TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – MAY 18, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on May 18, 2005.  Vice Chairman Mayrhofer called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.  He stated they will adjourn the meeting at 11:00 p.m. and continue to a future date any business which is not concluded by that time.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:  Rudolph Mayrhofer, Vice Chairman

                                                David Malinowski, Secretary

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Greg Caiola, Alternate

                                                Paul Kim, Alternate

 

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:                         Barbara Kirk, Zoning Hearing Board Chair

                                                Darwin Dobson, Zoning Hearing Board Member

 

 

APPEAL #05-1306 – GARY R. O’CONNOR, ARCHITECT

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated the Applicant is requesting a continuance until a future meeting and

if anyone is present to hear this Appeal, it will not be heard this evening.  Mr. Toadvine

stated this will be continued by the Board until June 21, 2005.  Subsequently in the

evening, Mr. Malinowski moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously

carried to continue the matter to June 21, 2005

 

 

APPEAL #05-1302 – ANTHONY K. AND MARTA JARAMILLO RANA

 

Mr. and Mrs. Rana were present with their attorney, Mr. Bane.  Mr. Bane stated they

have submitted a revised Plan.  Mr. Toadvine stated this will be marked as Exhibit A-3. 

This is a Plan dated 10/18/04, last revised 5/10/05.  Mr. Bane stated based on the

comments of the last Hearing, the pool has now been moved away from the back line and

the increased impervious surface has been removed.  They are therefore asking for no

increase in the impervious surface.  He stated they presented their testimony at the last

meeting as to the history of the property.  This is the first time Mr. and Mrs. Rana have

May 18, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 9

 

done any construction on the property since they purchased the property.  Everything else

was already on the property when they purchased it.  Mr. Mayrhofer stated the walkway

will be board with slats.  Mr. Rana stated it will be a wooded deck. 

 

Mr. Majewski stated he has looked at the proposal and does have some comments.  He

stated the coping around the pool will be concrete and this is impervious surface.  It is

125 square feet which is approximately .1%.  Mr. Bamburak asked if the wooden deck as

described would be pervious, and Mr. Majewski stated he would like to know what

would be underneath the wooden deck.  Mr. Rana stated it will be gravel or sand. 

Mr. Majewski stated they could not have gravel that could be easily compacted. 

Mr. Bamburak asked if there is a requirement for certain spacing between the slats.

 

Mr. Koopman stated if they are going to grant relief, one of the conditions the Township

would like to have imposed would be that the Township engineer have the opportunity to

review and approve the decking material to insure that it is pervious and also that the

Township engineer have the opportunity to review the pool drainage.

 

Mr. Majewski stated since they have moved the pool they still have some concerns that

they are altering the existing swale in the rear, and he feels a small retaining wall may be

necessary.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked if this wall would not add to the impervious surface and

 

Mr. Majewski stated he feels it will.  Mr. Majewski stated there will be some storage in

the pool before it overflows.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if the Applicant would be willing to agree to the condition that it

would be subject to the Township engineer’s review and approval of the decking material

and the drainage plan, and Mr. Bane stated they would agree to this.  Mr. Koopman stated

when they review the Building Permit, the Township engineer will review this.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated they could put the caveat in that if the drainage plan requires a wall

that this additional impervious surface would be acceptable.  Mr. Toadvine stated the

property is currently at 25.37% impervious so with the addition of the coping it would be

.1% additional.  If the Board is willing to grant a Variance it may be beneficial to indicate

that the increase from 25.37% impervious be permitted to go to 25.75% or 26% in order

to cover the coping and the possibility of the retaining wall.  This was acceptable to

Mr. Koopman understanding that this would be approved if it is necessary.  This would

also be based upon the Plan being reviewed by the Township engineer.  This was

acceptable to Mr. Bane.

 

Ms. Fay Manicke, 529 Viscount, asked what they will put around the pool.  She asked if

they will have to have fencing, and Mr. Mayrhofer stated they would have to have a

minimum five high fence. 

 

There was no further public comment.

May 18, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 9

 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer moved and Mr. Kim seconded to approve the request for a Variance from

the impervious surface coverage to allow for a maximum total amount of impervious

surface of up to 26% if needed.  The Variance is contingent upon the Township

engineer’s review and approval of the proposed pervious decking material and the

drainage plan based on the location of the pool.  If the Township engineer feels that it is

necessary, the Applicant would also be required to install some type of retaining wall.

