BZA March 22, 2011 Geber

The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Mr. Ray Fidel, Chairman, at 7:30 p.m. on March 22, 2011 with Board members, Mary Lee Brezina, Bill Skomrock,Sr., Tezeon Wong and Ken Blair (sitting for Glen Quigley) present.

All in attendance for this hearing were duly sworn and asked when testifying to state their name and confirm being sworn in. Ray Fidel read the applicants request:
Edmond J. Geber requests multiple area variances: 1) for the 28’ x 26’9” addition to an existing non-conforming house at 12130 Hotchkiss Rd in Little Punderson Subdivision. The house and addition straddle lot lines; the addition would be 18 ft. from the rear lot line, 2) to permit an existing 320 sq. ft. woodshed, built without a permit, 2 ft. from the east side lot line & 3) to permit an existing 224 sq. ft. accessory building, built without a permit, 28 ft. from the rear lot line (vs. Art. V, Sec. 5.05 req’d 8 ft. sideline & 30 ft. rear setbacks). Extension of non-conforming uses and structures requires relief from Art. XIV, Sec. 14.04 A&B & 14.05. Art. IV, Sec. 4.03 requires a soil erosion plan. Variance requests 2 & 3 need relief from Art. V, Sec. 5.01 requiring single family detached dwelling as principal structure on the lot.

Mr. Fidel asked the applicant to state his case. Mr. Geber said he owned 9 lots and admitted he had built the encroaching wood shed for his woodburner and the accessory building on separate lots without a permit. When Mr. Fidel asked whether he had contacted the Little Punderson Lake Association for permission, Mr. Geber said no. Mr. Geber stated he was unwilling to consolidate any of the nine lots.

Mrs. Geber pointed out the location of the proposed house addition on the projector screened image adding they would tear off the existing deck to build the addition on the rear/driveway side of the house. Board discussion continued regarding the 18 ft. rear setback from an applicant’s owned parcel, any encroachment beyond the current house footprint on the Palivoda property and the future utilization of Geber’s contiguous lots.

Mr. Fidel explained the consolidation process as 4 contiguous lots are now required to build a house. He asked where the septic system was located – in the front yard. Mr. Geber said he would be willing to tear down the woodshed and accessory building if necessary for a future building site (anticipated for his children).

Mr. Wong cited problems that have occurred when a house straddles two lots; in the past only half a house was sold at foreclosure/auction. By combining lot parcels with an Affidavit of Fact (filed with the County Recorder) that all parcels must be sold together, the homeowner and future buyer is protected in the title search. The house and driveway now straddle 3 lots.

Ms. Endres explained that if all the wood were harvested from this property, no permit would be required; but that was not the case here.

Mr. Skomrock Sr. said he had viewed this well-kept property and found it to be a real neighborhood improvement and said he favored the proposed house addition.

Ms. Hrabak showed Mr. Geber a sample Affidavit of Fact document that listed the parcels to be sold together. Ms. Hrabak would prepare the document for him to file with the county recorder for approximately a $26. fee. Mr. Geber agreed to file the Affidavit of Fact for the 3 lots where the house and driveway are located.

Mr. Fidel asked the board for additional comments or questions. There being no more questions, Mr. Fidel called for a motion stating that a yes vote would grant the variance.
Mr. Wong moved to grant the variances as requested for the 28’ x 26’9” house addition with 2 conditions:
1) Mr. Geber would file an Affidavit of Fact to sell the 3 parcels together; 23-273600, 23-273700 & 23-273800 and
2) The accessory building on parcel 23-28400 & the woodshed on parcel 23-318100 would be used for storage only and would be the primary use on these parcels.
Bill Skomrock Sr. seconded the motion. Mr. Geber said he agreed to abide by these conditions.

Mr. Fidel recognized several members of the audience and asked if they wished to speak.

Mr. Sarkisian said he was the President of the Little Punderson Lake Association and they were rewriting their 100 year old by-laws to comply with current Newbury Zoning Code. He invited all to attend their monthly meetings. Mr. & Mrs. Palivoda also favored and monitored improvements in their Lake community. Ms. Endres said she would contact the Association when variances and/or items of interest come up.

A roll-call vote was as follows:
Mary Lee Brezina yes
Tezeon Wong yes
Bill Skomrock, Sr. yes
Ray Fidel yes
Ken Blair yes

Mr. Fidel read to the Appellant and audience, “Within 30 days after service of the minutes granting your request, if someone wishes to challenge this decision through the court, he or she may. The challenge could reverse or negate our decision. Mr. Fidel informed the Appellant and the audience that the 30-day period commences with the Appellants’ signing receipt of the signed minutes. They will be mailed registered return receipt to the Appellant. All persons receiving notice of the hearing will receive copies of the minutes. At the time you receive your permit you must also comply with all other requirements of Newbury Township zoning”.
Mr. Fidel adjourned the BZA hearing at 8:15 p.m.
As the applicants left, Board members wished them good luck.
Board members resumed their meeting to establish the conclusions of fact:
Based on the following FINDING OF FACTS for the variances requested:

1) The parcels could yield a reasonable return without the variances.
2) The 18 ft. rear setback is substantial by today’s 30 ft. standard but not by the setback restrictions at the time of purchase.
3) The essential character of the neighborhood would not be substantially altered and the adjoining property owners would suffer no detriment as a result of these variances.
4) The variances have no effect on delivery of governmental services.
5) The owner purchased the property with specific knowledge of the 8 ft side setback zoning restrictions and built his house 10 ft. from the side line.
6) The property owner’s predicament could not be obviated through some method other than the variances.
7) The spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variances. Such other criteria, which the Board believes relates to determining whether the zoning regulation is equitable; there were no objections by adjacent property owners in attendance.

Marge Hrabak, Secretary