TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – MARCH 15, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on March 15, 2005.  Chairman Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. noting that the Board adjourns at 11:00 p.m.; and if a Case is not finished prior to 11:00 p.m., they will give the Applicant the opportunity to continue to the next Hearing date.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:  Barbara Kirk, Chairman

                                                Rudolph Mayrhofer, Vice Chairman

                                                David Malinowski, Secretary

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Darwin Dobson, Member

                                                Greg Caiola, Alternate (not participating)

                                                  (left meeting in progress)

                                                Paul Kim, Alternate (left meeting in progress)

 

Others:                                     Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                Jennifer McGrath, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Drew Wagner, Township Engineer

                                                Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

                                                Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

APPEAL #04-1274 – SUNRISE DEVELOPMENT

 

Ms. Kirk stated this matter was continued from 2/1/05 and all testimony was concluded. 

The Solicitors for both the Applicant and the Township submitted Memorandum of Law

with proposed Findings of Fact to the Board, and the Board is in a position to render a

decision.  Mr. Kim was asked to participate in the Decision as he was the member who

heard the testimony and Mr. Malinowski was excused and did not participate in the

Decision.  All Board members indicated they did read the briefs presented.

 

Ms. Kirk moved,  and Mr. Mayrhofer seconded for the property located at 631 Stony Hill Road, Tax Parcel #20-24-1 that the Special Exception for an Assisted Living Facility be granted subject to the following:

 

            1)  That the Applicant will provide all landscaping and buffering for

                  the property as required by the Zoning Code;

 

March 15, 2005                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 15

 

 

            2)  That the units for residents suffering from dementia be restricted

                   to the first floor rear quadrant as presented during the Hearings;

 

            3)  Any and all deliveries to the proposed facility be at the rear of the

                  property and there shall be no deliveries before 6 a.m. or after

                  11:00 p.m.

 

As to the request for the Variance to increase the impervious surface coverage to 19.75%, it is moved that it be granted subject to the following condition:

 

            1)  That the Applicant construct a two-story facility at the property

                   as presented and shown on Exhibit A-11.

 

Motion carried with Mr. Bamburak, Ms. Kirk, and Mr. Mayrhofer in favor and

Mr. Dobson and Mr. Kim opposed.

 

 

Mr. Kim was excused and Mr. Malinowski returned to the table.  Mr. Caiola and

Mr. Kim left the meeting at this time.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1300 – THOMAS J. MACK CONSTRUCTION

 

Mr. Thomas Mack, 812 Edgewood Road, and Mr. Michael Gordon, 911 N. Pennsylvania

Avenue, were sworn in.    Mr. Gordon stated he is the owner of the property.

 

The Application submitted was marked as Exhibit A-1.  This includes a single-sheet Site

Plan dated 1/25/05 which was marked as Exhibit A-2. 

 

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

on the Plan of Makefield Terrace.  Mr. and Mrs. Gordon have owned the property since

2001.  It is zoned R-2 and consists of .95 acres.  They are requesting a Variance to erect a

906 square foot detached garage.  They are converting the existing garage into a family

room.  The need relief from Ordinance Section 200-23 for impervious surface.  The

maximum allowed on the property is 18% or 7,421 square feet.  The existing impervious

surface is 24.7% or 10,191 square feet.  The existing dwelling was built in 1905 and the

impervious includes the dwelling, driveways and rear driveway to a rear service road,

walks, and patio and exceeds the allowable impervious surface.  Improvements on the

property pre date the 1979 and 1994 Ordinances.  They will reduce the ratio to 23.9% or

9848 square feet.  They will achieve this by removing the driveway to the rear service

road and the concrete apron.  They will reduce the impervious surface by 1,272 square

feet and a net reduction with the new garage of 343 square feet.  The stone will be

removed and grassed over. 

March 15, 2005                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 15

 

 

Ms. Kirk noted the section on the Plan that is highlighted as to become a concrete patio

and asked what is there currently.  Mr. Gordon stated this is part of the home.  Mr. Mack

stated only the concrete patio will remain and this is included in the existing impervious

surface.  Currently there is a structure on this which will be removed but the slab will

remain. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated the Board received a memo from the assistant to the Township engineer

dated 2/28 and he suggested there may be 800 square feet of a driveway that could be

removed.  Mr. Mack stated they did not receive this memo.  Mr. Wagner stated this is the

section between the proposed garage and the existing dwelling. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated all of these structures were there before they had the Zoning Codes. 

Mr. Mack stated the house and existing garage were built in 1905.  With regard to the

structure in the back, they do not know whether there was a patio there or not. 

Mr. Gordon stated the back driveway has been there for as long as the neighbors can

remember. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked Mr. Gordon has discussed the proposed construction with his

neighbors and if they had any problems currently with any water flow or impervious

surface.  Mr. Gordon stated he did speak to the immediate neighbors and no one had any

problem.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked if there any water flow problems, and Mr. Gordon stated

there are not. 

 

Mr. Gordon stated although the house does have an existing garage, it was not engineered

with today’s cars in mind, and they do not really have a functioning garage.

 

There was no public comment

 

Mr. Bamburak moved, Mr. Mayrhofer seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Variance for impervious surface as requested.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1299 – THOMAS J. MACK CONSTRUCTION

 

Mr. Thomas Mack was present with Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney.  Mr. Mack was

reminded that he was still under oath.

 

Mr. Murphy stated this is with regard to an Appeal from the Decision of the Code

Enforcement Officer of the Township.  He stated he feels the burden is on the Township

to proceed first.   Ms. McGrath stated the Board of Supervisors has voted not to oppose

this Application. 

 

 

March 15, 2005                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 15

 

 

Mr. Murphy stated the Application is in response to the Appeal which was marked as

Exhibit A-1.  Attached to that Application is an outline of relief and reasons justifying the

grant thereof which is part of A-1.  He also attached a 1/14/04 Notice of Disapproval

from the Lower Makefield Township Code Enforcement Officer, Mr. Habgood.  This

was marked as Exhibit A-2.   Ms. Kirk asked if the date is correct, and Mr. Murphy stated

while the actual date shown is 1/14/04, this was an error and it should be 1/14/05. 

Ms. Kirk noted this is a three-page document and attached to that disapproval was one

page from the Stipulation by Court Order and a Section of the Township Zoning

Ordinance.  Mr. Murphy noted the copy of the 6/4/96 Order of the Court of Common

Pleas of Bucks County which was pursuant to a Stipulation dated 5/20/96 and executed

by the Township as well as the property owner and the Applicant at that time, William

Stitt.  Mr. Garton executed on behalf of the Township and Mr. Murphy executed on

behalf of Mr. Stitt.  This was marked as Exhibit A-3.  This includes the Declaration of

Restricted Covenants dated 2/22/94 which was marked as Exhibit B.  This was between

Mr. Stitt and the Township which was an Exhibit to that Stipulation. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked that the drawing dated Grading and Tree Removal Plan be marked

separately and this was marked as Exhibit A-4.  Mr. Murphy stated this is for Tax

Parcel #20-53-43 dated 6/25/03 with a last revised date of 11/11/04.  He stated this is a

single-sheet Plan prepared by J. G. Parks.    Mr. Murphy stated Exhibit A-4 is the Plan

that accompanied the Building Permit Application Mr. Mack submitted that was rejected

by the Township in January of this year and has given rise to this Appeal.  Mr. Murphy

noted a copy of the deed dated 8/17/04 regarding this property which was marked as

Exhibit A-5.  Ms. Kirk asked if this is Mr. Mack individually, and Mr. Murphy stated this

is correct. 

             

Ms. Kirk stated since the Township is not opposing this, they should present their

evidence as to why Mr. Mack should be considered a property owner and not a property

developer which gives rise to the impervious surface coverage.

 

Mr. Mack stated he lives at 812 Edgewood Road, and is a builder employee by Thomas J.

Mack Construction.  He has been a builder for thirty years. He stated he is a building

contractor and they build and renovate structures.  He is the legal owner of the property

which is the subject of the Application.   The Deed marked as Exhibit A-5 was noted, and

Mr. Mack stated this is the date he took title to the property. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated the property was at one time a portion of a much larger property, and

Mr. Mack agreed.  That larger property was the subject of the Stipulation entered into by

his predecessor and the Township which was marked as Exhibit A-3.  Mr. Murphy asked

if Mr. Mack was in any way responsible for the subdivision of that property, and

Mr. Mack stated he was not.  Mr. Mack stated that to his knowledge Mr. Stitt was the original Subdivider.  Mr. Murphy asked Mr. Mack if he ever subdivided a property in

Lower Makefield, and Mr. Mack stated he has not and has never submitted Land

March 15, 2005                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 15

 

Development Plans.  Mr. Murphy asked if he has ever built any homes in Lower

Makefield and Mr. Mack stated he has built four to five homes and all were individual

lots for which a Building Permit was submitted as was in this case. 

 

Mr. Murphy noted the Building Permit marked as Exhibit A-4 and stated the impervious

surface proposed was 12.4%, and Mr. Mack agreed.  The proposed single-family home

he was going to construct on the property did contemplate the construction of a deck. 

