TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – APRIL 5, 2007

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 5, 2007. Chairman Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:           Barbara Kirk, Chairman

                                                David Malinowski, Vice Chairman

                                                Paul Bamburak, Secretary

                                                Jerry Gruen, Member

                                                Gregory Smith, Member

 

Others:                                    Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                John Donaghy, Township Solicitor

                                                Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

                                                Ron Smith, Supervisor Liaison

 

Absent:                                    James Majewski, Township Engineer

 

 

 

APPEAL #06-1411 – RAFAL KORZEC

 

Ms. Kirk stated this matter was continued from the 2/6/07 Hearing date.  Mr. Korzec was

sworn in.  Ms. Kirk stated the letter sent by the Applicant requesting the continuation was

submitted into evidence as B-1.  Ms. Kirk stated the Application submitted was marked

as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application was an 8 ½” by 11” drawing of the property

showing the house and a deck, and this was marked as Exhibit A-2. 

 

Mr. Korzec stated he has a deck in the back yard which according to the law is too close

to the far end of the property.  He stated it is required to be 25’, and it is 22’.  He installed

the deck last year in July.  Mr. Kirk asked if he was not aware at that time, and

Mr. Korzec stated his contractor advised him that since the deck was not 2’ above the

ground, he did not need a Permit.  Mr. Korzec then built the deck and received a letter

from the Township advising that he needed a Permit.  He received the paperwork from

Mr. Habgood.  The deck had already been started, and he asked for permission to have a

deck which already existed. 

 

 

 

 

April 5, 2007                                                                Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 8

 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if he built the deck in accordance with the Permit, and Mr. Habgood

stated when Mr. Korzec applied for the Permit, the deck was already built.  Mr. Korzec

had been sent a violation notice from the Township that he had done work without a

Permit, and he then submitted the Permit.  At that time the Township became aware that

the deck was encroaching into the rear yard setback. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Korzec if this is a wooden deck, and Mr. Korzec stated it is.  She

asked if this is the only thing he had done to the house since he purchased it, and

Mr. Korzec agreed.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Korzec if he is the owner of the property, and Mr. Korzec stated

he is.  Mr. Toadvine noted the other name on the Application, and Mr. Korzec stated this

is his wife; but because he did the job, he was the person who asked for the Permit. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if the issue is whether or not the deck is a certain amount above

grade; and Mr. Habgood stated it does not matter whether or not the deck is on or above

grade, they still must comply with the setback. 

 

Mr. Gruen asked if it is a wood deck, and Mr. Korzec stated it is all wood.  The planks

are 2’ by 8’.  Mr. Gruen asked how tight together are the top planks; and Mr. Korzec

stated they are tight, but there is a space between and it survived the winter and all the

snow that was on top went through.  He stated everything under the deck is according to

the regulations.  They have gravel and a special material to help the water go through.

Mr. Gruen asked about the grade beyond the deck, and Mr. Korzec stated the deck is 14”

high and it is flat.  He stated they needed the deck because when they had patio furniture

in the back yard, it would sink because it is flat and the water does not go anywhere.  He

stated he wanted his daughter to be able to play outside, but it was muddy.  He stated

building the deck allowed them to enjoy the back yard.  He stated the entire deck is not

too far, and it is only 12’ that is not the required setback from the property.  He stated the

deck is very easy to move and could be taken apart if someone needed to get in there. 

 

Mr. Gruen asked if he could change this in the future from a wood deck to a paved deck

such as an E P Henry deck, if this Application were approved this evening.  Mr. Toadvine

stated the Variance is for the setback and not impervious surface.

 

Mr. Smith asked if there were photos to show the Board, but Mr. Korzec stated he did not

bring any.  Mr. Korzec stated it is not done because he stopped work on it when he

received the papers.  He stated there is 5’ of concrete just after the sliding door and the

deck is along the side of the back wall. 

 

Mr. Alan Bress, 564 A. Thrush Court was sworn in.  Mr. Bress stated this property backs

up to his property; and between the property and the adjoining properties, it is very wet,

and there is water there now.  He stated for much of the year there is sitting water.  He

April 5, 2007                                                                Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 8

 

 

stated the previous owner to Mr. Korzec removed one of the downspouts along the back

of the house and moved a bigger one at the end of the house which feeds into the wet

area.  He stated the second downspout is where the deck is now.  Mr. Bress stated he is

concerned about the wetness that is present in his back yard.  Mr. Bress stated his

property slopes to the rear as does Mr. Korzec’s.