 

Motion carried with Mr. Caiola, Mr. Kim and Mr. Mayrhofer in favor, Mr. Bamburak

opposed, and Mr. Malinowski abstained.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1303 – BERNARD AND ALISA DUPUY

 

Mr. and Mrs. Dupuy were sworn in.  Mr. Toadvine noted the Application will be marked

as Exhibit A-1.  The Plan dated 8/02/04 was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Mr. Dupuy stated they would like to encroach into the side yard from 15’ to 6’4”.  They

are interested in building a two-car garage and would like to build it onto the side yard. 

They need the additional space for storage for their boat, jet ski, motorcycle, etc.  The

existing garage is too small.  Mr. Dupuy stated they could build on the side as shown on

their Application or they could build toward the rear.  They would prefer to build on the

side so that they can keep the rear yard open toward the woods. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated they knew when they purchased the home the way it was set up and

asked if they researched the fact that they would need a Variance.  Mr. Dupuy stated they

did do this but in Morrisville where they previously lived the property line limit was 6’.

Mr. Mayrhofer stated it was incumbent on the resident to ascertain that the requirement

was 15’ and not 6’ and that anything less would require a Variance.

 

Mr. Kim asked if they are claiming a hardship because they currently have to rent storage

space costing them $260 a month to store recreational vehicles.  Mr. Dupuy stated they

also have to store personal belongings.  The boat and jet ski are stored in Maryland.  He

added that if they cannot have the garage on the side, they will build it to the rear where

they do have space.  They were trying to build it on the side as it would be less expensive

and they could maintain the view of the woods.  They do have sufficient impervious

surface to build the garage.  They are not building the garage to store a car.  He stated

they also propose to add two rooms to the top of the garage as they need additional space

when relatives visit. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated he did visit the area and noted that the property at 13 Hilltop does

have a similar situation.  Mr. Habgood stated a permit was issued for that property

approximately twenty-three years ago.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked if he has discussed the

proposal with his neighbors, and Mr. Dupuy stated they did discuss this with the

May 18, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 9

 

 

neighbors when they first moved in, and they had indicated this was fine.   He stated they

then did the drawings and called them again to review them with them, but the neighbors

did not contact them.  They have since seen it and have indicated they are now concerned

with the proposal and are opposed to it and are concerned that they will get water in their

basement.  Mr. Dupuy stated he did advise them that he was going to apply for a

Variance; and if it is denied, they will build it on the back. 

 

Mr. Majewski stated he did not realize that they are building on top of the garage when

he reviewed the plans.  He stated since they will be so close to the property line, he is

concerned that the drainage may impact the neighbors on that side and they would

recommend that any of the roof leaders from the addition if approved, be directed toward

the front of the yard and the rear and not toward the side of the house.  They would also

recommend that a temporary silt fence be installed along the property line during

construction to insure that run off does not go onto the neighbor’s property. 

Mr. Toadvine stated this would be under the requirements of the Building Permit. 

Mr. Majewski stated he is also concerned with having a two-story addition so close to the

property line.  Mr. Caiola asked how close the adjacent house is to the property line. 

Mr. Majewski stated he does not have a survey for the next house and would assume that

it would be a minimum of 15’.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked how far away 15 Hilltop is from

their property line, and Mr. Dupuy stated he would estimate it to be 15’ to 18’.  He stated

there are three large trees between the properties.  He noted at that location they would

only have dormers so privacy would be respected.  He would agree to divert water away

from his neighbor’s property. 

 

Mr. Dupuy showed pictures of the area.  He stated he is also willing to install a trench

and drain to diver the water to the front.  Mr. Toadvine stated they have presented six

photos of the space between the two homes on the side of the house where they are

proposing the garage.

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Township has no position with respect to this Application.

 

Mr. Caiola stated Mr. Dupuy has indicated that his primary hardship is financial since

they would be able to construct the addition to the rear without a Variance and has

indicated that it would be more expensive to build it on the rear.  He asked the difference

in cost, but Mr. Dupuy stated  he did not have an exact figure on this.  He stated they will

have to extend the roof line and have cinderblock work as well if they build to the rear. 

Mrs. Dupuy stated it is also an aesthetic issue.  She feels it would be better to continue

the roof line of the house and add on.  Mr. Kim stated if they add it to the side, they

would also have more rear yard space; and Mrs. Dupuy agreed noting they did not want

to lose their view of the woods.  She stated they also have a large picture window on the

rear which would be compromised.

 

 

May 18, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 9

 

 

Mr. Paul Pflaumer, 29 Lower Hilltop, stated he has lived in the neighborhood for thirty-

eight years and his hope was to have a one car addition to the side of his home as well. 

He was told several times that he would have to have a minimum side yard of 15’.  He

asked if they grant this Variance, could he apply for a Variance as well.  Mr. Mayrhofer

stated anyone can apply for a Variance, although there is no guarantee that it will be

approved. 