Mr. Mack did have conversations with Mr. Habgood as to whether or not the construction

of the deck would count against the impervious surface, and he indicated it would not as

long as it did not have any weed control under the deck.  He intended to construct the

deck consistent with that in mind.  Mr. Mack calculated the amount of impervious square

that would still be available to a subsequent purchaser and still not exceed the amount

permitted, and this would be 6/10ths of 1%.  This would be approximately 230 square

feet.  This available area would be sufficient to construct a 10’ by 20’ patio if a

subsequent property would so desire without still exceeding the 13% allowed. 

 

Mr. Murphy asked if as part of the discussions with the Township did Mr. Mack suggest

to the Township that any future homeowner of the property would be required to submit

to the Township their acknowledgement that there was .6% impervious surface left, and

Mr. Mack stated he did not but is aware that Mr. Murphy did have this conversation. 

Mr. Mack stated he feels this would be an extraordinary request to be asked to do this

since no one else has to do it, but he would reluctantly agree.  Mr. Mack stated it is

possible that he may move into this property with his family or he may sell it to another

party.

 

Mr. Murphy asked why he has elected to move forward with this rather than wait to find

a buyer.  Mr. Mack stated considering the conditions that have arisen, he is concerned

that any agreement he would enter into with a buyer, he would not be able to give them a

finish date. 

 

Ms. Kirk noted Exhibit A-4 and asked if  besides the proposed deck this also includes

walkways and driveways in the impervious surface, and Mr. Mack stated they have been

included.  Ms. Kirk asked if he is proposing only one single-family dwelling, and

Mr. Mack agreed.  Ms. Kirk asked if he will agree to a proposed condition of disclosure

on impervious surface to a subsequent purchaser, and Mr. Mack, stated that while he will,

he does not understand this request.  He stated he has built forty to fifty homes and has

never been requested to do this. 

 

Mr. Habgood stated it is the practice of the Township that when a development is being

built, the builder is allowed so much impervious surface and the homeowner is allowed

3% over this.  If the building goes over this, they do require a letter from the proposed

homeowner to use some of the 3%.  Ms. Kirk asked why they would consider Mr. Mack a

developer when he made the Application rather than a property owner.  Mr. Toadvine

asked that Mr. Habgood be sworn in if he is giving testimony.

March 15, 2005                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 15

 

 

Mr. Habgood was sworn in and stated his past record with the Township was that he has

built houses in the Township as well as done renovations.  He stated they were also

concerned that part of the 3% that the homeowner would be entitled to would have

already been used by the builder.  Mr. Habgood stated if a homeowner has contracted

with a builder, the builder would still have to comply with the impervious surface

requirements. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked how the Application was submitted.  Mr. Toadvine stated Thomas J.

Mack Construction was the Appellant.  Mr. Habgood stated the owner on the Application

is Mack and the contractor is Thomas J. Mack Construction.  Ms. Kirk stated he did make

application in his individual name; and Mr. Habgood stated while this is correct, the

mailing address was P. O. Box 151 Yardley, PA. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated he reviewed the Lower Makefield Code and noted the definition of

Developer.  He asked if Mr. Mack is considered a developer based on that definition.

Mr. Toadvine stated this is the ultimate issue which the Zoning Hearing Board has to

decide.  He stated he could discuss this with the Zoning Hearing Board in private as he

would not feel comfortable rendering a legal opinion on the ultimate issue in public.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if any members of the audience wished to comment or become party to

the Application.  Mr. Loren Danzis, attorney from Fox Rothschild, was present and stated

he represents Mr. Kenneth F. Brandt and Ms. Susan Brandt.  Mr. Kenneth Brandt was

sworn in and stated he resides at 571 River Road which is adjacent to the subject

property.  Mr. Danzis stated it is their opinion that this issue has been resolved and the

Order specifically stated that the Appeal of Kenneth and Susan Brandt and John

Middlebrook and Deborah Mather is sustained.   Ms. Kirk stated she understands from

the reading of the Stipulation, that it was dealing with two parcels remaining that were

vested in Mr. Stitt’s name.  Mr.  Toadvine stated he is referring to an Appeal previously

filed with the Zoning Hearing Board and then appealed before the Court of Common

Pleas.  That document has not been marked as an Exhibit or offered into evidence. 

Ms. Kirk asked if Mr. Danzis had copies of this to present to the Board, and Mr. Danzis

stated he did have one copy.  It was noted this would not be a sufficient number. 

 

A recess was taken so that copies of this and other documents Mr. Danzis requested be

copied could be made for Mr. Danzis at his expense. 

 

The meeting was reconvened, and Ms. Kirk stated they should clarify if Mr. Danzis’

client is asking for Party status.  Mr. Danzis stated they are requesting party status for all

the Appellants.  Mr. Toadvine stated this is a new matter, and if he is representing other

individuals he needs to clarify who he is representing.  Mr. Danzis stated at this Hearing

he is just representing Mr. Brandt but in previous litigation there were others. 