 

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

Application for an encroachment of 3’ into the rear yard setback be granted.

 

 

APPEAL #07-1416 – TOM LASSERRE

 

Mr. Tom Lasserre was present and was sworn in.  The Application submitted was marked

as Exhibit A-1.  Included with the Application was a three-page letter listing the reasons

for the request, and this was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Also attached to the Application

was an 8 ½” by 11” copy of the Tax Map for the property with hand drawings as to the

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

 

Mr. Lasserre stated the relief they are requesting is for the side setback.  He stated his

side yard was constantly under water because of all the downspouts collectively going

from his and his neighbor’s property, from the foot traffic in the area, and from

deterioration of the soil. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated the letter sent to the Applicant from Mr. Habgood indicated he wanted to

construct two patios.  Mr. Lasserre stated there is an upper deck as well, but he does not

feel this is an issue as to the setback.  Ms. Kirk asked if it is a deck or a concrete patio,

and Mr. Lasserre stated it is a brick paver patio.  Ms. Kirk asked if this is the one that is

31’ by 14’, and Mr. Lasserre stated it is not.  He stated the 14’ is on the side yard setback.  

This is also a brick patio.  Ms. Kirk asked the location of the other brick patio, and

Mr. Lasserre stated the two patios wrap on either side of the porch.  The one in question

for the side setback is the 14’ by 31’ and the upper deck is on the other side of the porch

area and is 19’ by 14 ½’.  The porch is to the rear of the property, and there is a patio on

either side with a sidewalk interconnecting between the two patios which was installed in

August.  He stated the work was done without a Permit; and when he received the notice

of violation from the Township, he then applied for a Permit. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked which neighbor had the issue with the water, and Mr. Lasserre stated he

understands there was a concern with the pitch of the patio.  He stated they both

collectively drained into that area.  He approached his neighbor who enabled him to take

his downspouts and pipe it away from that area so he could get a better answer to the

actual pitch of the patio. 

 

 

April 5, 2007                                                                Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 8

 

 

Ms. Kirk stated the Application was submitted as expanding an existing non-conformity,

and she asked the size of the patio previously.  Mr. Habgood stated there was no patio

before.  He stated the existing non-conformity is the side of the existing home.  The patio

that was installed is now expanding even further into the side property line.  Ms. Kirk

asked why this is a non-conformity, and Mr. Habgood stated according to the Zoning for

the R-2 a patio can encroach into the rear yard setback but not a side yard setback.  He

stated this is the side yard, and he is increasing the existing non-conformity since the side

of the home does not meet the current Zoning regulations.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated the existing non-conformity is the encroachment into the side yard

by the house itself, and Mr. Habgood agreed.  The proposed patio will encroach further

such that there will only be 1’6” from the edge of the patio to the side yard line. 

Ms. Kirk asked why it is not just a Variance from the side yard setback, and Mr. Habgood

stated because the existing side of the home does not meet the normal setback.  Ms. Kirk

stated it appears he could have done it either way.  The required side yard setback for the

R-2 Zone is 15’.  There is no issue with impervious surface.  The side of the house is 11’

to the side yard. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked how the neighbor on that side of the house feels about this, and

Mr. Lasserre stated they love the patio.   These are the neighbors who had the same water

problem. 

 

Mr. Gruen asked where the water has been diverted to, and Mr. Lasserre stated there is a

4” underground pipe which pipes the water toward the front yard.  Mr. Gruen stated on

the property he saw a 4” pipe coming out of the slope leading into the road, and

Mr. Lasserre stated that is on the other side.  He stated this is from the front section of his

house down to his dining room side.  He stated the other drainage pipe is from the back

roof and it is 6’ to 7’ away from the house.  Ms. Kirk stated on the Plan of Survey,

looking at the property from Rita Road, there is a drainage pipe on the left side of the

front yard and there appears to be an “L”- shaped drainage pipe on the right side of the

front yard.  Mr. Lasserre stated both pipes go toward the front yard.  Mr. Lasserre stated

the “L”- shaped pipe is the drainage pipe from the front section of his roof, and he

recently installed this.  Ms. Kirk noted the other drainage pipe and asked if he just

installed this; and Mr. Lasserre stated he recently installed this, and he used it to drain

everything away from the side of the house.  All the water runs off the front of the yard

down toward Rita Road.  Ms. Kirk asked if there is any rip-rap at the edge of the road in

the front yard; and Mr. Lasserre stated it goes right into the road, and there is no curbing

or storm sewers. 

