TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – NOVEMBER 15, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on November 15, 2005.  Chairman Kirk called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.   She stated the Board adjourns at 11:00 p.m. and those Applicants not heard by that time will be given the opportunity to continue the matter.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:              Barbara Kirk, Chairman          

                                                David Malinowski, Member

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Dobby Dobson, Member

                                                Paul Kim, Alternate Member

 

Others:                                     Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                Drew Wagner, Township Engineer

                                                Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

 

Absent:                         Rudolph Mayrhofer, Zoning Hearing Board Vice Chairman

                                                Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

APPEAL #05-1339 – HALLEY AND DEBORAH GOULD

 

Ms. Halley Gould, Ms. Deborah Gould, and Mr. Frank Gould were sworn in.

 

Ms. Kirk stated the Application submitted will be marked as Exhibit A-1.  Included with

that Application was a four-page document photo copied from the County Tax Map for

the parcel with two blow-ups of the parcel and a hand-drawn layout of the property in

question.  This was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Ms. Deborah Gould stated they have four acres on their property on Oxford Valley Road

and they would like to have their horses on their property.

 

Ms. Halley Gould stated they have four horses and she would like to have an accessory

building which would be built on the property.  It would be higher than 15’ so that they

can store the hay at that location. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked Ms. Halley’s Gould her age, and she stated she is fifteen.  Mr. Toadvine

stated she can testify. 

 

 

November 15, 2005                                                     Zoning Hearing Board - page 2 of 16

 

 

Ms. Halley Gould stated they would also like to have a fence in the front yard higher than

3’ as her horse can jump higher than 3’.  They would like the fence to be at least 5’ high

and if this is not permitted, then at least 4’ high.

 

Ms. Kirk asked where the horses are presently, and Ms. Halley Gould stated her show

horse is at George School where they have a small equestrian center and her other horses

are at a friend’s farm in Pennington.  Ms. Kirk asked if there is only a house on the

property, and Ms. Halley stated there is a house and a detached garage.  They are

proposing to construct an accessory building of between 15’ and 25’ which will be

similar to a barn.  Ms. Kirk asked if she intends to ride/exercise the horses on the

property, and Ms. Gould stated she would like to use the property to ride and exercise the

horses.  Ms. Kirk asked if they propose to set up a corral for the horses, and Ms. Halley

stated she will. 

 

Ms. Deborah Gould presented additional pictures of the property which is adjacent to

Manor Care Nursing Home.  Adjacent to the subject property is another property which

they own on which there is a carriage house.  There is another neighbor to the rear of her

property and they have three acres.  She stated there are not a lot of people who will be

able to see or be affected by the horses.  The photographs which were submitted this

evening were marked as Exhibit A-3 consisting of three pages of color photographs.

 

Mr. Wagner asked if there will be a fence for the paddock, and Ms. Halley Gould stated

there will.  She stated the main pasture would be in the back in the woods.  She stated

they are asking for a fence in the front yard which is closer to the road than permitted

because of the special setback and this would be used for a grass field.  Mr. Wagner

stated there is a stream located in the northeast part of the property and he asked if the

fence would be near the stream.  Ms. Gould stated it would be far enough away from it so

that if there is any eroding, it would not harm the fence or the horses.  Mr. Wagner noted

with the stream there is a floodplain; and if the fence were to go into the floodplain, it

would require another Variance.  Mr. Toadvine stated they are not asking for this relief.

 

Ms. Kirk asked the location of the proposed barn, and Mr. Toadvine noted it is shown

behind the garage on the drawing submitted.  Ms. Deborah Gould stated the barn would

be 150’ back from the road and 100’ away from the parcel adjacent to theirs. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they have any idea how high the barn would be, and Ms. Halley Gould

stated they would like it to be 18’ high. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked where they are proposing the location of the fence in the front yard

relative to the road.   Ms. Deborah Gould stated there are rear yard fences currently on

Oxford Valley Road which are about 10’ from the road.  Currently on their property there

 

 

November 15, 2005                                                    Zoning Hearing Board – page 3 of 16

 

 

is a hedgerow and this would be taken down and the 5’ fence installed.  The fence would

be parallel to Oxford Valley Road and offset from the curb by approximately 10’ and run

the entire length of the property.  Mr. Toadvine noted the drawing is not drawn to scale,

but it appears that the majority of the property is to the side and rear of the house. He

stated if they were to fence from the front edge of the house, how much acreage would

this give them.  Ms. Deborah Gould stated they currently have 2 ½ acres of grass and the

rest is woodlands.  She stated the stream comes in behind the house at two locations and

becomes one behind the house.    Ms. Kirk asked if most of the rear of the house is

woodlands, and Ms. Deborah Gould agreed.  She noted certain paddocks need to be

created.  She stated they need a paddock where the barn is constructed and there should

be a pasture in reserve.  They need to be fenced as well.  She stated the horses will be fed

with hay and not grass.  This is why they need the height in the barn to store the hay.  The

front of the yard will be used for occasional recreational purposes because they do not

want them there all the time as they could tear up the turf.  They would not be living in

the front yard. 