Mr. Toadvine stated previous litigation is not considered and he should indicate who he is

representing in this matter.  Mr. Danzis stated he is representing Mr. and Mrs. Brandt and

March 15, 2005                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 7 of 15

 

 

Deborah Mather and John Middlebrook.    Addresses were requested for the parties, and

Mr. Danzis asked Mr. Brandt to describe to the best of his knowledge where Deborah

Mather  and John Middlebrook reside.  Mr. Brandt stated his own property is

immediately adjacent to the subject parcel.  Mr. Brandt stated the Mather/Middlebrook

residence is across River Road from the parcel.  It was noted the Tax Parcel for

Mr. Brandt is #20-53-43-4.  Mr. Brandt was shown Exhibit A-4 and showed his property

which is to the left.  Ms. Kirk asked where in relation to the parcel was the Mather/

Middlebrook residence.  He noted Tax Parcel #20-53-43-1 on the Plan shown as being

owned by James and Carol Sigler.  It was determined that the Mather/Middlebrook

address was 567 River Road.

 

Mr. Danzis stated they would like to enter into evidence the Order dated 1/4/05 from the

Court of Common Pleas.  Ms. Kirk asked the offer of proof for this Exhibit.  Ms. Kirk

asked the relevance of that Exhibit being entered before the Board on this Application.

Mr. Danzis stated it was an Order of the County relating to the subject property for a

Variance for the same issue that is currently before the Board.  Mr. Murphy objected.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked to review a copy of the Order which was tentatively marked as

Exhibit P-1, and he was provided a copy.  Upon review, Mr. Toadvine stated it is an

Order dated 1/4/05 in the matter of Kenneth F. Brandt and Susan Brandt and

John Middlebrook and Deborah Mather versus Zoning Hearing Board of Lower

Makefield Township.  He stated it is also the same caption with two docket numbers

consolidated under Docket #04-02159.  Mr. Toadvine stated the Order refers to a Land

Use Appeal and that the Appeal is sustained and the Decision of the Lower Makefield

Township Zoning Hearing Board announced 1/20/04 concerning the lands of

Mr. William E. Stitt, known and identified as Tax Parcel #20-53-043 is hereby reversed

and Variance granted thereby is denied. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated he had asked that Mr. Habgood pull the original file that was the

subject of that land use Appeal.  Mr. Danzis and Mr. Murphy were shown the Appeal

which was filed to the Zoning Hearing Board, Appeal #03-1230.  The Appellant was

Thomas J. Mack, with the owner of the property shown as Bill Stitt.  Mr. Danzis and

Mr. Murphy agreed that the Appeal shown is the subject matter of the Land Use Appeal

filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Bucks County and referenced in the Order that

was marked as P-1.  It was suggested that this be referred to as the Zoning Application

and it was marked as Exhibit B-1. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated he is assuming Mr. Danzis’ argument is that the Order marked as

Exhibit P-1 impacts the Decision of the Zoning Hearing Board tonight, and Mr. Danzis

agreed.  Mr. Toadvine noted that the Appeal that was marked as Exhibit B-1 (the

Application) requested a Variance from the impervious surface ratio to 15.6%. 

Mr. Toadvine stated he believes at the Zoning Hearing Board meeting on January 20,

2004, that the Zoning Hearing Board granted the Variance for this particular parcel that is

March 15, 2005                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 8 of 15

 

being discussed tonight.  Everyone agreed.  Mr. Murphy stated the Variance that was

granted was less than what the original Application showed and there was a modification. 

The Variance granted was 14.1% which still exceeded the 13% permitted under the

Ordinance.  Mr. Toadvine stated the fact that the Court of Common Pleas reversed the

Zoning Hearing Board Decision has nothing to do with the Appeal this evening since

they are not dealing with a request for a Variance to the impervious surface. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Danzis if the Order that was entered by the Common Pleas Court in

the Land Use Appeal following the Stitt Zoning Decision was after submission of briefs

and argument before the Court in Bucks County, and Mr. Danzis stated a brief was

submitted by the appellants – Mr. and Mrs. Brandt, Ms. Mather, and Mr. Middlebrook. 

Mr. Murphy stated Mr. Stitt elected to abandon the Appeal and then sold the property to

Mr. Mack.  No brief was submitted by Mr. Stitt. 

 

Mr. Danzis stated he would also like to submit the Appellant’s Memorandum of Law.

Mr. Murphy objected, and Ms. Kirk sustained.  Mr. Danzis stated they have nothing else

to submit.

