TONSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

JULY 20, 2004

 

 

The regular meeting of the Lower Makefield Township Zoning Hearing Board was held on Tuesday July 20, 2004 in the Lower Makefield Municipal Building.  Ms. Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.

 

THOSE PRESENT      ZONING HEARING BOARD            BARBARA KIRK

                                                                                                RUDOLPY MAYRHOFER

                                                                                                DAVID MALINOWSKI

                                                                                                DARWIN DOBSIN

 

                                    OTHERS                                             JENNIFER MC GRATH

                                                                                                ALLEN TOADVINE

                                                                                                PETE STAINTHORPE

                                                                                                JIM MAJEWSKI

 

 

Ms. Kirk requested that all cell phones be turned off.  She also advised that the meeting will adjourn at 11:00 p.m.  Any matters not completed at that time will be continued until the next hearing date.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1259 –ROBERT AND KATHLEEN WIDMER

 

This matter was continued from 6/15/04.  Both the township and applicant’s attorneys have submitted proposed Memorandum of Law, Findings of Fact and Conclusions to the Board as previously requested and the Board is now in a position to render a decision.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk that the applicants receive the following variances: 1) variance from Section 200-21 which will enable the applicants’ to have a minimum lot size of 15,000 sq. ft. as opposed to 16,500 sq. ft; 2) variance from minimum lot width required by Section 200-22 to give lot width of 100’ in lieu of 110’ required; 3) variance from Section 200-22 and Section 200-63 of the zoning ordinance reducing the front yard se back measured from the ultimate right of way of Yardley-Morrisville Road from 100’ to 55’; 4) variance from Section 200-252(b) to permit disturbance of 0.16 acres of woodlands; 5) variance from Section 200-61.C measuring building setbacks from the lot line of proposed Lot 2 rather than limits of the woodlands; and 6) variance from Section 200-51(b)(6) allowing clearing up to 55% of the woodlands on the property.  Motion seconded by Mr. Dobson.

 

Mr. Toadvine advised the minimum lot size was revised to be 14,985 sq. ft.  Motion and second amended to reflect minimum lot size of 14,985 sq. ft. 

 

Motion thereafter carried with Mr. Malinowski voting against. 

 

 

APPEAL #04-1264 – EVERETT AND DENISE M. PETTIECORD

This matter was continued from 6/15/04 hearing.  Mr. Pettiecord appeared before the Board and presented them with a revised plan which was marked as Exhibit A-4.  He advised when he was here on 6/15 he was requesting a variance to allowing building of a new deck structure on the side of his home.  He is here this evening with the revised plan showing less of an intrusion into the side yard area.  Ms Kirk noted originally requested 7’ encroachment and now it appears to be a 13’ setback.  She asked if any other measurements of the deck have changed.  Mr. Pettiecord advised this has changed significantly. Previously this was to be a 2 tier deck with farthest point allowing 3’ in the setback. Now they have eliminated the lower two levels of the deck and are only an upper deck. Section of the deck shown on A-4 meets the requirements of the side yard setback to the property line.  Mr. Mayrhofer noted this is a request for 13’ setback.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting variance to section 200-30 to permit 2’ encroachment into side yard setback.  Motion seconded by Mr. Malinowski and carried.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1265 – TODD AND GLORIA CROSS

 

Mr. Kirk noted there was previously a letter from the applicant’s requesting a continuance which was marked as B-1.

 

Mr. & Mrs. Cross appeared before the Board..  Application was marked as Exhibit a-1.  Original plan dated 4/2604 was marked as exhibit A-2.  Memorandum dated 6/17/04 with revised plan entitled grading, erosion and sediment control plan dated 4/16/04 last revised 6/16/04 was marked as Exhibit A-3.    Mr. Toadvine noted fence on A-2 is outside the property line and on Exhibit A-3 it is located inside the property line.  Mr. Cross advised they will be using A-3 during their presentation.

