TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MAY 4, 2004

 

 

The Regular meeting of the Lower Makefield Township Zoning Hearing Board was held on Tuesday May 4, 2004 in the Lower Makefield Township Municipal Building.  Ms. Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m.

 

THOSE PRESENT      ZONING HEARING BOARD            BARBARA KIRK

                                                                                                RUDOLPH MAYRHOFER

                                                                                                DARWIN DOBSON

                                                                                                DAVID MALINOWSKI

 

                                    OTHERS                                             ALLEN TOADVINE

                                                                                                PETE STAINTHORPE

                                                                                                JOHN KOOPMAN

                                                                                                SALLY DORNER

 

 

Ms. Kirk advised that if all of the appeals are not heard by 11:00 p.m. the meeting will be adjourned and matters will be continued to the next meeting.  She also requested that all cell phones be turned off.

 

Mr. Toadvine advised there are only four members present this evening and that 3 affirmative votes are necessary to grant an appeal.  Applicants have the right to request the matter be continued until the next hearing date or proceed this evening with four members.    Ms. Kirk advised if there is a split vote (2 –2) the decision will not be in favor of the applicant.  All applicants agreed to go forward this evening.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1255 – MARK AND NANCY HUBSCH

 

Mr. Hubsch appeared together with Jeffrey Skinner the survey for the applicant.  Mrs. Humienny  also appeared.  Application was marked as exhibit A-1.  Pool permit plan entitled Hubsch Construction Pool Construction prepared for the applicant by Skinner Engineering and Surveying Inc. last dated 3/25/04.

 

Mr. Hubsch advised he and his wife have applied for a permit for a pool.  They are new residents and have been working hard on rebuilding this house.  When they purchased the property they had idea of putting in a pool.  Pool will be similar to others in their neighborhood.  He noted most of the houses in his area are similar in size with varying lot sizes.

 

Pool will be 20 x 40 “Lazy L”.  There will be 3’ concrete padding around the pool except for the section with the steps. There will be a sidewalk from steps to the porch room which is 18 x 18.  There is also a concrete pad at the bottom of the stairs with flagstone.  He noted there is existing concrete pad at bottom of both sets of stairs to the porch room and to the main house.   The concrete pad from the main house is 5 x 8’.  Ms. Kirk asked what else exists as a walkway. Mr. Hubsch advised there is grass out to the yard with slate slabs which he wants to remove. 

 

Proposed concrete walkway from the porch to the pool will be 3’ for approximately 20 to 25’ from the existing slabs.  Ms. Kirk noted this property is over the allowable impervious by 2%.  She asked if there is anything existing which could be removed or sized down to limit the increase.  Mr. Hubsch advised there is not.  Everything is vital and necessary to the property and what they do everyday.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked when the house was built and was advised it was built in 1973. Mr. Koopman advised there was impervious requirements in effect at that time and the allowable was 18%.   He noted they don’t know how it got to 19.6%. There is nothing in the file showing permits. There is no permit for the shed and it appears the driveway may have been extended.  There are no permits to permit increase to 19.6%.  Mrs. Dorner advised this was originally 15% allowable. There was a permit for the porch which made the impervious 14%.  She agreed that it appears the driveway was extended and shed added.  Mr. Hubsch stated the shed is 10’ x 10’ and is used for garden tools and bikes. He put the shed in and has owned the house since 8/03.  He did not know there was a permit required for a shed. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked if the 559 sq. ft pool deck includes all the sidewalk areas. M. Skinner advised this is all the area concrete with the pool.  Ms. Kirk asked if Mr. Hubsch extended the driveway and he stated he did not.  Mr. Skinner staged this is 12’ at the drive and widens to 30’.  Mr. Toadvine noted it is 30.34’ and is very close to the property line.  Ms. Kirk asked if this could be removed to reduce impervious.  Mr. Hubsch stated they need the driveway.  Ms. Kirk noted the driveway extends to the rear of the house and asked if this back section of the driveway adjacent to the house could be removed. 