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Township would like to participate in this matter, and does

oppose the requested relief.  Mr. Donaghy stated one of the issues he raised had to do

with accumulation of water in the side yard, and he has now installed some pipes and

other facilities in order to the move the water to the front of the property; and

April 5, 2007                                                                Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 8

 

 

Mr. Lasserre agreed.  Mr. Donaghy asked if they could have done this and moved the

downspouts without constructing the patio; and Mr. Lasserre stated he was doing a

“lessons learned,” and this is when the various changes were made.  Mr. Donaghy asked

if he could have replaced the piping and replaced the downspouts without having

extended the patio into the side yard.  Mr. Lasserre stated this gave him an opportunity to

enjoy this area of his property for the first time in many years.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they could remove that portion of the patio that extends past the side

yard line of the house so that that patio there would be even with the side of the house.

She stated it would be less than removing 186 square feet because the house itself is on a

diagonal.  Ms. Kirk showed him on the Plan what she is proposing.    Mr. Lasserre noted

on the Plan the back door to his garage, adding if he were to take the area away as

suggested by Ms. Kirk, he would lose access to his garage which was one of the things he

was trying to accomplish with the patio.  The door to his garage is on the side. 

Mr. Toadvine asked if there is not a pad outside the door; and Mr. Lasserre stated at this

time, there is not as the patio is there.  Mr. Toadvine asked if there was a concrete pad

outside the door, and Mr. Lasserre stated there was a 2’ pad.  Mr. Habgood stated that

would probably have been considered as a landing as required by the Building Code. 

Ms. Kirk asked if the 2’ concrete pad was there when Mr. Lasserre moved into the

property in 1973, and Mr. Lasserre stated it was not.  He stated he had put an addition on

although he could not recall the date.  Ms. Kirk asked if they shaved off the section of the

patio she noted, could they not install pavers and make a walkway from the door to the

patio.  Mr. Lasserre asked if he would have to take away 8’.  Mr. Donaghy stated he feels

what Ms. Kirk is suggesting could be done without further relief from the Township. 

 

Mr. Donaghy noted the door to the garage and asked if the door to the garage is near to

the rear portion of the garage, and Mr. Lasserre agreed.  Mr. Donaghy stated there was an

existing pad where you could step out of the door, and Mr. Lasserre stated this is correct.

Mr. Donaghy stated if he had to remove the area of the patio that has been constructed

and return the pad to the side, he would not have too far to go to get to the patio; and

Mr. Lasserre agreed.  Mr. Donaghy asked if he left in place the portion of the patio that is

no closer to the side yard than the existing house, would he still have other areas of his

property where he could expand the size of the patio if he chose; and Mr. Lasserre stated

he is not going to expand the other side at all.  Mr. Donaghy asked if he could expand it

to the rear, and Mr. Lasserre stated there are three to four steps in the rear.   Mr. Donaghy

asked if the Variance were not granted to encroach any further than the existing non-

conformity, would he still be able to use his property for residential purposes, and

Mr. Lasserre stated he could.  Mr. Donaghy asked if he could also still keep in place the

piping and downspouts that move the water out of the area even if he did not have the

patio, and Mr. Lasserre agreed.

 

 

 

April 5, 2007                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 8

 

Ms. Kirk stated even with the modification to the downspouts, if the additional section of

the patio they discussed were removed, the area along side the house would remain dry;

and Mr. Lasserre agreed. 

 

Mr. Edwin Newman, 14 Rita Road, was sworn in and stated they do have a major water

problem because the back of the hill goes up.  He stated when he first moved into his

home thirty years ago, water came in his back door, through his home, out through the

garage, and down the street.  They still have major water problem, and what Mr. Lasserre

has done has helped.  He stated he knows the Lasserre family,  they are wonderful

neighbors, and they work hard to keep their property up.  He stated they have enhanced

where they live with the improvements they have done.  He stated he hopes that a

Variance would be granted.

 

Testimony was closed.

 

Mr. Bamburak moved and Mr. Malinowski seconded to grant a Variance to allow the

expansion to the non-conformity.  Motion carried with Mr. Gruen opposed.

 

 

APPEAL #07-1417 – JAMES J. JOHNSTON

 

Mr. James Johnson was present and was sworn in.  The Application submitted was

marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached was an 8 ½” by 11” Plan for the subject property, and

this was marked as Exhibit A-2. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked the size of the rear yard setback for this property, and Mr. Habgood stated

it is 40’. 