 

Mr. Richard Havrilla, 15 Hilltop, stated they would be directly impacted by this. 

He stated they have been in their home for ten years.  He stated he likes the neighborhood

the way it is.  He stated they plan to do work as well but they plan on doing everything

within the Ordinance as this makes a nice neighborhood.  He stated aesthetically for them

it would probably be nicer to come to the side, but it would not be better aesthetically for

him.  He stated he is concerned about water in his basement.  He has had water in the

basement previously in hurricane conditions.  Ms. Carol Havrilla stated after the

hurricane they needed improvements on the grading so that water would flow away from

their house.  They hope to keep the basement dry.   She stated they actively live in their

basement.  She stated they are also concerned if it is only a aesthetic reason as it is an

infringement on their rights as property owners.  She stated she would not be in favor of

any kind of Variance.  Other than during Hurricane Floyd, they have not had water in

their basement. They are 25’ from their property line.  Mr. Havrilla stated he feels them

should have bought a house where they did not need a Variance.  He does not feel them

should infringe on the property rights of the next-door neighbor.  Mr. Havrilla asked if

they are planning to increase the impervious surface, and Mr. Mayrhofer stated it will

increase the impervious surface, but they are not requesting a Variance to the impervious

surface requirements.  Mr. Havrilla stated he would prefer that they build to the rear. 

Mrs. Havrilla noted the large trees are on their property and the branches do extend into

the neighbor’s property.  She asked if they could cut the branches that are extending onto

their property, and Mr. Toadvine stated they would have to consult an attorney on this.

Mr. Havrilla stated he feels if this is granted, it will have a domino effect and this will

continue throughout the neighborhood.  Mrs. Havrilla stated they previous noted a

Variance for another property that was granted twenty-five years ago and those

individuals had eight children.

 

Mr. Kim moved  and Mr. Mayrhofer seconded to deny the Variance because there is an

alternative means to achieve their goal that would not affect the neighboring property. 

Motion did not carry as Mr. Kim and Mr. Mayrhofer voted in favor and Mr. Bamburak,

Mr. Caiola and Mr. Malinowski were opposed.

 

Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Malinowski seconded to approve the Variance.  Motion

carried with Mr. Bamburak, Mr. Caiola, and Mr. Malinowski in favor and Mr. Kim and

Mr. Mayrhofer opposed.

 

 

May 18, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 9

 

 

Several people in the audience asked to speak, and Mr. Toadvine noted the record is

closed.  He stated the Motion has been passed and anyone has the right to Appeal within

thirty days to the Court of Common Pleas in Doylestown.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1304 – KEN AND KAREN REBERT

 

Mr. and Mrs. Ken Rebert and their builder, Mr. Chuck Cooke, were sworn in.  The

Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  A document of five pages including the Plot

Plan were marked as Exhibit A-2.  The second Page is an As-Built Plan for Lot #215

approved 1/8/80. 

 

Mr. Rebert presented a photograph of the existing condition, and this was marked as

Exhibit A-3.  This shows the rear of the property.  Mr. Cooke noted the location of the

existing hot tub.  On the plot Plan which has been presented it shows the existing slab

where the hot tub is located.  This is a 16’ by 25’ slab, and they would like to put a roof

on this.  They will encroach on the rear setback by 11’.  The slab is currently in place.

Mr. Rebert stated they have owned the property for thirteen years and the slab was in

place when they purchased the property.   Mr. Koopman stated a slab would be permitted

in the rear yard.  Mr. Cooke stated they are not increasing the impervious surface since

the slab is in existence.  The structure will be a single-story and they will have 8’ walls

and the roof line would be 11’ to 12’ at its peak.  Mr. Cooke stated it will be used as a

three-season room.

 

Mr. Bamburak asked what is in the rear behind their property, and Mrs. Rebert stated

they are a corner lot.  She stated there is a house to the left.  Mr. Cooke stated there is a

house to the rear but he does not know how far away it is.  Mrs. Rebert stated their

driveway is against the Rebert rear property line. 

 

Mr. Kim asked for the hardship, and Mr. Rebert stated they would like more living space. 

Mr. Toadvine stated it is a corner lot and therefore the house is situated in a place where

the rear yard is not as large as the typical lot. 

 

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

 

Mr. Majewski stated they would ask that the drainage be addressed at the time of the

Building Permit. 

 

Mr. Sam Gitler, 1237 Madison, stated he is concerned about the aesthetics.  He asked if

the structure will be sided to match the house.  Mr. Cooke showed Mr. Gitler a picture of

the schematics which show that it will match the house.  Mr. Gitler stated in the back

yard before the driveway, there are some sheds already in existence, and he asked if they

will remain.  He also asked about the impervious surface.   Mr. Cooke stated they have

May 18, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 7 of 9

 

 

calculated the sheds into the existing impervious surface.  Mr. Toadvine stated they are

not requesting an impervious surface Variance and are currently within the limits of the

Ordinance. 

