Salisbury Press

Saturday, October 20, 2018

ZONING HEARING BOARD

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

Single home approved along Chestnut Hill Road

After it was reviewed at several Salisbury Township Zoning Hearing Board meetings, a plan for a single residence along Chestnut Hill Road in a westernmost area of Salisbury Township near Emmaus has been approved.

The township Zoning Hearing Board voted 4-0, with one hearing board member absent, to approve the plan for a single-family house on a 1.16-acre property, 87 Chestnut Hill Road.

The property is owned by Benjamin Hoffman, who attended the hearing, as did Brian Spray, of Integrated Engineering, Quakertown, who represented Hoffman.

Hoffman and Spray made changes to the plan recommended by zoners and Township Consulting Engineer David J. Tettemer.

The hearing at the Oct. 3 zoning hearing was continued because the plan had been tabled at Aug. 1 and Sept. 5 township zoning hearings.

Spray reworked the plan to reposition the house on the lot to provide for a larger driveway turning area so a vehicle would not be required to back onto Chestnut Hill Road. The change had been recommended by Tettemer and supported by consensus by the planners.

“The township engineer and I have gone back and forth and we’ve come to an agreement,” Spray reported to zoners at the Oct. 3 hearing.

“We moved it [the house on the plan] further from the 30 percent steep slopes and we rotated the dwelling so that it faces the contours better,” Spray said.

“It would appear that Mr. Tettemer is satisfied that the driveway does not present a hazard,” Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor Atty. Victor F. Cavacini, of Gross McGinley, LLP, said.

“This is our third meeting. He’s done everything we’ve asked,” planner Ronald Evans said of property owner Hoffman.

Zoners approved a variance to sections of the township zoning ordinance. The property is in the R-2 District, Low Density Residential District, which provides for mostly single-family detached housing at low density. A five-acre lot is required.

It was noted plans for the property were approved by township zoners in 2005. A re-submission was required because the township zoning ordinance was updated.

“We have a lot here that has a lot of steep slopes,” Cavacini said.

Zoner Edward Hare said, “I have no way of judging how runoff will affect others.”

The Chestnut Hill Road site has an estimated 7,500-square-feet of slopes from 15 to 25 percent, 6,500-square-feet of slopes 25 percent or greater and 2,000-square-feet of slopes 30 percent or greater.

The first condition of the zoners’ approval is review and approval by the Lehigh County Conservation District concerning erosion and sedimentation.

Sopka said “the stormwater conditions will be part of the Lehigh County Conservation District review.”

“Apparently, there’s a lot of stormwater issues associated with the property,” Cavicini said.

“Dave Tettemer will review the grading and will make recommendations, if necessary,” Sopka said.

According to the plan, the three-story house would have one story above grade and two stories below grade. The middle-level story and lower story would be half-exposed.

Said Cavacini of the property and appeal, “It’s probably the most complex case in a long, long time, and possibly forever.

“The undeniable issue is whether there’s a hardship.”

The second condition for zoners’ approval requires the need for a full-time flag person to be at the site to control traffic along Chestnut Hill Road during construction of the house. Construction vehicles must be parked on the property.

“One of the first things we have to do is build a construction entrance,” Spray said.

“When we’re moving heavy equipment or doing something in close to the road,” Spray said, a flag person will be on site.

“That is the intent,” Cynthia Sopka, township Director of Planning and Zoning, said.