 

Mr. Frank Gould stated they need the fence as a safety factor for children and because of

the traffic on the road.

 

Ms. Kirk asked the type of fence they are considering, and Ms. Deborah Gould stated

they would have to four rails so that the horses are contained n the property and will keep

people out.  She stated they cannot do split rail fence and would need a PVC fence. 

 

Ms. Halley Gould stated it would be similar to a split rail fence but it would be more post

and board.  There will be no wire mesh between the rails. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated in reviewing the plot plan, it appears that no matter where a fence is

erected, there will be an issue of crossing the floodplain unless the Applicant is willing to

break the fence.  Ms. Deborah Gould stated they can break the fence at the part closest to

the house, but they did want to take it all the way across. 

 

Mr. Kim asked the main incentive for having the horses at their home.  Ms. Deborah

Gould stated some of it is expense.  She stated her daughter is a competitive rider and it

would also make it more convenient to have the horses on their property. 

 

Mr. Bamburak asked that they sketch the location of the fence on the drawing as well as

the location of the stream, and Ms. Deborah Gould drew this on the Plan.  She stated the

fence in the back would be 2 by 6 with mesh.  This would also have to be 5’ high. 

This drawing was marked as Exhibit A-4.  Ms. Kirk stated the Applicant has drawn the

proposed fencing along the property with full fencing across the frontage along Oxford

Valley Road and various fencing toward the rear of the property and along the stream

areas, but not crossing into the stream.  Mr. Toadvine stated the areas of the fencing is

delineated by dashed lines on Exhibit A-4.  He added that the area of the stream is

November 15, 2005                                                    Zoning Hearing Board – page 4 of 16

 

 

wetlands and based on the existing vegetation, there could be a 50’ buffer requirement on

either side.  He stated if they intend to either cross or come within 50’ of the limits of the

wetlands, they will need additional Variances.  He asked if they have had the property

delineated by a soil scientist , and Ms. Gould stated they  have not had this portion of

their property so delineated.  Mr. Toadvine stated he would recommend that before they

proceed any further, they should have the property surveyed to determine the limits of the

wetlands and what buffering they feel is required depending on the vegetation.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the Board were to consider the request at this point, they would have to

come back if the property fence falls within the wetlands or the buffer area.  She would

be in favor of a request to continue the matter in order to have a soil specialist survey the

property and delineate a Plan as to where the buffers are and put on that Plan the exact

location of the proposed fencing would  help the Zoning Hearing Board in rendering their

decision.

 

Mr. Bamburak stated he would also like to see a copy of the manufacturer's data sheet for

the fencing.  Ms. Deborah Gould stated they do have this. 

 

There was no public comment.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if they have had conversations with their neighbors, and

Ms. Deborah Gould stated their most immediate neighbors are her parents who live on

the two acre parcel.  The neighbor to the west has not expressed any concerns.  The

people immediately across the street have indicated that they have no problem with the

proposal.  She stated they have not discussed the proposal with Manor Care but she

understands they did get notice from the Township.  She noted the Manor Care property

 

is significantly higher.  She stated when the Manor Care property was built, she insisted

that they put a fence along the back and privacy screening so they cannot see each other.

 

Ms. Kirk asked how long they feel they would need to get the soils tested and a Plan

delineated.  Ms. Deborah Gould stated she could contact DelVal as they have worked

with them previously.  She stated she would like the matter to be continued in the

beginning of January.

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried to continue the

matter to 1/3/06 with the understanding that the Applicant will have the area surveyed by

a soils specialist with a specific Plan provided to delineate any wetlands and wetland

buffers and to provide a more concise Plan as to where the proposed fencing is actually to

be constructed on the property.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated it would be helpful to provide this to the Township prior to the

meeting so that it can be distributed in the packets to the Board prior to the meeting.

November 15, 2005                                                    Zoning Hearing Board – page 5 of 16

 

 

APPEAL #05-1340 – WILLIAM AND CARLOTTA MONACH, SR.