 

Mr. Danzis stated Mr. Brandt would like the opportunity to be heard and to ask

Mr. Mack questions.  Mr. Brandt stated Mr. Stitt had this parcel for sale and Mr. Mack

and Mr. Stitt decided to jointly  - Mr. Murphy objected.  Ms. Kirk overruled.  Mr. Brandt

stated that they indicated to him that they planned to have Mr. Stitt contribute the

property and Mr. Mack would build a house that would be a spec house and they would

then find a buyer.  Mr. Brandt stated Mr. Stitt owned the property behind this parcel and

was granted many Variances to this piece of property.  Ms. Kirk stated as she understands

what was submitted to the Zoning Hearing Board that there was one Variance request to

increase impervious surface and no other, and Mr. Brandt agreed.  He stated he is talking

about the original one that allowed this property to be subdivided.  Ms. Kirk stated that

was a decision that was already decided and processed through the Court.  Mr. Brandt

stated now they are trying to sell this as a spec property.  He stated the way the property

is being designed, it is set forward and not in line with the other homes.  Ms. Kirk stated

currently the property is vacant, and Mr. Brandt agreed.  Mr. Brandt stated it is his

opinion that they are trying to maximize the financial value rather than trying to put the

house at a proper size to fit the property.  He stated he has no objection to something

being built, but feels that anything more than 10% will not allow anyone to put anything

else on the property.  He stated people may want to put in a pool, deck, patio, etc, and

they will not be able to just for the sake of economics of the builder.  He feels the purpose of the Zoning laws is to protect the neighbors. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated under the Zoning Code, had an individual other than Mr. Mack purchased

this property and wanted to build on the property, they would be permitted to build up to

13% as the owner of the property.  Mr. Brandt stated he does recognize this and stated

that individual would then have input into how it would be developed.  Now the people

who purchase it will have no choice.

March 15, 2005                                                          Zoning Hearing Board – page 9 of 15

 

 

Mr. Danzis stated that Mr. Mack testified that he had built between forty to fifty homes,

and Mr. Mack agreed.  Mr. Danzis asked how many were suitable for him to live in, and

Mr. Murphy objected due to relevance.  Mr. Danzis stated Mr. Mack previously testified

that he might live in this home, and Mr. Mack stated this was his testimony.  Mr. Danzis

asked him if it is likely that he will live in this home, and Mr. Mack stated it is a

possibility.  Mr. Danzis asked if it was a possibility that he would live in any of the other

forty to fifty homes that he built.  Mr. Murphy objected.  Mr. Danzis stated Mr. Mack

testified that he might live in this home and asked how long he would intend to live in the

home.  Mr. Murphy objected.   Mr. Danzis asked if it is a home he plans to “flip.”

Ms. Kirk stated they did hear Mr. Mack’s testimony that he may move in and no further

testimony on whether he would keep it or resell it.  Mr. Murphy stated his client is not

making any representation that he will move into the home and he would prefer that the

Zoning Hearing Board consider this with the understanding that Mr. Mack will not reside

in it.  Mr. Murphy stated he does not feel it is relevant whether or not Mr. Mack plans to

live in the house.

 

Mr. Danzis noted Section 200-7 defines a developer.  He stated Mr. Mack is seeking a

Variance as an Agent for the landowner, Mr. Stitt.  Mr. Toadvine stated there is no

Variance being sought.  Ms. Kirk stated Mr. Stitt no longer owns the property.  The

property is owned in the name of Thomas Mack, an individual not the corporate entity. 

She stated the Deed that was submitted as Exhibit A-5 shows that Mr. Mack purchased

this property on August 17, 2004 and it was transferred from William Stitt to Thomas

Mack.  She stated on the last page it certifies that the address of the grantee is Thomas J.

and Susan Mack at 812 Edgewood Road.  There is  no indication that it went to

Mr. Mack’s company.  It went to Mr. Mack individually.  Mr. Danzis apologized noting

he was referring to another document.  Mr. Danzis stated it is the opinion of the

Appellants that he represented that Mr. Mack is only a developer and does not intend to

live in the house and if he does live in it, will only do so for a limited time to meet the

specific language of the Ordinance.

 

There was no other public comment.  Testimony was closed on this matter. 

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Dobson seconded and it was unanimously carried that after hearing

the testimony presented and in light of the documents submitted by the Applicant in this

Application and in further consideration of the definition of a developer and development

as set forth in the Zoning Ordinance, the decision of the Zoning Officer should be

overturned and Mr. Mack should be considered an owner of the property and permitted to

build up to 13% as permitted in the Code.  Mr. Mack’s Appeal is sustained.

 

Mr. Danzis asked if they will entertain a Motion regarding the acknowledgment of a

future purchaser of this land in writing that the 13% is virtually used up.  Ms. Kirk stated

this is not a condition of the Motion.