 

Mr. Johnson stated they are expanding their home which is a single-family ranch.  He

stated at some time during the 1970’s, someone constructed a jalousie porch on the back

of the house as shown in the drawing; and this was ultimately winterized and made as

living space.  He stated he purchased the home seventeen years ago; and they propose

removing the porch, but expanding the house in a way that pulls the addition out into the

back yard.  It encroaches on the rear yard setback by approximately 2 ½’ to 3’. 

Ms. Kirk stated it appears from the Plan prepared by Mr. Heinz that one corner of the

proposed addition will be 33’ 4 1/2” from the rear yard.  Ms. Kirk stated the rear property

line itself is at a diagonal, and Mr. Johnston stated they are a pie-shaped lot.  The

proposed addition will be a family room on the first floor. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated they have also shown a proposed addition on the front, and Mr. Johnston

stated for purposes of making it symmetrical, they are pulling the front out slightly. 

He stated in the existing view, there is what had been a one-car garage there, and an

“L”-shaped rancher around it, so they are pulling the front out somewhat to make it more

symmetrical.  He stated this will be closed-in and will be part of their living space.

April 5, 2007                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 7 of 8

 

 

There was no public comment.

 

Mr. Bamburak moved, Mr. Gruen seconded and it was unanimously carried to grant a

Variance allowing a 33’ rear yard setback.

 

 

APPEAL #07-1418 – CRAIG BRYSON

 

Mr. Craig Bryson was present and was sworn in.  The Application submitted was marked

as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application were two 8 ½” by 11” sheets of the property

showing the proposed addition along with what appears to be the elevations for the

addition, and this was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Mr. Bryson stated on the Application he had stated that the lot size was 22,400 square

feet, and it is 16,800 square feet.  He stated he would also like to provide the latest

impervious calculations, although he noted the impervious surface is not an issue. 

Mr. Habgood agreed with the calculations now submitted, and stated there is a very slight

increase in impervious surface by 14 square feet over what he is proposing.  He stated the

existing home and lot is over what is allowed for the Zoning District of 18%, but the

increase of 14 square feet is deminimous.  Ms. Kirk stated they have had prior

Applications come before the Board where there have been increases in impervious

surfaces even if the property itself did not conform with the requirements.  She asked if

the Application needs to be amended.  Mr. Habgood stated he did not feel it did since

everything is listed on the property.  Mr. Toadvine stated as long as they are going to

issue a Building Permit, he does not feel this is an issue.  Mr. Habgood stated he did not

feel it would create a problem for the Building Department.

 

Mr. Bryson stated the proposed Application involves a portico over the front.  The

existing front yard setback is 40’.  He stated his wife suffers from rheumatoid arthritis

and she has flare ups during inclement weather.  He stated she likes to sit in the front to

watch their children go to the bus stop, and he would like to provide her a “safe haven” at

the front door.  He stated he provided schematics of what it would look like.  The front

door currently has no cover other than an 8” overhang at the top of the house.  What has

been proposed will result in a 34’ front yard setback.  He stated he gave himself an extra

foot as he has not planned the trim.  He stated the portico he is planning is 5’, and he is

asking for 6’ in case there is a gutter overhang. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated on the photocopy of the Plan submitted, there is a section that is

designated 31’, and Mr. Bryson stated this is the dimension to the existing sidewalk.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Habgood about the requirements for front porches, and

Mr. Habgood stated if they have a roof, they have to consider the front yard setback. 

He stated in the R-1 and R-2 Zone for a single-family home, they can have an open porch

April 5, 2007                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 8 of 8

 

 

encroaching into the rear yard, but not the front yard.  He stated if it were just a landing without the roof structure, it would not be a problem. 

 

There was no public comment.

 

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

request for Variance be granted to permit a 34’ front yard setback.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Appeal #06-1410 – Norman P. and Patricia K. O’Rourke

 

 

Ms. Kirk stated a letter was submitted by Mr. Murphy, attorney, concerning the O’Rourke Appeal that is scheduled to be before the Board on April 17.  The letter dated 4/3/07 is requesting that the Hearing of April 17 be postponed until the second meeting in May which would be May 17.  The letter was marked as Exhibit B-2. 

 

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

O’Rourke Appeal be continued until May 17. 

 

 

Mr. Bamburak moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        Paul Bamburak, Secretary