 

Mr. Cross advised they currently have 3 horses, two of which are presently located on the property, and as a matter of public safety would like to install a fence inside the special setback.   He advised there are two block columns which  the survey by the previous owner showed them as being inside the property line.  The survey he had done shows them outside the property line. He would like the fence to be placed along the property line.  Mr. Cross advised they moved in 2/13/04 and prior to his purchase this was not used as a farm but strictly a residential property.  They had horses which is the reason they purchased the property.  Their 3rd horse is still boarded and they would like to bring this horse back to the property which is the other variance requested.  Mrs. Cross advised they are requesting 4 horses on the property.

 

Mr. Toadvine advised in reviewing the zoning ordinance  his reading of the ordinance leads him to believe there is no requirement for a variance because, they can have two livestock for every 5 acres and this is a 10- acre parcel.  Mr. Cross stated when he spoke with staff in the zoning office there was confusion of how the code is written because of  net vs. gross lot area and he has only 7 ½ net acres even though the property is 10.05 gross acres. 

 

Mr. Cross stated they hope to enclose the entire frontage of the property with a fence. The back of the property is treed  They have permits for adding fence in the back but it is a post and rail.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked if this is being measured from the ultimate right to way.  Mr. Toadvine advised the right of way is 40’ so he is 10’ within the ultimate right of way.  Mr. .Cross stated he would like to have a 5’ fence but if that is unacceptable he can make it 4’.  Ms. Kirk asked if this would be the lowest fence he would be willing to go.  Mr. Cross stated this is a public safety issue.  A lot of children want to pet the horses when they are not at home. 

 

This fence will be a white PVC post and rail fence.  Ms. Kirk asked if they will be running electric lines along this and Mr. Cross advised they will not. 

 

Mr. Cross also advised all four horses are owned by them and they will not be boarding anyone else’s’ horses.  They only persons living in the premises are he and Mrs. Cross.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated they want a variance from Section 200-69.12 which should have been Section 200-69.14 which appears that the only variance they need is to construct the fence 5’ high because under “C” it allows the fence to be constructed in a special setback.   He thinks they are permitted to install a fence in the special setback however under the ordinance it can only be 3’ high in the front yard.  Therefore the variance request is to exceed the height of the fence which is permitted.

 

Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Majewski if he agrees Section 200-69.14 is applicable and Mr. Majewski stated he does.  Applicants amended the application to request variance from Section 200-69.14 – not 200-69.12

 

Ms. McGrath advised the township has no objection.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting variance from Section 200-69(14) with the condition that the fence shall not exceed 4’ and this is the only variance necessary based upon interpretation of Section 200-69(11) of the code which does not specify two livestock for every five acres of minimum net lot area inasmuch as the code just says “of lot area”.  Motion seconded by Mr. Malinowski. 

 

Mr. Toadvine noted they can grant a variance to permit 4 livestock or interpret the code not to require 5  net minimum acres for two livestock.    Ms. Kirk stated she does not want to grant variance but make that interpretation.

 

Motion thereafter carried.

 

Mrs. Cross asked if the interpretation of the code is binding and Ms. Kirk advised it is.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1266 – Donald Nowill and Sharon Czebotar

 

Mark Reilly, Esq. appeared together with the applicants.  Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.   Letter of continuance was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Three page document entitled 616 Washington Crossing layout of home was marked as Exhibit A-3.  8 ½ x 11 MCAA identification card with acupuncture license was marked as  Exhibit A-4. 

 

Mr.  Reilly advised this is a request for Class 4 professional office within a home where Sharon Czebotar will practice acupuncture.  She is a licensed professional acupuncturist.  Property is in excess of one acre and improvements are in the right hand corner of the property.  Referring to A-3 it was noted that the parlor shown as being 28’ x 13’ is the room which will be designated as office space.  Mr. Nowill stated this is approximately 10% of the floor plan. 

 

Ms. Kirk noted proposed office area is on the first floor and questioned location of treatment room since “parlor” will be the office.  Ms. Czebotar explained this would be both the treatment room and office.    It was also noted that this house was purchased by the applicant’s after filing of this application.

