TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – JULY 5, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on July 5, 2005.  Chairman Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. noting that the Board will adjourn at 11:00 p.m. and allow the Applicants the opportunity to have their matters continued to the next Board meeting if they are not completed by that time.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:  Barbara Kirk, Chairman

                                                David Malinowski, Secretary

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Greg Caiola, Alternate Member

                                                Paul Kim, Alternate Member

 

Others:                                     Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

                                                Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor Liaison

 

Absent:                         Rudolph Mayrhofer, Zoning Hearing Board Vice Chair

Darwin Dobson, Zoning Hearing Board

 

 

APPEAL #05-1311, APPEAL #05-1312, APPEAL #05-1313 – ALLEGHENY VALLEY SCHOOL

 

Ms. Kirk stated the Board’s Solicitor received a letter from the Applicant’s attorney

indicating that he was on his way to the Township from Pittsburgh and his flight was

cancelled due to bad weather.   As a result of the flight delays, he was unable to attend

this evening.   The letter dated 7/5/05 was marked as Exhibit E-5. 

 

Ms. Kirk moved, and Mr. Bamburak seconded to continue the Appeals to the Special

Meeting of 7/13/05 at 7:00 p.m. for further Hearings and Testimony.  There was no

public comment, and the Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1314 – KARIN HAGIOS

 

Ms. Karin Hagios was sworn in.  She stated the property is located at 86 Big Oak Road.

The Application submitted by Ms. Hagios was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the

July 5, 2005                                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 9

 

 

Application was an 8 ˝” by 11” sheet showing five photographs.  This was marked as

Exhibit A-2.  Also included with the Application was an 8 ˝” by 14” Plan of the property

entitled “Trench Replacement Detail,” and this was marked as Exhibit A-3.

 

Ms. Hagios stated she would like to install a three board, split-rail fence on the long

stretch in the front yard.  She stated she has a long, narrow lot.  She stated she was not

aware that this was a corner lot that was subject to different Zoning requirements. 

Ms. Hagios stated she would like to have a four foot high fence with the intention of

using it to contain two dogs in the yard.  She stated the Zoning Ordinance permits the

fence to be only 3’ high.  The fence will be set back far enough from the road so that it

will not impact the intersection.  She stated since it is a split rail fence, it should not

present a visual obstruction.  She stated the house is 147 years old and she feels this type

of fence will fit in with the historic nature of the property.  She stated the mailbox and

driveway are on the long side of the rectangular on Big Oak Road.  The 4’ high split rail

fence will encompass the entire property.  Currently there is a 6’ high stockade fence in

one section in the rear along with a 4’ split rail fence and a gate in the back yard. 

Currently there is nothing on the long side of the lot.  The entire lot is one Tax Parcel.   

Ms. Hagios stated she has additional pictures which include photos of a similar property

in New Jersey which has the same type of fence she is proposing.  These photos were

submitted this evening to Mr. Toadvine.

 

Mr. Toadvine noted Exhibit A-3 is highlighted in yellow and orange.  Ms. Hagios stated

the yellow was highlighted to identify the road and the orange is the proposed new fence.

 

Mr. Caiola asked how far the fence will be from the street, and Ms. Hagios stated it will

be approximately 15’. 

 

Mr. Kim asked which side is required to have fencing of only 3’high.  Mr. Koopman

stated the house fronts on Big Oak Road and this is why she needs the Variance. 

Mr. Koopman stated the secondary front yard (West Ferry) can have a 6’ foot high fence. 

 

Exhibit A-4 was marked which is one sheet with three photographs.  Exhibit A-5 was

marked which is one sheet with three photographs.  A-4 was noted and Ms. Hagios stated

this shows the house as it currently exists.  Ms. Hagios stated when she took the top

photograph showing the house, she was standing in the field shown in the bottom picture. 

The second photo was taken from the Big Oak Road side looking at the house and the

shed.  The bottom photo was taken from the house looking out to the road.  Exhibit A-5

shows examples of the split-rail fencing she intends to construct.  Ms. Hagios stated these

are pictures of a corner lot in New Jersey which used the three board, split-rail fence this

she plans to use. 

 

 

 

July 5, 2005                                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 9

 

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Township has no formal position.  He did ask about the wire

mesh proposed, and Ms. Hagios stated she intends to install 2” by 4” welded wire, powder green coated which she feels will blend into the landscaping.  She feels this will

be safe for the dogs and make a nice appearance.

