TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES MAY 3, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on May 3, 2005.  Vice Chairman Mayrhofer called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:  Rudolph Mayrhofer, Vice Chairman

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Greg Caiola, Alternate Member

                                                Darwin Dobson, Member

                                                Paul Kim, Alternate Member

                                               

Others:                                     Richard Habgood, Code Enforcement Office

                                                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

                                                David Malinowski, Zoning Hearing Board Secretary

 

 

APPEAL #05-1303 – BERNARD AND ALISA DUPUY

 

Mr. Mayrhofer announced that the Applicants have requested a continuance. 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Havrilla were present with regard to this Appeal.  Mr. Mayrhofer

stated this matter will be continued to Wednesday, May 18.  Mr. Havrilla asked what

would happen if he were not able to attend that meeting.  Mr. Toadvine stated they could

send a letter to the Zoning Hearing Board.  He noted the Board will entertain letters

although they do not carry the same weight as actual testimony.  Mrs. Havrilla asked if

they knew yesterday that it would be continued since she reviewed the file yesterday and

was not advised of this.  Mr. Toadvine stated the Board cannot act on a continuance until

the meeting.  Mrs. Havrilla asked if they will send another letter about the next meeting,

and it was noted they will not send out any further notice.

 

Later in the meeting, Mr. Mayrhofer moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was

unanimously carried to continue the matter at the request of the Applicants.  The matter

will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2005. 

 

 

 

May 3, 2005                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 2 of 6

 

 

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

 

 

Exhibit A-1 was marked which is the Application.  Exhibit A-2 was marked which is the

drawing/grading plan prepared by Mid-State Engineering dated 10/18/04, last revised

3/23/05. 

 

Mr. David Bane, attorney, was present representing Mr. and Mrs. Rana who were sworn

in.  Mr. Rana stated before they purchased the home they discussed with the Realtor who

checked with the Township on the specifics for installing a pool.  Mr. Koopman objected

as this is third party testimony from the Realtor who is not present today.  Objection was

sustained.  Mr. Bane stated they did notice that there were other houses in the

neighborhood which had pools, and they did not feel this would be an issue they had to

worry about. 

 

Mrs. Rana stated they would like to install a pool because they have three children who

are swimmers, one of whom will be representing the USA in Australia in the Good Will

Games.  They also wanted to have their children grow up in the back yard where they

could see them and spend time with them.  When they visited the neighborhood they

noticed a number of the homes did have in-ground pools similar to what they are

requesting to be able to build.  They hired a contractor to install the pool and they then

applied for the permit and realized that there were some technicalities that did not fit in

with the building of the pool, particularly with respect to the amount of impervious

surface.  She stated this was not previously made clear to them.

 

Mr. Rana stated the 18% impervious surface rule came into effect in 1984 and the homes

in this area were built in 1979.  He stated it was already over 18% when it was built.

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Township would like to be a party to the proceeding.  He stated

the Township Board of Supervisors is aware of some of the concerns of the Applicant

since they were addressed in the Application.  He stated 18% impervious surface is

permitted and the property is already at 25%.  They are requesting to go to over 28.5%. 

The Board of Supervisors is opposed to any increase to the impervious surface.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked if this house was built prior to the impervious surface requirements,

and Mr. Koopman stated the Township has had impervious surface requirements prior to

the time this house was built.  Mr. Habgood stated for this Zoning District, the

development as a whole was considered, and they did not take it for each individual lot. 

This did not start that until 1987.  When the home was built, it was based on 15%

impervious surface for the entire development.  There was nothing required on an

individual basis as he understands it. 

 

 

May 3, 2005                                                               Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 6

 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked for the history of permits for this property.  Mr. Habgood stated

there is a permit for an addition for a sunroom on the right rear of the home which was

issued on 9/3/86.  There is no permit for the brick patio or walkway in the rear. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if there were requirements for impervious surface calculations when

the permit for the sunroom was issued, and Mr. Habgood stated there was not.