 

Mr. William Monach was sworn in.  Ms. Kirk marked as Exhibit A-1 the Application

which was submitted.  Included with the Application was a pool lay out and grading plan

dated 3/31/04 with the last revision dated of 9/20/05. This was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Mr. Monach stated he is present as he has replaced an in-ground swimming pool which

has been on the property since 1980.  The pool was protected by a special cover that was

a safety cover.  At this time, due to the impervious surface issue it was presented to

Anthony & Sylvan Pools that they would also put a safety cover on.  They negotiated this

and it was part of the contract; however, when they were faced with the less than

adequate decking around the pool, they indicated that they would not be able to put the

safety cover on and he would have to go to an alternative method which was a less safe

application. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated according to Exhibit A-2 it appears that the existing impervious

surface on the site currently is 44.5%.  He stated while this is what is was, he is proposing

to decrease this to 31.25%.  Mr. Toadvine stated this will result in a net decrease of

approximately 13%.  Mr. Toadvine added that the maximum permitted impervious

surface is 29% so he will be 2.27% over what is permitted but well under where they are

currently, and Mr. Monach agreed.   Mr. Dobson stated it appears they are removing

some existing impervious surface, and Mr. Monach stated they will remove the shed, five

feet of the driveway, and some crushed stone area that is being removed as a way to come

closer to compliance with the impervious surface requirements.  Ms. Kirk asked if the

concrete deck around the pool will be smaller than it was, and Mr. Monach agreed it will

be much smaller.  

 

Mr. Wagner stated he agrees with the existing and proposed calculations.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the pool has already been installed, and Mr. Monach stated it has.

Mr. Monach submitted a photograph of the cover he wishes to have installed as well as

the alternative which he feels would be very unsafe. 

 

Ms. Lisa Pellegrino, 294 Cinnabar Lane, stated the northeast corner of her property is

adjacent to this property.  She stated after they purchased their home in February of 1993

they discovered that the back of their property was flooding whenever it rained, and they

saw a gulley under the fence and the water was coming from the adjacent property at 261

Crystal.  She discussed this problem with the Township and the staff pulled the records

for 261 Crystal and the property at 296 Cinnabar as both of those properties had done

extensive work in their rear yards.  She stated the records indicated that the paperwork

had been filled out and approved including topographic maps.  She was advised that the

grading plans outlined were okay and they should not be getting any flooding.  She was

told that the homeowners had done what they had been required to do and that possibly

November 15, 2005                                                    Zoning Hearing Board – page 6 of 16

 

 

the soils had settled or eroded in a way that had not been anticipated.  She was advised

that the problem was hers.  Ms. Pellegrino stated they advised that she could file an

official complaint against their neighbors but they decided not to do this and seek other

alternatives first.  She stated she had subsequent discussions with the Township engineer

who recommended that they plant trees or shrubs along the rear property line so that they

could absorb the excess water which they did although this did result in the loss of being

able to use several hundred feet of their rear yard.  She stated when she first saw that the

neighbors were taking out the old pool and installing a new one, they were hopeful that

re-grading of the property would alleviate the run-off problems and they could reclaim

the use of the back portion of their yard.  She stated they then received a letter from the

Zoning Hearing Board indicating that they were going to increase the impervious surface

beyond what is permitted and they are therefore concerned.

 

Ms. Kirk stated the property was at 44.5% before the Pool was replaced.  With the new

pool installed and some additional impervious surface being removed, the impervious

surface will decrease to 31.27% which is a 13% reduction of what had been covered at

the property.  She added the reason that they had to come before the Zoning Hearing

Board was because under the Code, even with the removal of some impervious surface,

he is still above what is permitted.  Ms. Kirk asked if Ms. Pellegrino has noticed any

difference in the water run off since the pool has been replaced.  Ms. Pellegrino stated

they have not, but final grading has not taken place.  She is concerned that two to three

years from now, the same erosion or settling problem will take place.  Mr. Toadvine

stated this Board does not approve the Plans and the Plans will be reviewed by the

Township engineer with regard to the grading.  The Zoning Hearing Board is being asked

to grant a Variance in connection with the impervious surface coverage.  He stated it will

not be an increase in the impervious surface, and in fact will be a substantial decrease and

approximately 30% of the impervious surface will be removed according to the Plan and

there should therefore be fewer run-offs.  He stated if there is a grading problem the

Zoning Hearing Board cannot address this.  