 

There was no public comment.

 

Mr. Kim stated he is concerned that the proposed height of the fence will not contain the

dogs.  Ms. Hagios stated she does not feel they will jump the fence as they are mellow

dogs and they will not be left out in the yard unattended.  She stated they are also

registered with the Township and micro-chipped as well.

 

Mr. Bamburak moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to grant the

Variance as requested.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1315 – DAN AND SHEILA ADAMCZYK

 

Dan and Sheila Adamczyk were sworn in.  Ms. Adamczyk noted the property is located

at 138 Barbara Drive.

 

The Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Included with this was a one-page

document entitled “Zoning Permit Plan prepared by Anthony Sylvan Pools” dated

3/28/05, and this was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Ms. Kirk stated the Board received this

evening a memo from the Assistant to the Township engineer directed to the Code

Enforcement Officer dated 6/30/05, and this was marked as Exhibit B-1.  A copy of this

was provided to the Applicants this evening for their review.

 

Ms. Adamczyk stated their request is for additional impervious surface.  They are

currently at 24%, and they are requesting 31%.  She stated they are building a pool and a

patio.

 

Ms. Kirk stated under the Zoning Ordinance, they can increase the impervious surface

from 24 1/2% to 28%.  She asked why they need more than this.  Ms. Adamczyk stated

they went with a smaller pool so that they could have a larger patio surface. 

 

Mr. Kirk noted Exhibit A-2 and asked the dimensions of the concrete patio that will be

around the pool, but Ms. Adamczyk was not certain.  She stated she understood from

Sylvan Pools that it was to be three feet all the way around and a larger surface on the

right hand side.  Mr. Majewski stated the larger surface appears to be  15’ out from the

side of the pool and 25’ long. 

 

 

July 5, 2005                                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 9

 

 

Mr. Kim asked why they need such a large patio.  Ms. Adamczyk stated they decided to

have a smaller pool so that they could have a larger area for entertaining.  Mr. Kim stated

they are requesting a large increase in impervious surface and stated they could decrease

the patio which would reduce the impervious surface.  Ms. Adamczyk stated they do not

feel it is much more than what is permitted.  Ms. Kirk stated they are requesting a

Variance and they need to prove to the Zoning Hearing Board that there is a hardship

because of the way that the property is configured that prevents them from meeting the

requirements.  She stated their desire to have a larger patio does to constitute a hardship. 

Ms. Kirk stated they do have another 3 ˝% that they can increase automatically, and they

are looking for another 3% above and beyond that.  Generally, the Board is not inclined

to grant a 3% increase above what is allowed and they look for the minimum amount that

is required.  Ms. Adamczyk stated they could get a bigger pool.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if there is any impervious surface on the property that could be eliminated

to narrow the increase they are seeking.  She asked if they would like to go back to

Sylvan Pools to discuss this.  Ms. Adamczyk stated she is concerned that this has already

taken this long.  She stated they could probably eliminate the circle in the front.  Mr. Kim

stated they could also have a patio that would be pervious rather than concrete, and they

may wish to discuss their options with their architect/builder and then come back to the

Board with an alternative Plan.  Ms. Kirk stated if this is their desire, they can request

that the Hearing be continued to the next Board meeting which is July 19.

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Township is opposed to the Application in its current form

because the increase in impervious surface they are requesting is excessive in the

Township’s view.  He stated the other concern is that Mr. Habgood and Mr. Majewski

feel that the Plan as proposed provides for impervious surface in excess of 31%. 

Mr. Majewski stated they did calculate the proposed and existing to be approximately

32% so the Applicant will need to double check this.

 

Ms. Kirk noted Exhibit B-1 indicated that the impervious surface will exceed the 31.2%

shown on their Application, and they should discuss this with Sylvan Pools as well. 

Ms. Kirk stated the memo also indicates that the Township is concerned about how the

storm water will be directed off the property and they should address this as well with

Sylvan Pools.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Adamczyk asked for a continuance until 7/19/05.

 

Mr. Koopman stated their Plan shows the construction of a new sidewalk out the back of

the house and they stop short of the driveway.  He asked if this is correct. 

Ms. Adamczyk agreed.  Mr. Koopman asked what will be in the area between the

sidewalk and the drive, but Ms. Adamczyk stated they did not get this far in their plan. 