 

Mr. Koopman asked if there is any information in the files about when the patio and

walkway were installed, and Mr. Habgood stated there is not.  Mr. Rana stated they were

there when they purchased the house. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked if there is a plot plan for this house, and Mr. Habgood stated they

do have this.  The sunroom addition was added after this time as well as a brick patio and

rear walkway.  Exhibit A-2 was noted, and Mr. Toadvine stated it appears that the only

items on that Plan that were not part of the original As-Built were the sunroom addition,

brick patio, and walkway to the rear.  The original As-Built did not show the front walk

either but it did show the driveway. 

 

Mr. Majewski was sworn in and it was noted he is the Township engineer.  The letter

from Mr. Wagner to Mr. Habgood dated 5/2/05 was noted.  A copy of this was provided

to the Applicant this evening.  This document was marked as Exhibit T-1.  Mr. Koopman

stated this notes the additional impervious surface request which is consistent with the

Application.  Mr. Majewski stated it also notes their concern that since the Pool will be

approximately ten feet from the property line, there will not be sufficient room to create a

swale between the proposed coping on that side of the pool and the property line without

impacting the neighbors.  Mr. Majewski stated based on the grading shown on the Plot

Plan, it shows that the water will go to the side of the pool north of the house and onto

their neighbor’s property.  Mr. Koopman stated he has indicated that here is not sufficient

room to create a swale to mitigate this situation.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked the width of the coping, and Mr. Majewski stated it scales to four

feet.  This would result in only six feet to the property line.  At the eastern corner of the

pool, there is a 2 ½’ to 3’ drop off.  Mr. Koopman stated the walkway around the pool is

4’ all the way around.  There is also a wider area on the south side. 

 

Mr. Kim asked if they moved the pool, how much would they need to provide sufficient

grading.  Mr. Majewski stated they could adjust it to the south.  Mr. Koopman stated

there is a requirement that the pool must be ten feet from any structure.  In order to do

this, they would have to move the pool back further away from the house as well and

down toward the south to make extra room between the pool and the property line.

Mr. Toadvine asked what would be the sufficient distance from the northern property line

in order to eliminate this issue.  Mr. Majewski stated they would need approximately

another ten feet.  Mr. Toadvine stated it appears that if it were twenty feet from the

May 3, 2005                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 6

 

 

northern property line, the issue with the swale would be eliminated, and Mr. Majewski

stated this is correct.  Mr. Koopman noted this does not address the impervious surface

issue.  Mr. Koopman stated they are proposing to go from 25.4% to 28.8% impervious

surface.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Bane if the Applicants would be willing to agree to a Condition

that the pool not be located any closer than 20’ from the northern property line.  Mr. and

Mrs. Rana agreed to this Condition.   Mr. Bane asked how all the other pools were

approved.  Mr. Koopman stated without looking at the files, they do not know if they had

the same size house, same size driveways, etc.  Mr. Toadvine stated this is a very large

pool compared to what else may be in the neighborhood.  Mr. Mayrhofer asked if they

would consider reducing the size of the pool noting that 20’ by 40’ is quite large.

Mr. Rona stated he is not sure.  He stated if they looked at his property, they would see

that all the drainage ends up on his property.  He noted the drainage easement on the

property.  He stated all the other homes’ water ends up on his property.  Mr. Majewski

stated it does go onto the neighbor’s property before it comes back onto this property. 

Mr. Toadvine stated Mr. and Mrs. Rana have indicated already that they do not have a

problem with moving the pool.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer stated the other issue is impervious surface.  They are requesting an

additional 580 square feet which is over 3%.  The Zoning Hearing Board would like to

see them eliminate some existing impervious surface to mitigate what they are proposing

to do.  He asked if they would like to look into this further and then come back to the

Board, and Mr. Rana agreed.  Mr. Toadvine stated if the walkways around the pool is

reduced to three feet, this would also eliminate some impervious surface.  Mr. Koopman

stated if they have questions about what is impervious and what is not, they can talk to

Mr. Habgood about this.  Mr. Kim asked the size of the brick patio, and Mr. Rana stated

he feels it is about 332 square feet with the walk. 