 

Mr. Monach stated his property, from a grading standpoint, is lower than the neighbor

behind him.  He stated he also gets the run off Ms. Pellegrino is getting when his

neighbor backwashes his pool.    He stated his home was dug 1’ deeper in the ground

than it was supposed to be.  He stated he has an 8’ ceiling in his basement because they

dug it lower.  He stated his property was also not graded well and his run-off is not very

good.  Mr. Monach stated he also intends to grade the entire area. 

 

Ms. Kirk recommended that he and Ms. Pellegrino talk about the issue to see if they can

come up with a mutually agreeable solution to help improve the problem.

 

 

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

the Variance to Section 200-27B to allow impervious surface of 31.27%.

November 15, 2005                                                    Zoning Hearing Board – page 7 of 16

 

 

 

APPEAL #05-1341 - IVAN J. PUNCHATZ

 

Mr. Ivan Punchatz, Ms. Rochelle Punchatz, and Mr. Karl Perella, contractor, were sworn

in.  Ms. Kirk stated the Application that was submitted will be marked as Exhibit A-1.

Included in the packet was an 8 1/2” by 11” Plan for the property which has existing

impervious surface calculations included and this was marked as Exhibit A-2. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated it appears that this is an Application which results in a net decrease

in impervious surface.  Ms. Kirk asked Mr. Wagner if the Township engineer’s office

agrees with the calculations submitted, and Mr. Wagner stated they do.

 

Mr. Punchatz stated they would like to add a bump-out on their kitchen.  They would like

to put the addition next to the deck which would result in an addition of 98.17 square

feet.  He included in the Application that this would be a .7% increase, and he now

realizes that it would be a .56% increase.  Alternatively, he included an alternative plan

that if an addition would not be acceptable, they would take off as much as the Board

required of the patio which would add additional cost to the project of at least $5,000 so

he would prefer to install the addition of 98.17 square feet as shown.  He stated the

property slopes and there is only one neighbor between himself and the catch basin.  He

did discuss this project with the neighbor who indicated he had no objection. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated the impervious surface calculations that were provided on the Plan with

the Application show a removal of a patio of 180 square feet, and they are now asking

that this not have to occur.  Mr. Punchatz stated when the architect did the calculations,

they did it as if they had taken this out.  His Application was to add on, but as alternative

if the Board required it, they would agree to take out the patio at an additional cost. 

Ms. Kirk asked if the concrete patio as shown on Exhibit A-2 has a wooden deck over it,

and Mr. Punchatz stated this is correct. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Wagner if Section B applies since the property was built prior to

1987, and Mr. Wagner agreed.  The maximum impervious surface permitted is 18%. 

Mr. Toadvine asked how they got to the existing 24%.  Mr. Habgood stated they only

have records for the home and the fence.  There was no record of the patio or the wood

deck and no record of permits being issued for these two items.  Mr. Punchatz stated

these were on when they purchased the property.  He stated it appears that the patio was

original.   He stated they purchased the home in 1990 and they felt the deck was probably

three to four years old at that time.

 

 

 

 

 

November 15, 2005                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 8 of 16

 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the proposed addition is a one-story addition, and Mr. Punchatz agreed.

There was no public comment.

 

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

approve the Variance to Section 200-23B to allow impervious surface ratio of 25.29%.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1342 – STEPHEN G. AND BONNIE L. MYERS

 

Mr. Stephen Myers, Ms. Bonnie Myers, and Mr. Paul Lenher, Pennoni, were sworn in. 

Ms. Kirk marked the Application that was submitted as Exhibit A-1.  Also submitted with

the Application was a Plan prepared by Pennoni dated 8/15/05 which was marked as

Exhibit A-2.  Included with the Application was a separate letter submitted by Mr. and

Mrs. Meyers dated 9/27/05 as additional information as to why the Application is before

the Board, and this was marked as Exhibit A-3. 

 

Mr. Myers stated they live in the floodplain between the Delaware Canal and the River. 

He stated they had flooding last September which did some damage and flooding in April

which did significant damage which resulted in more than 50% of the cost of the

construction.  They wish to elevate the house approximately 6 ½ feet to be out of harm’s

way. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if they will be doing concrete blocking, and Mr. Lenher stated the walls

will be built according to FEMA requirements which are reinforced concrete block walls

with flood vents installed which allow equalization of the floodwaters on the inside and

outside of the home.  The area underneath the home which is a crawl space now will be

filled with stone and a concrete slab so everything will be above grade.

 

Ms. Kirk asked how the exterior will look, and Mr. Lenher stated they will install

planting to hide the walls.  There will also be a high landing to get into the house. 