 

March 15, 2005                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 10 of 15

 

 

APPEAL #04-1254(A) – JOHN C. MCGINN, J.C.MCGINN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY

 

Mr. John VanLuvanee, attorney, was present with Mr. Chris McGinn, and Mr. Mark

Buckwalt, engineer. 

 

 Ms. Kirk stated this was continued from the last Board Hearing of 2/15/05.  Ms. Kirk

asked the Township’s position on this Application.  Ms. McGrath stated the Township

would only ask with regard to the Wetlands Variance that if the Zoning Hearing Board should determine that they are entitled to relief, that a Condition be imposed regarding

mitigation of the disturbed wetlands.  She presented a proposed condition. 

 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated he has been made aware of the proposed Condition and it is

acceptable.  He stated they did discuss this with the Board of Supervisors on an

informational basis at their meeting on March 7, 2005; and the Board requested this

condition and they agreed to it.  Ms. Kirk noted the memo of March 11, 2005 to

Ms. Frick the Zoning Officer from Mr. Buchwalt; and Mr. VanLuvanee stated the intent

of this memorandum was to confirm that the Applicant was in agreement with the

condition.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated this matter was previously scheduled for February 15, 2005 and

continued at the request of the Applicant’s attorney.  It was continued from the 2/15/05

meeting to tonight again at the request of the Applicant’s attorney.  Ms. Kirk stated an

Application had been submitted to the Zoning Hearing Board under Appeal #04-1254

which was then amended by Mr. VanLuvanee representing the Applicant which is

actually what is being heard tonight.  Mr. VanLuvanee agreed.

 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated this Application arises out of an Application for approval of an

eight-lot Subdivision proposing seven new residences on approximately thirty acres.  The

property is referred to as the Minehart property and is located on the northeast corner of

the intersection of Lindenhurst and Woodside Roads.  The Application was originally

filed showing eight lots.  They subsequently asked for a continuation of the Hearing and

had a series of meetings with the Township representatives in an effort to address some

of the engineering concerns related to the project as a whole.  They then revised the Plans

and re-submitted them and prepared an Amended Application.  They learned prior to the

Zoning Hearing Board’s January meeting that the Board of Supervisors had voted to

oppose the Application and for that reason they continued the Hearing and had further

meetings with Township representatives.  Several of the Variance Applications relate to

utility connections.  One of the major reasons for the Application is that this property has

an existing sanitary sewer interceptor that goes through the property and serves the

Dolington Estates property.  Mr. Minehart granted the easement for the benefit of

Dolington Estates after consultation with the Township.  That easement was put through

an area of wetlands and wetland margins prior to the time those resources were regulated

March 15, 2005                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 11 of 15

 

 

to the extent they are currently under the Ordinance.  In order to connect to the sanitary

sewer interceptor because of the location, two of the Applications for Variance relate to

utility connections to the sewer line.  Ms. Kirk asked if this will flow to the Neshaminy

Interceptor.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated he believes it will.  Mr. Toadvine stated he

understands that the Moratorium has been lifted.

 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated they have four Variance requests.  He stated two of the lots need

a Variance to cross wetlands and wetlands buffer to connect to the interceptor.  As a

result of meetings with the Sewer Authority, it now appears they will be able to utilize

Mr. Minehart’s force main and avoid that Variance if they can satisfy the engineers. 

They will therefore ask for a Variance subject to the Condition that if they can connect to

the force main, they will not utilize that Variance.  Another Variance is just a short

wetland buffer crossing so that one lot can connect by gravity to the interceptor.  The

third Variance relates to the water line.  They will bring public water to the Subdivision

down Woodside Road.  There is an existing culvert and to go around the culvert, they

must cross the stream which impacts wetlands and wetland buffers.  If the Water

Company determines they should  put it on the south side of the road, they may not need

this Variance.  This would therefore be a Conditional Variance as well.  The last

Variance relates to the access driveways for the two lots shown on the right hand side of

the Plan.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated they had proposed an alternative on the Application

which would be a common driveway, but the Planning Commission and Board of

Supervisors were not in favor of the common driveway and would prefer two driveways. 

This does mean they will encroach on the wetlands.  They agreed to mitigate on a one-to-

one ratio on site.  This is the subject of the Condition Ms. McGrath presented this

evening. 

 

The Amended Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Submitted with this were the

Plans that Mr. VanLuvanee referred to as prepared by Schoor DePalma, dated 8/8/03, last

revised 2/7/04.   These were marked as Exhibit A-2.   Mr. VanLuvanee stated he also

submitted a series of smaller Plans and he asked that those be marked separately tonight. 

 

Mr. Mark Buchwalt was sworn in and stated he is employed by Schoor DePalma.