 

Mr. Bane stated they appreciate the Board’s direction and would like more time to

resubmit this and scale it back somewhat and come in at the next meeting with a revised

Plan.

 

Mr. Roger VanZant, 529 Viscount, stated their rear yard abuts the rear yard of the Ranas.

He stated his is the property onto which the drainage water runs.    He stated he strongly

objects to the Pool.  He stated his yard is at the bottom of the slope which starts at

American Drive and continues to his property.  He does have pictures of the rear yard

showing the ground going upwards toward the Rana Property.  These pictures were

shown to the Board.  Mr. VanZant noted the location of his property on Exhibit A-2. 

Mr. Toadvine stated Mr. VanZant has shown that his property abuts the rear property line

of the Rana property.  He is due east of the Rana property.  Mr. VanZant stated he also

has a letter from a neighbor who was unable to attend this evening who also objects to the

Pool.  This was provided to the Board.  Mr. VanZant stated a tree line does separate the

May 3, 2005                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 6

 

 

two properties.  Mr. Kim asked Mr. VanZant if he has any current water problems, and

Mr. VanZant stated during a heavy rainstorm, the water cascades down the slope.  They

do have a swale that collects most of the water, but they still get some water in the

basement.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer read into the record the letter provided from Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Lester,

521 Viscount Road.  It states:  “We are writing this letter as we will be out of town for

the Zoning Board meeting concerning an Appeal by the homeowners at 530 American

Way and we do have some major concerns regarding the pool.  We were told that this

letter would act as representation of our view on the matter.  It would seem unlikely that

we would complain since we have a pool; however, as far back as our installation, there

was a question of pervious versus impervious due to the amount of water that collects in

our back yard and the surrounding area.  We were allowed to use only pervious materials

- no concrete at all.  Our house is downhill from this property and during rain storms we

have a run off problem from American Drive that we have been dealing with over the

past few years.  This problem has increased over the years; therefore, we are extremely

concerned about the installation of a pool.  We are afraid that this addition will only

intensify an already existing problem which we finally have under control.  We are not

trying to be unfriendly; however, this poses a significant problem for all of us who live

downhill from this property.  Therefore, please consider this letter a strong objection to

the construction of a pool at said property.”  This letter was marked as Exhibit O-1.  A

copy  was provided to the Applicant’s this evening.

 

Mr. Mayrhofer asked that Mr. and Mrs. Rana look at the impervious surface, the location

of the pool, and any drainage issues. 

 

Mr. Rana stated the drainage swale is existing.  Mr. Mayrhofer stated possibly the

Township can provide a larger Plan so they have a better understanding of the entire area.

Mr. Kim stated even though the swale is there, they are adding additional impervious

surface.  Mr. Rana stated he does not know how they could re-engineer the swale.

Mr. Toadvine stated they are not asking them to do this.  Mr. Mayrhofer stated they are

asking them to try to cut back on the impervious surface so that it will cut back on the

water.  Mr. Caiola stated they would like to see them try to minimize the impact on the

neighbors.

 

Mr. VanZant stated the reason they purchased this home was because of the tranquility of

the neighborhood and a pool of any size will disrupt this.  He stated the Township has a

Community Pool which is within walking distance from this property. 

 

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

continue the Appeal to Wednesday, May 18, 2005.

 

 

May 3, 2005                                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 6

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Appeal #04-1285 – Gregory/Robin Frank – Request for Extension

 

Mr. Toadvine stated Mr. and Mrs. Frank have written a letter requesting an extension for the Variance which was granted 11/3/04. 

 

Mr. Mayrhofer moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to grant a six month extension.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Mayrhofer moved, Mr. Kim seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:51 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        Rudolph Mayrhofer, Vice Chairman