Ms. Kirk asked about the stairway for the entrance to the house, and Mr. Lenher stated it

will be broken into landings and they try not to exceed twelve to thirteen steps.

 

Ms. Kirk stated they requested a Variance to Section 200-22, and Mr. Habgood stated

this is for encroachment into the side yard setback.  Mr. Toadvine stated the setbacks are

the same as the existing structure, and Mr. Lenher agreed.  Mr. Lenher stated there is an

existing shed which houses the heating system for the house and this will be

reconstructed the same size and elevated as this is a FEMA requirement.  It will be at the

same setback as it is currently.  

 

 

 

 

November 15, 2005                                                    Zoning Hearing Board – page 9 of 16

 

Ms. Kirk asked about the deck attached to the house, and Mr. Lenher stated a deck is

proposed to be added to the house at the back.  There is a deck that goes to the side with a

door that goes into the heating room which is elevated and this will not extend any further

than does the current shed. 

 

Mr. Bamburak noted two other accessory buildings on the property and Mr. Lenher stated

they will not be raised. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked how high the building will be once it is elevated, and Mr. Habgood stated

it appears it will be 27’ to 28’ above grade and does not exceed the permitted building

height under Section 200-22.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if they are only raising the existing home, and Mr. Lenher stated they

are raising the existing home and the deck on the back is being added.  The deck in the

front allow access to the house. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked how long Mr. and Mrs. Myers have been living at the property, and

Mr. Myers stated they have lived there since 1988.

 

There was no public comment.

 

Mr. Bamburak moved, Mr. Kim seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the

Variances as requested.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1343 – JANE M. YEUROUKIS

 

Ms. Jane M. Yeuroukis was sworn in.  Also present was Don Marshall, attorney.

 

Mr. Marshall stated the Application is for the property at 651 River Road which is a

1.18 acre parcel in the R-RP Zone comprised of three tax parcels.  He stated

Tax Parcel #20-47-115 contains the Applicant’s home and outbuildings, Tax Parcel

#20-47-114-46 is a wooded vacant lot next door, and Tax Parcel #20-47-123 is the River

frontage lot on the far side of River Road. 

 

Exhibit A-1 was marked which is the Plot Plan that was submitted as part of the

Application.  This Plan is dated 3/10/04.  Exhibit A-2 is a copy of the last Deed of

Record.  Exhibit A-3 was marked which is the Application for Building Permit which is

the subject of the Application.  Exhibit A-4 was marked which is the Building Permit

Rejection and the basis for the rejection.  The date of the rejection was 4/7/04. 

 

Mr. Marshall reviewed what is currently on the property.  He stated the property is served

by public sewer but has well water. Ms. Yeuroukis stated they do have public water but it

is not connected to the main house. 

November 15, 2005                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 10 of 16

 

 

Mr. Marshall noted Exhibit A-1 which shows the 100 year flood plain.  He stated the

elevation in this area for the 100 year floodplain is 31.1’ and this property is outside of

the floodplain. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated they currently have board fencing in the front of the property and the

photos submitted show this fence.  It is a 4’ tall fence and they are asking permission to

replace that fence and continue it across what is the frontage of the vacant lot next door

and into the lot to where it currently exists.  He stated the fencing on the property on the

property currently is board fencing across the lot that contains the improvements and also

runs all the way up Richard Road.  He stated it is split rail fence currently across the

frontage of the vacant lot.  It then turns the corner in the westerly direction to the second

“X” on the plans as split rail fence and is then board fence to the rear.  He stated the

Applicant received Permits to put the board fence up because that would be behind the

front yard requirement.  The Ordinance permits 3’ fences in the front yard.  They are

seeking permission to allow her to replace the fence as depicted on the photographs with

the same fence and continue to run it to where it meets that same fence on her vacant lot

next door.

 

Ms. Kirk stated based on Exhibit A-4 which is the rejection letter, it appears the board

fence is 6’ high. Ms. Yeuroukis stated this was an error as she does not want a 6’ high

fence in the front or she would not be able to see the River.  She stated it is 6’ high on

each side of the property and across the back. The only place she would like it to be 4’

high is across the front.  Mr. Marshall stated the 6’ high fence that exists along the side

yard – the one on the easterly side against Tax Parcel #20-53-46-2 is a legal fence

because this is a side yard.  However, the Zoning Officer was pointing out in the letter

that Richard Road is also considered a front yard so the 6’ high fence that currently exists

along Richard Road has been added to the Application asking that it be allowed to remain

and seeking a Variance for it.  He stated on the true front yard which is River Road; they

would like a 4’ high fence which is a 1’ Variance over what is allowed.  He stated the 6’

fence steps down to 4’ at both sight distances on the corners of Richard and River Roads

and at the corner of the neighbor’s property because her driveway is in that location.  The

board fence along River Road is currently 4’ high.  Ms. Kirk asked who installed that

fencing, and Ms. Yeuroukis stated she and her husband installed it approximately fifteen

years ago.

