Salisbury Press

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


Wednesday, April 4, 2018 by Paul Willistein in Local News

Restriction removed from Flexer property

A restriction to limit the number of lots to three on a four-acre property has been removed by the Salisbury Township Zoning Hearing Board.

Zoners voted 3-0 to approve the variance modification request by Dr. John A. and Jane Altobelli to allow more than three lots on a 4.2372-acre property they own at 886 Flexer Ave., Salisbury Township.

The restriction of three houses on the lot was put in place Aug. 7, 2001, by township zoners. The restriction had permitted no more than three single-family dwellings to be constructed on the western Salisbury property, with access from Moser Drive off Cedar Crest Boulevard. The property is in an R-3 Medium Low Density Zoning District.

In their zoning appeal, the Altobellis stated they “believe the limitation of three lots is no longer viable.” They requested “relief to the applicants to allow the construction of up to 11 single-family dwellings.”

Approximately nine residents attended the March 6 zoning hearing in the township municipal building. The majority of those present objected to increasing the number of homes on the lot to more than three.

Maria Diaz-Joves, of the a423 architecture and design firm, Hellertown, explained that her firm, which might develop the property, does not necessarily plan to build 11 homes on the lot. There’s an agreement of sale for the property, contingent on obtaining township, county and state approvals.

“We build modern, sustainable homes. They are more energy-efficient and ‘greener’ than the normal home,” Diaz-Joves said.

“We’re looking into doing what’s called a pocket neighborhood,” Diaz-Joves said. “We are in the very early stages.”

The firm’s proposed 2,500-square-foot homes might sell for $350,000 to $400,000.

“The water drainage is a concern,” Dev Kannan, a township resident who lives near the property, said.

John Kern, whose property abuts the property, also expressed concerns about stormwater runoff.

“I’m very much in support of it. I feel this could be a good thing for us,” said another neighbor, Nichol Destremps, adding, “It’s only going to increase our [property] values.”

Zoning board member, Atty. Kent Herman, noted that removal of the restriction of three homes does not exclude development on the property from going through the township zoning and planning commission approval process.

“This is a step in the development process. It’s an early step,” Herman said prior to the zoners’ vote.

The proposal would need to meet the requirements of the township’s Subdivision And Land Development Ordinance.

“The hearing is for the covenant factor,” