kaye

October 17, 2006                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 6

 

stated he feels some of the trees were planted by the State since they go all the way down

beyond this property.

 

Mr. Kim stated he is concerned that in some ways they are asking for a large Variance for

impervious surface.  He asked if there is a way for them to reduce the impervious surface

and still satisfy their needs.  Mr. Kaye stated this would be up to Mr. and Mrs. Yonkin. 

He stated the only way they could reduce it would be to reduce the size of the room.

Mr. Toadvine asked if they have any patios, large walkways, or a large driveway. 

Ms. Kirk stated based on the impervious surface calculations provided, the driveway will

be slightly smaller than the proposed addition.  Mr. Toadvine stated if they could

eliminate other impervious area, they could do this instead of reducing the size of the

proposed sunroom.  Ms. Yonkin stated their vehicles do not fit in their garage and they

park in the driveway.  Mr. Kim stated this is a large expansion and other than the

enjoyment of the property, there is not really a hardship.  He stated they could reduce the

size  of the sunroom.  Mr. Yonkin stated he feels it would enhance the neighborhood as it

will make it look nicer.

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Township would like to participate as a Party, although they are

not opposed to a grant of relief.  They do feel that what is being requested is excessive. 

Mr. Donaghy asked Mr. Majewski if he has done any calculations as to what is existing

and what the percentage would be if the requested relief were granted.   Mr. Majewski

stated the current impervious surface on site is 19% and proposed would be 24.5%. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked when the house was constructed, and after review it was determined

the Plan indicates it was built in 1975.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated on the Application they indicated under Paragraph 6, Item 2 – “the

non-conforming structure be altered and enlarged,” and he asked why they referenced

this.  Mr. Kaye stated this was the wording referred to in the Section referenced in their

Application.  Mr. Habgood stated the reason for the Variance request for relief on the

non-conformity is due to the rear yard setback.  He stated this is a reverse lot and

normally you are required to have an 80’ rear yard.  The existing home is already non-

conforming as it is already within that encroachment.  The addition will increase this

non-conformity.  For reverse frontage, the rear yard has to maintain an 80’ setback, and it

is currently 65.54’ on one side and 70’ on the other. 

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Plan indicates that there is a 3’ by 23’ sidewalk and the driveway. 

Ms. Yonkin stated the concrete sidewalk goes from the drive to their porch, and it was

there when they purchased the home.  Mr. Donaghy asked if there are any shed, patios,

concrete block areas, etc. that are not shown on the Plan, and Ms. Yonkin stated only

what is shown in the pictures.  They do not have a shed.  Mr. Donaghy asked what is

currently behind the rear of their house, and Ms. Yonkin stated they have a wood deck

and a sidewalk.  Mr. Donaghy asked if the sidewalk be removed, and Ms. Yonkin stated

they were hoping to shift it to the side.  The existing wood deck will be removed. 

October 17, 2006                                                         Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 6

 

 

Mr. Donaghy asked if the proposed addition were used only as a sunroom, would it be

sufficient if it were only half the size they propose, and Ms. Yonkin stated it would not

serve their purpose.  She stated they wanted to have access to the sunroom from the

bedroom, kitchen and living room. 

 

Mr. Donaghy stated he understands that they are currently residing at the property, and

Ms. Yonkin stated this is correct and they have lived there for two years.  Mr. Donaghy

asked if they would be able to continue to use the property if the Variance were not

granted, and Ms. Yonkin stated they could. 

 

Ms. Yonkin asked what size they would have to reduce it to meet what they are asking. 

Mr. Donaghy stated he would not be able to provide a specific number.  Mr. Kim asked

what size they could live with yet still maintain their functionability of expansion.

 

Ms. Kirk stated a decision does not have to be made on this tonight, and if the Applicants

need additional time to consult with Mr. Kaye, the Board would be willing to grant a

continuance to give them time to explore other options in trying to reduce the impervious

surface.  There was discussion on how they could reduce the sunroom.  Mr. Toadvine

stated they may also want to consider the possible removal of some existing impervious

surface elsewhere on the property if they want to keep the size of the sunroom as

proposed.  Mr. Toadvine stated he does not feel the Board has as much of an issue with

the rear yard setback as they do with the impervious surface.  Mr. Donaghy stated the

depth of the sunroom is 50’ and possibly they could reduce this by a few feet and this

would help decrease the impervious surface. 

 

Mr. and Mrs. Yonkin asked that the matter be continued so that they could review this

and see if they can come up with a modification.  Mr. Kaye asked that the matter be

continued.

 

Mr. Kim asked if the State would decide to expand the road, what would happen to the

property, and Ms. Kirk stated if they take the extra 13’ that is part of the right-of-way,

the rear of the property would be 13’ closer to the road.    Mr. Toadvine stated it would

still be 49.5’ as this was measured to the ultimate right-of-way.  Mr. Majewski stated it is

actually greater than that since the road itself is approximately 14’ wide in that area and

the ultimate right-of-way is 40’ from the center line so the edge of the pavement is

approximately 26’ from the right-of-way to the edge of pavement; so they actually have

seventy-five feet.  Mr. Kaye stated when he measured from the center of Big Oak Road

toward the house, he realized that the stand of trees shown would still remain after the

road was widened if the State decided to widen the road. 

 

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

matter to the Board’s Hearing of November 21, 2006.

 

October 17, 2006                                                         Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 6

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Ms. Kirk stated there are no new Appeals scheduled for the next regular meeting to be

held on November 6.  Mr. Smith moved, Ms. Kirk seconded and it was unanimously

carried to cancel the meeting of November 6, 2006.

 

 

There being no further business, Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

David Malinowski, Secretary