 

Mr. Bamburak asked the reason they are requesting a 4’ high fence rather than the 3’

which would be permitted, and Ms. Yeuroukis stated she has a large dog and the 4’ will

permit her to only see the tops of cars going by. 

 

Ms. Kirk stated the Application states that the property was acquired April 1 of 2002, and

Mr. Marshall stated this was a transfer of her husband’s estate to Ms. Yeuroukis. 

Mr. Marshall stated this is a corner lot with two road frontages.  He stated River Road is a

heavily traveled road and a solid fence would provide a noise barrier and keep the pets in. 

November 15, 2005                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 11 of 16

 

 

He stated they do not believe the fences as proposed would alter the character of the

neighborhood, and this is the minimum Variance necessary to afford relief.

 

Mr. Marshall asked to put into the record a letter which was marked as Exhibit A-6 which

is a letter from a neighbor that she does not oppose the Application.  He also asked

Ms. Yeuroukis if she had a discussion with Mrs. Fabian, her immediate neighbor who is

most affected by this fence about the installation; and Ms. Yeuroukis stated she did and

she had no objection.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated the portion of the fence for which they are seeking relief is the

portion which parallels River Road and the portion that is perpendicular to River Road of

approximately twenty to thirty feet.   Mr. Toadvine asked if they are also seeking relief

for the portion of the fence along the entire length of Richard Road, and Mr. Marshall

stated this portion exists and is referred to in Ms. Frick’s letter for which there does not

appear to be any permits in the file, and this is why they have asked that the Board ratify

the existing fence.  This portion will not be replaced.  It is 6’ high and steps down at the

corner for sight line purposes. 

 

Mr. Toadvine stated the Township engineer has indicated that there is a problem with the

sight triangle and the fence at the intersection of River Road and Richard Road.  He

stated if the Zoning Hearing Board is so inclined, this issue would need to be addressed.

Mr. Wagner stated under Section 200-60A, a 25’ clear sight triangle is required at this

intersection and at the current location they are encroaching into this by about 5’. 

Mr. Marshall asked if they took the fence corner at Richard and River Roads and angled

it to pick up the 5’, would this resolve the problem, and Mr. Wagner agreed. 

Ms. Yeuroukis stated she has lived there eighteen years and there has never been an

accident on that corner caused by this condition.  Mr. Marshall stated he feels the

appropriate condition would be to satisfy the Township engineer as to the clear sight

triangle and they would be willing to do so. 

 

The Application was marked as Exhibit A-7.

 

There was no public comment.

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried that the

Application as presented be granted subject to the Condition that the Applicant construct

the fence at the corner of Richard and River Roads in such manner to provide the clear

sight distance of 25’ as required.

 

 

 

 

 

November 15, 2005                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 12 of 16

 

 

APPEAL #05-1345 – PATRICK M. AND KIM ANNE BRENNAN

 

Mr. Marshall stated this is his case, and the Applicants are not present.  He stated he has

been advised this evening that there is a second Application which has been filed which

is scheduled to be heard on December 6. Ms. Kirk stated based on paperwork provided to

her it appears that another Appeal was filed for the same property but a different issue

although she understands they are somewhat related.  Mr. Marshall stated that because he

is not sure how the forty-five days are running, he would suggest that they open this

Hearing and then continue it to December 6.  Ms. Kirk suggested that rather than opening

a Hearing with not Applicants present, based on the paperwork that has been submitted

that the Appeal was filed October 14, 2005 and the next Hearing is December 6, 2005

and it would therefore meet the requirements under the MPC. 

 

There was no one present regarding this Application.

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried that based on

the information provided by Mr. Marshall that the matter be continued to 12/6/05 to be

heard at the same time as the additional Appeal field by these Applicants.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1344 – SALLY FINEBURG

 

Ms. Sally Fineburg was sworn in.  The Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.

Attached to the Application was a flood map of the subject property which was marked

as Exhibit A-2.  Also submitted was a one-sheet Plan of the property dated 6/28/05 which

was marked as Exhibit A-3.