She stated she wanted a patio off the sliding glass door to the pool.  Mr. Koopman stated

the Township’s concern is that the sidewalk could not be extended to the driveway

July 5, 2005                                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 9

 

 

without additional impervious surface over and above what the Plan shows.  He

suggested they look into this as well.

 

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

the matter until July 19, 2005.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1316 – JOHN L. RUSS, III

 

Mr. John Russ was sworn in. He stated he resides at 717 Stewarts Way.  The Application

was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application was a one-page As Built Plan

for the property last dated 12/18/00 which was marked as Exhibit A-2. 

 

Mr. Russ stated he would like a Variance to install a 4’ picket PVC fence in the back yard

of the property.  It will only take in two-thirds of the back yard.  It will extend from the

rear of the house, through the back yard and will run through an easement.  This is a 20’

wide storm sewer easement.  Mr. Koopman stated he feels the Township holds this

easement and feels this is a storm sewer easement which includes an underground pipe. 

It is a storm sewer pipe and not a sanitary sewer line.   He stated it is part of the

stormwater collection system for the development. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if it is a swaled area, and Mr. Majewski stated there is a slight swale

and there is a high point in the middle of the easement that directs water in both

directions. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked how much clearance will be provided between the bottom of the fence

and the ground, and Mr. Russ stated it would be 3” to 4”.  He will have one gate

alongside the house and an 8’ gate as well.  There will be 1 ˝” gaps in the pickets.

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Township has no objection as long as the usual conditions

regarding fences in the easements are attached along with another condition that the

erection of the fence will not in any way disturb the underground stormwater pipe.

They would also request that the usual condition that the installation of the fence would

not impede stormwater flow and drainage in the area and that if the Township has to

access the water line, that any replacement and reconstruction of the fence would be at

the homeowners’ expense.  Mr. Russ stated he would agree to these conditions.

 

Mr. Kim stated the fence exceeds the landscaped buffer, and asked for more information

about this buffer.  Mr. Majewski stated this the landscaped buffer than can be seen from

Edgewood Road which includes a berm and a mixture of shrubs, deciduous and

evergreen trees.  Mr. Russ stated the fence is well within this area. 

 

There was no public comment.

July 5, 2005                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 9

 

 

Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Malinowski seconded and it was unanimously carried to grant the request subject to:

 

1)  The construction and installation of the fence will not interfere with the underground sewer within the easement area;

 

2)  There shall be at least 2” gap between the ground and the bottom of the fence;

 

3)  If the easement holder needs access to the property, that the fence will be removed at the homeowners’ sole cost and expense.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1317 – THOMAS J. MACK CONSTRUCTION

 

Mr. Thomas Mack was sworn in.  He stated the property owners are Mr. and Mrs.

Michael Gordon who are away on vacation, but he does have their authority to be present

this evening.

 

The Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application were two 8 ˝”

by 11” sheets depicting the proposed garage, and this was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Also

included was a Site Plan dated 1/25/05 which was marked as Exhibit A-3.

 

Mr. Mack stated the property is Tax Parcel #20-54-72, 911 N. Pennsylvania Avenue on

the Plan of Makefield Terrace.  It is zoned R-2.  He stated the Zoning Hearing Board

granted an Appeal on this property in March of 2005 (Appeal #05-1300) for impervious

surface.  Currently they are requesting a Variance to Section 200-69A(14)(a) Accessory

Uses and Accessory Structures, Residential Accessory Buildings, Structures, and Fences

which states that the height of an accessory building shall not exceed fifteen feet.

Mr. Mack stated they were unaware of this provision at the time of their last Appeal or

they would have included it at that time.  The proposed structure is a little less than 24’

from finished floor to the peak on the outside.  He stated the height of the structure is for

aesthetic reasons to fit the garage in with the period of the construction of the original

dwelling.  He stated the space above the garage is unfinished attic space with pull-down

stairs.  There are no plans for finishing the attic in the future, and he does not believe that

the height of the attic aggregate would comply with the Code for finishing that space. 

Mr. Mack stated there are various other detached garage structures in the immediate area

that pre date the Ordinance which exceed the fifteen foot maximum.  He stated these

include a four-car garage adjacent to this parcel with a residential unit above it which is

approximately 24’ in height, and several other properties within 500’ which exceed the

fifteen foot restriction including 29 E. Ferry Road, 915 Greenway, and 917 Greenway.