He is individually a registered engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  He has

served as the project engineer for this Subdivision depicted on the Plan and submitted

with the Application.  He personally  has been involved in the preparation of the Plans

including the Exhibits. 

 

Mr. Buchwalt stated the property is approximately thirty acres located at Woodside and

Lindenhurst Roads.  They are proposing seven new homes to be served by public water

and sewer.  Mr. VanLuvanee asked about the natural features on the property. 

Mr. Buchwalt showed a colored copy of the Site Plan which was submitted.  The

property is bisected by a stream which runs generally from the northwest to the southeast. 

 

March 15, 2005                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 12 of 15

 

 

On either side of the stream, there are wetlands and wetland buffers as defined by the Zoning Ordinance.  Dotted lines were shown on either side of the stream and these show

the wetland buffers which would be the extent to which they would be allowed to disturb. 

He stated there is an existing sanitary sewer line that runs through the wetland buffer

from Dolington Estates to Woodside Road.  This new Development is proposed to be

served by public sewers and is in the portion of the Township that is proposed to be

served by public sewers. 

 

Mr. Buchwalt stated the development is also proposed to be served by public water.  The

nearest public water is currently within Lindenhurst Road which will serve Lot #1 and

Lot #2.  They will extend water along Woodside Road and an extension to Dolington

Estates for Lot #7.  They have had preliminary meetings with the Water Company and

they indicated the way they want the project served.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated one of the

Variance relates to Woodside Road for the water line, and Mr. Buchwalt agreed. 

 

Exhibit A-3 was marked which is the Grading and Erosion Control Plan dated 8/8/03, last

revised 10/11/04 prepared by Schoor DePalma – Sheet 4 of 9.  Mr. Buchwalt stated this is

a copy of the Grading and Erosion Control Plan and he has colored in the area where they

have wetland buffer and wetland disturbance.  This was filed with the Amended

Application.  The coloring on the Plan highlights the four areas for which the Amended

Application seeks Variances. 

 

Exhibit A-4 was marked which is entitled Wetland Disturbance Plan #1 which was

prepared by Mr. Buchwalt.  Mr. Buchwalt stated he took the larger plan and did a blow

up designating the area of the buffers to be disturbed and the actual wetlands to be

disturbed.  Mr. Buchwalt showed on Exhibit A-3 where the area shown on A-4 is

physically located.  Mr. Buchwalt stated originally they requested a Variance for this in

order to connect gravity sewers to the interceptor running on the other side of Core

Creek.  They did consider alternatives and met with the Township engineer,

Mr. Hoffmeister, and Mr. Zarko.  They discussed the possibility of going across the

Transcontinental Gas Line with a pump system.   Mr. Zarko and Mr. Hoffmeister were

not in favor of this.  They suggested that he investigate the possibility of connecting to

Mr. Minehart’s force main.  His office did perform some calculations to determine

whether this was feasible.  The letter received from CKS indicates that they  have

reviewed the submission made by Mr. Buchwalt and made preliminary conclusions on

the feasibility of the connection.  Mr. Buchwalt stated they indicated that it would be

possible to take the sewer line outside the buffer and connect to the force main and tie it

in with Mr. Minehart’s property and eliminate the need to cross the wetland buffer.  This

letter was marked Exhibit A-5.  It was noted these are only preliminary conclusions and

the engineer still needs to satisfy certain conditions before they will approve this, one of

which is approval from the DEP.  Mr. Buchwalt stated they have briefly discussed this

with their client, but would like to discuss it at more depth.  If they are permitted to

connect to the force main, they would not have to encroach on the wetland buffer or the

March 15, 2005                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 13 of 15

 

wetlands.  This is for Lots #3 and #4.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated they would request a

Variance subject to the Condition that if it is possible to make the connection, they would

not use the Variance.

 

Mr. VanLuvanee noted Wetlands Disturbance Plan #3.  This was prepared by

Mr. Buchwalt and was marked as Exhibit A-6.  Mr. Buchwalt noted on Exhibit A-3

where Plan #3 is located which is to the west of Lot #7.  In this area, it is wetlands buffer

and there is no encroachment into the wetlands.  The purpose of the Variance it to tie a

gravity sewer lateral into the sewer line.   The sewer line is located in a wetland buffer. 

They did discuss alternative to this with Mr. Zarko and Mr. Hoffmeister.  Mr. Buchwalt

stated they discussed the possibility of installing a grinder pump and going to Dolington

Estates to tie in at that location.  Mr. Zarko and Mr. Hoffmeister asked that they purse the

Variance Application rather than the grinder pump. 