 

Letter from the planning commission to the zoning hearing board dated 5/25/04 recommending approval of the special exception was marked as Exhibit B-1. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated they are seeking relief from two sections of the code.  Mr. Toadvine noted the only request is for special exception.  This is located in two sections of the code Sections 200-15B(12) and 200-69(1). 

 

Ms. Czebotar testified as to the requirements of Section of 200-69(10) and that she will abide by the same.  This is a request for a home occupation and she is a licensed professional acupuncturist for 4 years and is registered by the State of PA and National Certification Board.  The parlor is the area which will be used as the office and is located on the 1st floor consisting of less than 25% of the total living area.  In the long term future she does not see having more than two employees. Presently it is only being done by herself.  She also advised that she does not have high traffic and can only work with one person at a time. This will be a low key and quiet operation.  There may be an overlap of a person coming for an appointment and one leaving.    She will have standard operating hours, averaging between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.  Ms. Czebotar advised that she sees 20 clients per week Monday through Friday and occasionally on Saturday.  Her practice has been located at St. Mary’s as well as Makefield Executive Quarters, Yardley and Newtown.  Saturday hours will be late morning (9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.) 

 

Ms. Czebotar agreed as a condition that she would limit hours to 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday would be once a month 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.    She also noted that clients are referred through specialist and would not be looking at walk up traffic.  She understands that if there is a sign there is strict requirements and would need to make a application for the same. 

 

Property is located at 532 Washington Crossing road very close to the Village Market (one parcel separates them).   This property is known as 20-3-11 and has frontage on the road.  There are no dealings with parcels 20-3-11-1 or 11-2. 

 

Referring to photograph of driveway, Ms. Czebotar advised this is 33’ wide with some areas being wider and is in excess of 60’ long.  She noted there is more parking space than she would imagine using.  Mr. Nowill advised the parcel is 1.65 acres.  There will be no deliveries of equipment, etc.  Nothing other than regular vehicles will be coming to the property.

 

Regarding the buffer requirements, Mr. Reilly advised he spoke with Mr. Toadvine to find out if they should  seek a variance regarding the buffer issue His clients are open to anything.  His reading of the requirements set forth under the subdivision and land development code require a type 4 buffer to be 12’ wide providing berm of 2 to 3’ in height  having one tree per 25 lineal 25’.  The side of this buffer is to block the cars from parking.  Under the zoning code there is a section governing all buffers (section 200-73 which requires buffers to run the length of the property line.  This would present a problem since the driveway runs along the property line.  The buffer would need to be 12’ wide along the property line which would require the driveway to be removed to plant trees.  If required to run the length of the property they would need to move the garage and thereafter run the buffer 100 yards where it would have no effect on anyone’s visual site line.  Mr. .Reilly stated they looked into this and prepared drawings showing 12’ bed inside the driveway.   He advised the property immediately adjacent he understands is under agreement to be development in conjunction with other parcels it is intended to leave this section undeveloped.  There would be a house built at the rear facing a new road. 

 

Mr. Toadvine noted the photographs they are looking at shows a fence with garage that has a double door and single door and the fence is on the property line.  Mr. Mayrhofer noted that in previous home occupations this issue was never brought up.  Ms. Kirk noted they were not request for Class 4 occupation home occupation.  Mr. Mayrhofer noted this request is not much different that the others.  Mr. Reilly stated if they are required to have three  parking spaces there is more than enough space in front of the garage.  If necessary they could move part of the driveway

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they are seeking variance from Section 200-73 regarding requirement of Class 4 buffer.  Mr. .Reilly stated they are.   Mr. Toadvine advised type 4 buffer is defined in the land development subdivision ordinance which this zoning hearing board has no jurisdiction over.  He stated they should amend the application to request variance from 200-69-10(g) as it applies to the requirement of a type 4 planted buffer.  If they are getting variance from the buffer then this section would not apply.  That does not mean the board cannot enforce some type of condition regarding buffer. 