Mr. Mack stated they feel the new structure will complement the existing home. It will be

a two-car garage with a small storage area on the side.  There will be a stone driveway

from Pennsylvania Avenue to the garage. 

July 5, 2005                                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 7 of 9

 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the prior Application before the Board in March for impervious surface

was related to the construction of this garage, and Mr. Mack stated it was, but he was not

aware of the height restriction.

 

Mr. Bamburak asked the height of the house, and Mr. Mack stated it is 38’. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if there is an existing garage, and Mr. Mack stated there is an

existing garage in the main structure of the house that is being converted into a family

room.  The request to exceed the maximum permitted height is based solely on aesthetics. 

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Township is opposed to the Application because they feel the

height is excessive.  Mr. Koopman stated they feel a two-car garage could be constructed

in compliance with the Ordinance with some kind of peaked roof to meet aesthetic

concerns.  Mr. Koopman asked if the homeowners intend to use the unfinished attic space

for storage.  He noted that Mr. Mack had indicated that there are pull-down stairs.   After

review of the Plans, Mr. Mack stated there is an attic scuttle and not pull-down stairs.  It

is a “hatch.”  Mr. Koopman asked if the storage area will be floored, and Mr. Mack stated

it does not appear to be so on the Plans, but he cannot testify as to what they may do in

the future.  He stated there is an attic in the house and a full basement.  He stated the

reason for the height is purely aesthetics, and not needed for storage.

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Township is opposed to the Application for the reasons stated.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked the height of the ceiling in the garage, and Mr. Mack stated it is 10’

from the finished floor to the underside of the ceiling material.  Mr. Toadvine asked if

they reduced this,  could they reduce the height of the overall structure and still maintain

the same roof pitch, and Mr. Mack agreed.  Ms. Kirk asked if Mr. Mack has the authority

to agree to this, or would he need to confirm this with the homeowners.  Mr. Mack stated

he feels he has the authority to do this. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked the height of the existing garage, and Mr. Mack stated the interior is 12’.

The existing garage is attached to the house.  Mr. Mack was asked if the surrounding

properties have attached garages of this nature, and Mr. Mack stated directly behind then

is a very large garage structure as well as the other structures testified to previously.

 

Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Mack if he has the authority to accept a Condition that the space

above the garage cannot be converted or used in any way as a residential dwelling unit,

and Mr. Mack stated he can agree to this. 

 

There was no public comment.

 

 

 

July 5, 2005                                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 8 of 9

 

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Variance request for a maximum height of 22 feet subject to the following Conditions:

 

1)  That the storage space, as testified by the Applicant, above the garage shall not be at any time converted or used as a residential dwelling unit;

 

2)  That the space above the garage be maintained for storage as presented by the Applicant.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1318 – DENNIS AND MARIA SALAMANDRA

 

Mr. Tom Fischer, builder, and Mr. Dennis Salamandra were sworn in.  The Application

was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Attached to the Application was a one-page Plan for the

property located at 701 Ardsley Court with a designation of “Existing House, Sunroom,

and Decks” which was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Also attached was another Plan for the

property designated as “Proposed Addition” which was marked as Exhibit A-3.

 

Mr. Fischer stated they are requesting a Variance from the setback.  The existing setback

is 40’.  They would like to do some renovations to the house which would encroach on

the current setback.  They are requesting a setback of 36.6” for the rear of the house. 

They would like to change the architectural style of the house and intend to go from a

contemporary style to a more traditional Bucks County farmhouse style.  In order to

change the style and the function of the house, they are requesting to encroach in the rear

yard.  The room sizes and lay out will change with the architectural style and they are

requesting this additional space in order to perform the alterations.

 

Ms. Kirk stated it appears that they will replace the existing sunroom, deck and brick

patio.  Mr. Fischer stated it will encompass where the existing sunroom is located.  He

stated the existing sunroom is a ten foot addition.  He stated the patio and the deck will be

removed so they are actually decreasing the impervious surface in the rear of the

property.  Ms. Kirk stated they will also reduce the encroachment as well when they

remove the deck and the patio. 

 

Mr. Fischer presented architectural renderings of the property.  Exhibit A-4 was marked

which is the front elevation, and Exhibit A-5 was marked which is the rear elevation. 

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Township has no position on this Application.

 

There was no public comment.

 

Ms. Kim moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to grant the

Variance as proposed.

July 5, 2005                                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 9 of 9

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Malinowski moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was

unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        David Malinowski, Secretary