 

Ms. Fineburg stated she is a life-long resident of Lower Makefield Township and just

purchased her first home this summer at 29 Riverdale Road which is a .23 acre parcel in

the 100 year floodplain.  She stated she is requesting a Variance to the Ordinance in order

to erect a 6’ high, red cedar, shadowbox fence made of one by six inch boards which

alternate.  The fence would not impede the water should it rise up and it would go right

through the fence.  It would also be two to three inches off the ground so that it does not

block anything. 

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if there any other neighbors who have substantially similar type

fences, and Ms. Fineburg stated there are some shadowbox fences in the area as well as

stockade fences in the neighborhood.  She stated there is also a picket fence.

 

Ms. Kirk asked for a description of a shadowbox fence, and Ms. Fineburg stated this is a

one by six inch board – six inches wide and one inch thick – and on one side of the fence

you have a one by six board, a space of one by six, and another one by six board.  On the

opposite side of the fence there is also this alternating pattern.  Ms. Kirk stated it appears

November 15, 2005                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 13 of 16

 

 

that it would appear to be a solid fence but the boards are offset, and Ms. Fineburg

agreed.  She stated if you look straight at it, it appears to be solid, but if you look on the

side, you can see straight through it.

 

Ms. Kirk stated they have indicated that they will need to put in thirty-four posts, and

Ms. Fineburg stated they have estimated it will be 272’ feet and they will be 8’ sections

which equals approximately 34, 4 by 4 posts.  She stated when she looked at the

disturbance this would cause, it will be approximately one tenth of 1% of her total

property that she will be disturbing. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if she is proposing that the section of the fence that is coming off either

side of the house be 6’ high, and Ms. Fineburg stated the whole fence is 6’ high.

Ms. Kirk stated she feels this would require an additional Variance because it is in the

front yard.  Mr. Toadvine stated provided it is from the front of the house back, it is

considered side yard. 

 

Mr. Jim Biesiada, 61 Manor Lane, stated he is to the rear of the property.  He stated he

looked at the back of his property to see how this was surveyed.  He stated there are a

number of evergreen trees which line the back of their properties, and it appears that from

where the stakes are located, the trees are in the middle of where the stakes will be

placed.  He stated there is also a swale in this area and the run off from a number of

homes comes through this area.  He stated the evergreen trees are absorbing a lot of water

and he is concerned with the impact of the posts on the trees which could result in a

major water problem if the trees are disturbed. 

 

Ms. Fineburg stated there is one tree at the corner on the far left behind the shed, and

there is a root that they will cut around and the rest of the roots will not come into play.

She stated the trees will remain on Mr. Biesiada’s side as they are on his property. 

Ms. Kirk asked if she would agree to a Condition that the fence be constructed in such a

manner so as to not disturb the existing tree at the rear corner of her rear property, and

Ms. Fineburg agreed.  Mr. Bamburak asked if  they have identified any other roots that

they will have to build around, and Ms. Fineburg stated when the professional went

through., he did not see any additional issues.

 

Mr. Biesiada stated this area is eroded and it is the lowest point in the neighborhood. 

He stated all the run off comes to this area and the roots are above ground.  He feels the

whole line of trees will be disturbed.  Mr. Bamburak stated she has already testified that

the fence will not be against the ground.  Mr. Biesiada stated he is concerned with the

impact on the roots and feels they will have a major problem if the trees are gone.  He

stated this neighborhood was built with the homes very close together and there are

numerous trees in the area.  He stated there is only one access area to get a vehicle to this

area and if the fence is put in no vehicle will be able to get into the back area of  four

homes.  Mr. Toadvine asked why they would need to get a vehicle to the rear of the

November 15, 2005                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 14 of 16

 

 

property, and Mr. Biesiada stated there may be an emergency.  Mr. Toadvine asked if the

houses did not have street frontage, and Mr. Biesiada stated they do but the ability to get

a vehicle behind any of the homes would be taken away. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if there are fences on the properties on either side of her property, and

Ms. Fineburg stated the Gottleibs have a partial fence on the back of their yard and part

of their yard has a fence on the side from an adjacent yard.  She stated she did discuss the

matter with the individuals behind her and they did not have a problem.

 

Mr. Kim stated his only concern is setting a precedent to disturb the floodplain even if it

is only a small disturbance.  Ms. Fineburg stated there are numerous fences in the area

and she did highlight in a drawing of her area where there are fences in the neighborhood. 