 

Mr. Reilly stated he discussed with Elliott, proposed developer of the adjoining lots, idea of planting a buffer on their side of the property line at the applicants’ expense.  They were receptive to it but the requirements for a general buffer requirements have to be on your property not someone else’s.  Ms .Kirk asked about the trees shown in the photo and Mr. Reilly stated these are on the adjacent property.   Ms. Kirk noted there is no buffer along the side line.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer noted she will be seeing one person at a time and asked length of appointment time.  Ms Czebotar advised they are one hour.   There may be an overlap of 5 to 10 minutes.

 

Mr. .Toadvine asked if a variance would be required if a privacy fence were installed along the edge of the property line as long as it does not go past the front of the house.  Mr. Majewski noted the driveway goes to the property line.  Mr. Nowill noted coming along 532 there may be a sight problem.  Mr. Toadvine advised if they do not pass the front of the house they would still have 25’ back.  He does not know if this works.  It was noted presently there is a chain link fence along the side of the property.  Ms. Kirk asked if they are agreeable not to remove the existing fence or, if they do, install a similar type fence.  Mr. Nowill advised they are acceptable and would not be opposed to even put in a buffer. 

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk that the application be amended so the applicant can seek a variance from Section 200-69(10)(g) as it relates to the buffer requirements.  That such variance be granted to the applicant with the condition that the applicant not remove the existing chain link fence on the property line in the future, or replace the fence with a similar fence if necessary.  That the applicant be granted the special exception for a class 4 home occupation pursuant to Section 200-69 and Section 200-15(b)(12) of the Zoning Ordinance with the following conditions: 1) that the applicant shall not have more than two additional employees at any time; 2) that he hours of operation be limited to Monday through Friday no earlier than 9:00 a.m. nor later than 9:00 p.m. and Saturday hours of operation be limited to once a month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Motion seconded by Mr. Mayrhofer and carried.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1267 – R4ONALD AND SUSAN RICHARDSON

 

This matter was scheduled previously and Mr. Toadvine advised he contacted the Richardson’s and requested the matter be continued.  Letter addressed to the Lower Makefield Township Zoning Hearing Board signed by the Richardson’s waiving the time limits and agreeing to continuance was marked as Exhibit B-1.

 

Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Plan of property  8 ½ x 11 PA One call system was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Mr. Toadvine noted that Mr. Richardson ha updated the plan.  Revised plan (current version of what is being requested from section 200-63) was marked as Exhibit A-3.

 

This is a request for a 50’ set back.  After reviewing the layout of the pool filter and heater it was moved to the left side of the property which is within the 60’ set back.  Now they are requesting a 72’ setback moving the shed closer off of Edgewood Road.  There is an existing pool on the property and they proposed to erect a shed, which will be 12’ x 20 and 12’ height. This will be installed with 3’ footers on the outside perimeter placed on a slab.  This will be along the left side of the property.  Mr. Richardson advised he was already approved for impervious surface when he put in for a building permit for the shed.  Only issue is the special setback from a collector road.  Ms. Kirk asked if this is a 100’ setback or 80’ and Mr. Majewski advised this would require 100’ setback.  Applicant is requesting 72’ set back.  Mr. Toadvine noted the proposed shed is not as close to the road as the pool is.

 

Motion made by Mr. Mayrhofer granting variance as requested.  Motion seconded by Mr. Dobson and carried.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1268 – TOULA ARIS

 

Letter has been received from the applicant dated 7/1/04 requesting this mater be continued to 8/3/04 and waiving time constraints. Letter was marked as Exhibit B-1.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting applicant’s request for continuance.  Motion seconded by Mr. Dobson and carried.

 

Recess was called at 8:40 p.m.  thereafter Ms. Kirk reconvened the meeting at 8:50 p.m.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1269 – JAMES ARMETTA

 

Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Plan entitled construction plan of Makefield Quarters Section 3 prepared by Tri State for Christine’s dated 3/15/99 was marked as Exhibit A-2.  It was noted revisions dated 12/6/02 are stapled to A-02. 