 

Mr. Toadvine explained to Mr. Hubsch that they are requesting a variance and the requirements for same are hardship.  He needs to show the board they have a hardship and cannot use the property as it is zoned.  Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Hubsch what portion of impervious can be removed.  Mr. Mayrhofer noted that asphalt can be removed and at some point he will have to decide what is more important the driveway or pool.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked about impervious calculations for the driveway.  Ms. Dorner stated it appears the driveway is 1,045 sq. ft. Mr. Mayrhofer noted the original driveway was 1,000 and now it is 1,700 which probably has added 3% on by this issue alone.  Mr. Mayrhofer stated that Mr. Hubsch will need to make a choice.

 

Mr. Koopman requested party status on behalf of the township stated they are opposed because of the increase in impervious surface which would be more than 4% over what is allowed. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked about the portion of the driveway which goes to the back of the house. Mr. Skinner stated this is about 300’.  It was noted the shed is included in the calculations for building area.  Mr. Hubsch advised this is a side entrance garage.  After review of the plans it was felt by the board that 700’ has been added to the driveway.  Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Hubsch if he is agreeable to reducing driveway to reduce some of the impervious being requested.  Mr. Hubsch stated he is agreeable to a portion of this area.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if he wanted to request a continuance so he can consult with Mr. Skinner to see how much of the driveway can be removed which will eliminate the increase.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked if the application should include the shed.  Mr. Koopman stated if any variance is granted it should include that the shed also meet requirements. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer noted to reduce by 2% they would need to remove 440 sq. ft of impervious.  Mr. Hubsch stated this this reasonable, noting his wish is to have this pool.  He will do what the board wants him to do.  They purchased the house on what was there and took it at face value. He is surprised in knowing rules and impervious .He expressed concern that he has to take something which he purchased and remove it.  Ms. Kirk stated variances have legal requirements one being if they cannot use the property because of the condition of the property.  This is not the case – he wants to enhance his property. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer noted people added on without permits but when they need a permit such as this case everything comes out.  He thinks the board is trying to be reasonable and not asking him to go down to 15%.

 

Mr. Skinner asked if the board would consider a drainage system to collect runoff.  Mr. Koopman stated the township would be opposed to this.  Ms. Kirk stated it seems the most economic sense would be to reduce impervious so the increase is minimal. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if he will reduce impervious by 2%.  Mr. Koopman advised the township would be agreeable to this.  Discussion held regarding removal of impervious to obtain decrease.  Ms. Kirk asked if the board caps the impervious to 20.1% he will remove impervious wherever he deems necessary to get to that amount.  Mr. Hubsch agreed, as did the township. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the township has tough rules which help make this a nice place to live.  This is not designed to give him a hard time but to protect his neighbors. Runoff is a huge problem.  Mr. Hubsch stated one thing which attracted him to this property is the way the house is situated on the property.  He noted they do not have water in their basement.

 

Mrs. Humienny advised the first she heard about pool was the letter she received from the township. She spoke with an architect who stated the walkway would create more impervious problems. She does have a sump pump and has problems now with water. Her back yard fills up with water.  If walkway is built this would create more concerns for her.  She lives to the right of the property in question.  Mrs. Humienny expressed concern about the water as well as lighting in the pool.  Ms. Kirk advised the zoning hearing board has no issue with lighting in the pool.  Mrs. Humienny also advised that the applicant put in a trampoline in the back yard and Ms. Kirk advised this is not before the zoning hearing board.  Mrs. Humienny also advised there is a U-Haul in the driveway and expressed concern if the driveway is shortened the U-Haul would be more visible. 

 

Mrs. Humienny stated she hopes this proposal will not create more flooding. 

 

Mr. Skinner advised topographic map of the area has the property draining toward to the back and not toward the neighbors on either side.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting variance for impervious surface to 20.1% with the understanding that when Mr. Hubsch applies for the pool permit he will apply and obtain a shed permit in addition to any other applicable permits required by the Township.  Motion seconded by Mr. Mayrhofer and carried.