 

Plan #4 was presented which was marked as Exhibit A-7.  Mr. Buchwalt showed on the

large Plan the area that was shown on Exhibit A-7.  He stated this is around the culvert on

Woodside Road.  This encroachment involves the Water Company which indicated they

wanted them to bring the water from Lindenhurst Road in a easterly direction across the

frontage of the property.  They indicated that they wanted to put it on the north side

initially, but have now indicated they may want it on the south side.  If it is on the south

side, they would still need to encroach on wetland buffer or wetlands so the Variance that

is requested will most likely be needed on either side.  He stated they do not feel they can

tell the Water Company which side of the road this should go on.

 

Plan #2 was marked regarding the driveways.  This was marked as Exhibit A-8.  The area

involved was highlighted on Exhibit A-3.  It is on the east side of the property and relates

to the driveways for Lots #5 and #6.  They have calculated the wetland disturbance and

wetland buffer disturbance that would be necessary.  Mr. Buchwalt stated there is no

other way to access the northern part of the property.  With the single driveway, they

could avoid wetland disturbance, but the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors

were not in favor of this.  They would still have impacted wetland buffers with that

option.  Mr. Buchwalt stated he did attend the meeting of the Board of Supervisors and

the Board proposed that there be mitigation either on site or at the Township Park next

door.  Mr. Buchwalt stated his office has investigated this on site and located an area

where they could do the mitigation.  This would be subject to the Township engineer’s

confirmation.  This area was shown on the Plan. 

 

Mr. Buchwalt stated in designing this Plan they did try to minimize the encroachments

into the wetlands and wetland buffers and they feel they have mitigated as much as

possible .  He feels the Variance are the minimum needed to afford relief. 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated they are no longer requesting a Variance to permit a shared

driveway.  The driveways will be separated slightly and are part of the individual lots. 

 

There was no public comment, and the testimony was closed.

March 15, 2005                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 14 of 15

 

 

Ms. Kirk moved that in the Application of John C. McGinn, the amended Application for the property located at the northeast corner of Lindenhurst Road and Woodside Road identified as Tax Parcel #20-3-28 and #20-3-28-2 moved that the Variances requested from Section #200-51.B(4)(b) and #200-51.B(4)(d) to permit three crossings of the wetlands and wetland buffers and one crossing of the wetland buffer only be granted as set forth in Exhibit A-3 subject to the following conditions:

 

            1)  That if the proposed Lots #3 and #4 cannot be connected otherwise

                  to the sewer system as proposed by the Applicant outside the

                  wetland area and buffer, that the Variance be utilized;

 

            2)  That the Applicant will agree to mitigate the loss of wetlands to take

                  place either on site in the buffer area or at another remote location

                  at the discretion of the Township and Township engineer on a one-

                  to-one ratio to the loss of the wetlands;

 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated with respect to Woodside Road, they cannot tell exactly how

many feet they would need as a Variance if they must put the water line in on the south

side.  He requested consideration so that he does not have to file a separate Application if

the Water Company comes back and indicates they want it on the south side.  He stated

they would agree to minimize the encroachment in a manner consistent with the design

plan.  They do not own any property on the south side.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated he is

concerned that the Variance is specific to what is shown n the plan, but if the Water

Company flips it, he would prefer not to have to come back to the Zoning Hearing Board. 

 

Ms. Kirk added a third Condition as follows:

 

 

3)  That the Variance for disturbance of the wetlands identified as

                   Wetlands Disturbance Plan #4 as set forth in Applicant’s

                   Exhibit A-7 be granted subject to the approval of the

                   appropriate water utility company and to the extent that the

                   water utility company recommends a water connection further

                   south as proposed on Exhibit A-7 that the Variance be granted.

 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer seconded and the Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 15, 2005                                                        Zoning Hearing Board – page 15 of 15

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Appeal #04-1240 – Centennial Commons, LLC

 

Ms. Kirk stated the Board received a request from Mr. Murphy dated 3/14/05

concerning Appeal #04-1240 – Centennial Commons, LLC.  The Zoning Hearing Board

rendered its decision in April of 2004 which was extended at its meeting in January, 2005

until March 15, 2005.  Mr. Murphy is requesting an additional extension not to exceed

sixty days since a Revised Building Permit Application was submitted to the Township

and they want to insure there is sufficient time to make sure the Application can be

processed and approved without the Variances being expired.

 

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

request for Extension as set forth in Mr. Murphy’s letter of March 14, 2005.

 

 

Cancel Zoning Hearing Board Meeting of April 5, 2005

 

Ms. Kirk stated it has been brought to her attention that there are no new Appeals

 

required for the Board’s meeting of April 5, 2005.  Mr. Dobson moved, Mr. Bamburak

 

seconded and it was unanimously carried to cancel the meeting of April 5, 2005.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Dobson moved, Mr. Malinowski seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        David Malinowski, Secretary