 

Mr. Armetta stated he is requesting variance to put addition on restaurant, which will be a covered patio.  Because it will include additional seating it will require additional parking.  Patio will be 16’ x 40’ and will be same roof line with wood roof and lighting and ceiling fans.  This will be open and will have between 8 and 10 tables for 32 to 40 seats maximum.  Roof will be sloped on the outside.  Underneath it will be flat tongue and grove.  It was noted the rear of the building faces Oxford Valley Road so looking at the rear the addition will be to the right of the building.  He noted he is the only restaurant at this site and the owner of the property, ill Scanlon, has no problem with his request.

 

Ms. Kirk noted section of code deals with parking issues.  She asked if variance is needed for open air patio. Mr. Toadvine noted this is also dealing with open air patio and parking under Section 200-41A.  Section 2090-41(e) only refers to parking.  Mr. Armetta stated there would be no modification for parking.  He understands how the numbers come about.  His business is 780% from 5:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday when the other businesses are closed.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked if he had to designate a number of parking spaces when he first opened.  R .Armetta advised that Mr. Scanlon applied for the permit so he does not know.    Mr. Toadvine assumed there is a shared parking arrangement in this complex.  Mr. Stainthorpe advised there is no designated restaurant parking.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked the number of spaces which would be required with addition.  Mr. Armetta advised based on square footage approximately 200 parking spaces would be required which is presently there.  There are no additional spaces.  The additional tables with the patio would require 10 additional spaces.  Mr. Toadvine confirmed the code would require 10. 

 

Mr. Armetta advised inside the restaurant there are 74 seats.  Regular hours are Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Prior to 4:00 p.m. there are banquets.  The open patio would be used during normal business hours.  He noted that during lunch hours in the summer is the slowest time and he believes bulk use of the patio would be then.    It was noted the patio could be used May 1st through September and could also be used in October depending on weather.    Ms. Kirk asked if he would agree to a condition that  the patio not be enclosed nor there be any separate heating elements.  Mr. Armetta agreed to both conditions.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting variance to Section 200-41 and Section 200-79(32) with condition that the proposed patio area not be enclosed at any tine in the future and there be no separate heating elements used for the patio area.  Motion seconded by Mr. Dobson and carried.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1270 – MICHAEL A NEWMAN

 

Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Site plan (2 ½ x 11) for property showing proposed addition was marked as Exhibit A-2.  8 ½ x 22 sheet with 3 photos of property was marked as Exhibit A-3.

 

Mr. Newman advised he wants to put an addition on the side of his property which is counted as a front yard because this is a corner lot and therefore is requesting variance from section 200-22.  This will be an addition which will be 25’ x 14’ and will go 10’ past the set back.  It will be a one story addition with a basement.  Addition will be a media room and basement will be an extension of his woodshop which is a hobby.  Addition will create a 10’ encroachment in the side yard (which is the front yard setback).  Mr. Newman advised that all the landscaping would be kept except the 3 bushes, which are next to the present house.  These will be moved out 14’.  There is no impervious surface issue and will be at 17 ½% with the proposed addition. He has spoke to his neighbors who are in agreement with proposal. 

 

Warren Howard of 318 Springdale Terrace advised he lives cattycorner to the Newman’s and is in support of proposal for addition.  The front of his house faces the front and side of his house and he has no problem with the addition.

 

Motion made by Mr. Mayrhofer granting variance as presented.  Motion seconded by Mr. Dobson and carried.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Appeal #03-1212 – Harry Hart

This is  a request for extension of time on variance  previously granted.  Mr. Toadvine advised this building permit has been pending and  would be released except that the variance has expired. 

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting extension to 7/30/04.  Motion seconded by Mr. Mayrhofer and carried.  Mr. Toadvine will notify the applicant.

 

 

There being no other business motion made by Mr. Dobson to adjourn.  Seconded by Mr. Malinowski and carried.  The meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

 

 

                                                            Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

                                                            David Malinowski, Secretary