 

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

Variance as requested.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1305 – MICHAEL AND TAMMY BOUCHER

 

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Boucher were sworn in.  The Application was marked as Exhibit

A-1.  The drawing dated 11/5/04 was marked as Exhibit A-2.  Mr. Boucher stated the

property is located on the corner of Hidden Pond Drive and Stony Hill Road.  They are

seeking a Variance to Section 200-69(14)C regarding fences.  They would like to erect a

fence in the buffer easement on one side of their home and on the sewer easement on the

opposite side of the home.  The Site Plan submitted shows the proposed placement of the

fence and the material which will be used.   On the left hand side, which is the buffer

easement, they would like to extend the existing 6’ fence.  It is cedar tongue and groove

sandwich board.  They would like to extend this to the end of the property line and turn

with one panel.  They would continue for 92’ on the side of the property with a 4’ split

rail fence to include a row of upright yews for buffering purposes.  He stated on the right

hand side of the property there is a sewer easement, and they would like to mimic what

they are doing on the left hand side and extend the current fence along the back with a

solid fence and to the front of the driveway with a 4’ high split rail fence.  This would

match what they currently have. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer noted the four foot high fence and the yews and asked if this would

impede people being able to see coming out of Hidden Pond Drive.  Mr. Koopman stated

Mr. Majewski has looked into this, and it will not encroach into the sight distance.

Mr. Majewski stated it is approximately thirty feet off the road.

 

Mr. Boucher stated they are requesting this because they are adjacent to an arterial road

which has a great deal of traffic.  They also get a fair amount of cut-through foot traffic

as well as trash and litter onto their property.  They would also like to mitigate the noise

and enhance the look of their property.  They are also expecting a baby and would like

the fence for safety reasons.  He stated there is an adjacent property that has been under

construction/repair for over three years.  They have had continuing concern with

construction debris and the appearance of this property.  This is in the rear yard.  He

noted there are also unregistered, uninspected automobiles in that yard which they have

to look at.  There is also an unsecured open pit behind the fence which they feel is a

safety hazard which has been this way for over two years. 

 

 

May 18, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 8 of 9

 

 

Mr. Bamburak noted the vinyl mesh on the split rail fence, and Mr. Boucher stated it will

match the existing fence.  He stated they feel this will help with debris coming onto their

property. 

 

Mr. Malinowski asked if they would agree to remove and replace the fence at their own

expense if the Township had to come in and do work, and Mr. Boucher agreed. 

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

condition noted by Mr. Malinowski.

 

Mr. Tristram Heinz stated he is the owner of Lot #28 and objects to the characterization

of his property.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked that he address the issue at hand.  Mr. Heinz stated

he is concerned with the easement since his water and sewer come through that area as

well and if he has to repair anything, he would like this addressed.  Mr. Toadvine stated

those lines are dedicated to the Township.  Mr. Koopman stated the water line would be

owned by Pennsylvania American Water Company.  Mr. Koopman stated Mr. Heinz

would not have the right to go onto Mr. Boucher’s property.  Mr. Heinz asked if the

Township owns these easements as he is not sure if they have been dedicated. 

Mr. Majewski stated this development has not been dedicated.  Mr. Koopman stated the

Plans have been recorded.  He feels the easement is owned by the Township although the

line may  not have been dedicated yet.  Mr. Heinz stated he feels shrubs would be more in

keeping with the Township regulations and be more aesthetic.  Mr. Heinz asked about the

six foot high board fence and asked if this would impede on the sight distance from his

driveway.  Mr. Majewski stated they have looked at this, and due to the right-of-way

width for Stony Hill Road being so wide, the actual road is approximately thirty feet

away from the right-of-way line so there is sufficient sight distance in all directions.

Mr. Heinz stated he understands that Stony Hill Road is intended to be widened at some

point, and Mr. Majewski stated it would never be widened to such an extent that it would

be impacted.

 

Mr. Kim noted the buffer easement and asked if there is a way to install the fence without

infringing on the buffer easement, and Mr. Toadvine stated they would have to bring it

50’ back. 

 

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

approve the Variance with the Condition that if for any reason access is needed on or

through the easement by the Township or any other entity that has ownership or control

of the easement, the Applicant agrees to remove and replace the fence at their own cost

and expense.

 

 

 

 

 

May 18, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 9 of 9

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

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

the meeting of June 7, 2005 and have all business proposed for that meeting be continued

to June 21, 2005.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Malinowski moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        David Malinowski, Secretary