 

APPEAL #04-1256 – KAREN GATES

 

Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Ms. Gates stated she did not do a survey since Mr. Garton did not feel the survey added anything to the issue at hand.  She advised she lives on a 7 acre farm on Big Oak Road for the last 23 years.  Developers would like to purchase her property and she has been trying to figure out a way to ensure this property is something she can continue to stay on.  She has tried to negotiate with the  Township to purchase a conservation easement on all but one acre of property.  This easement is ready to sign once the survey is completed.  The conservation easement has  a stipulation that she keep this as a horse farm.  Township ordinance requirements only allow two horses and she has been in violation of the same. In order for the conservation easement she need to increase number of horses.  She is asking for variance for 7 horses which equals one per acre which is what is required in other townships.  She has operated this farm and over the years the maximum number of horses she has had is 12.  She noted that she is trying to down size and is already down to 7 horses.   She is looking to protect the farm for beyond when she is there.  She felt she could have 20 horses on the farm but in the future with improper management this could be disastrous.  She does not want to ask for more horses than someone could manage.  Ms. Gates noted she does not have crops.  She also noted that some of the horses she has are borders. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if she spoke to her neighbors and Ms. Gates stated she has and there  is no opposition.  She noted the 18 acre parcel next door is being developed.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the township  is in favor and is pursuing this.  The conservation easement is written but not executed.

 

Ms. Gates stated they have left the house area out because preserving the land is different than saving the house.  Mr. Koopman stated 6 acres will be preserved in open space.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked if the property can be subdivided and Ms. Gates advised it cannot be .  This is in the conservation easement.   

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if she is agreeable to a condition that any grant would be conditioned upon execution of the conservation easement.  Both Ms. Gates and the township agreed.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting variance to permit the keeping of no more than seven horse s on the property, subject to the condition that the conservation easement with the township be executed and duly recorded.  Motion seconded by Mr. Mayrhofer and carried.

 

 

APPEAL #04-1257  LAWRENCE AND ELIZABETH CONNER

 

Mark Reilly, Esq. Appeared together with Elizabeth Conner.  He advised Ms. Conner would like to have a yoga studio in her home.  The property is non conforming with two single family dwellings on the same each with water and sewer.  Property has a driveway which is about 500’ long. 

 

Mr. Reilly stated that he feels they qualify as a class 2 home occupation however yoga is not an enumerated item in the zoning ordinance, but is no different than other arts in the home.  He also advised the proposed use will not require any renovation to the property.

 

Ms. Kirk asked about the number of students. Mr. Reilly advised there would be seven.  Classes would be 1 ½ hrs and would be at 9:30 a.m. and in the evening at around 6:30 or 7:00 p.m.  This would be done between three and five days per week.  Mrs. Conner stated she hopes this is not on the weekends.  Ms. Kirk asked if the driveway has adequate parking.  Mr. Reilly stated there is adequate parking.  The driveway is 544’ plus there is a triangle area with additional parking.  Also, parallel to the driveway is the former road which is not being used by anyone for access.  Ms. Kirk asked what building she would be operating from.

 

Mrs. Conner advised both dwellings are used by her family.  Studio would be in the two story frame dwelling.  The one story frame dwelling is not occupied.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked the size of the yoga studio.  Mr. Reilly advised it would be less than 25% of the living space.  There will be no employees and there will not be any sign.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting application for use of property identified as 20-167-75 be permitted to have a home occupation class 2 for yoga instruction subject to the following conditions: 1) there be no outside employees; 2) maximum number of students shall not exceed seven at any given time; 3) that the hours of operation be limited to no more than 3 to 5 days per week with each session lasting no more than 1 ½ hours, not to commence prior to 9:30 am. And not past 9:00 p.m.; and 4) that the applicant comply with all other requirements set forth in Section 200-69(20)(a)(8).  Motion seconded by Mr. Mayrhofer and carried.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Letter dated 4/30/04 has been received from Sean Wagner (Appeal #03-1225) requesting a 9 moth extension  for variance which expired 4/21/04 for construction of an addition.

 

Motion made by Ms. Kirk granting 6 month extension to prior variance, commencing 4/22/04. Motion seconded by Mr. Dobson and carried.

 

 

There being no other business motion made by Mr. Malinowski to adjourn. Seconded by Mr. Dobson and carried.  The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

 

                                                            Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

                                                            David Malinowski, Secretary