 

Ms. Kirk asked if the entire property is in the floodplain, and Mr. Wagner stated it is.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated Mr. Wagner had indicated earlier that up to 15% of a tree’s root

mass can be disturbed without affecting the tree, and Mr. Wagner agreed.  Mr. Toadvine

stated this proposed disturbance is clearly not near 15%.

 

Mr. Bamburak asked if Mr. Wagner is familiar with the swale in the rear of the property,

and Mr. Wagner stated he is not.  Ms. Fineburg stated she has not had a problem with the

rain. 

 

Mr. Toadvine noted the one-page document the Applicant submitted will be marked as

Exhibit A-4 and indicates all the properties in the general vicinity of the subject property

that have fences and they are highlighted in yellow.  Mr. Kim noted Exhibit A-4 and

asked if the yellow properties are also in the floodplain, and it was noted they are. 

Mr. Toadvine stated some of the fences may have been erected prior to the Ordinance

being established.  Mr. Biesiada stated he has lived in the neighborhood for seven years

and is unaware of anyone who has installed a fence in this time.  He stated the fences

shown are very old.  He stated he has also never seen a shadowbox fence in the

neighborhood. He stated the pitch of Ms. Fineburg’s yard runs to the swale and the pitch

of his yard is flat.  He stated the trees are at the lowest point and this is where the water

runs. 

 

Ms. Kirk moved and Mr. Dobson seconded that the Application for a 6’ red cedar fence

be granted subject to the following conditions:  That there be at least a 2” clearance from

the bottom of the fence to the ground and further that the fence be constructed in such a

way so as not to disturb the roots of the larger tree at the rear southwest corner of the

subject property.  Motion carried with Mr. Kim opposed.

 

 

 

November 15, 2005                                                 Zoning Hearing Board – page 15 of 16

 

 

APPEAL #05-1346 – SHELLEY RICHIE

 

Ms. Shelley Richie was sworn in along with Ms. Tammy Fick who stated she is a friend

who has helped Ms. Richie do research on the property.

 

The Application was marked as Exhibit A-1.  Included was an 8 ½” by 14” Plan for the

property which was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Ms. Richie stated she currently lives a town home in Upper Makefield and has purchased

the property at 1435 Robinson Place.  She stated she has a golden retriever and bought

the home with the intention of building a fence so that her dog would have room.  She

understands the property is 100% FEMA approved.  She would like to install a fence in

the rear yard.  She is proposing a split rail fence with green wire mesh.  It will be 4’ high

and will have two five foot gates across the driveway and in the back of the property a 4’

gate that will lead further back to the rear of the property.   The property is in the 100

year floodplain.

 

Mr. Kim stated on the Application it states “this fence will approve the property.” 

Ms. Richie stated she feels it will increase the property value.

 

Ms. Kirk asked if she has purchased the property at this time and Ms. Richie stated she

has closed on the property.  Ms. Kirk asked if they will provide clearance at the bottom,

and Ms. Richie stated they are asking that it be to the ground.  It was noted that it will

have wire mesh.

 

There was no public comment.

 

Mr. Bamburak moved and Mr. Malinowski seconded to approve the Variance as

requested.  Motion carried with Mr. Kim opposed.

 

 

APPEAL #05-1347 – JOHN MIDDLEBROOK AND DEBORAH MATHER

 

Mr. Toadvine stated Mr. Murphy is listed as the Attorney of Record but is not present this

evening.

 

Ms. Deborah Mather was sworn in.  The Application was marked as Exhibit A-1. 

Included with the Application was a Plan prepared by J. G. Parks dated 10/10/05 which

was marked as Exhibit A-2.

 

Mr. Wagner stated he agrees that the existing impervious surface is as shown on the

Application which is existing of 25.77% and they are proposing 24.97%.

 

November 15, 2005                                                  Zoning Hearing Board – page 16 of 16

 

 

Ms. Kirk stated they have an existing in-ground pool which they intend to replace with a

new pool.  Ms. Mather agreed and stated it must be replaces as it cannot be repaired. 

Ms. Kirk stated based on the Application, the Pool that is being replaced is slightly larger

than the pool they are proposing to install.  Ms. Mather stated the pool they currently

have is no longer made as it is over twenty years old.  It will be replaced with a pool that

fits in with that dimension so that they can use one wall.  They will remove some of the

concrete although it will have essentially the same coping around the pool. 

 

There was no public comment.

 

Ms. Mather stated they did discuss this with their neighbors on either side and they had

no objection.

 

Ms. Kirk moved, Mr. Bamburak seconded and it was unanimously carried that the

Application be granted as submitted.

 

 

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

 

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                            David Malinowski, Secretary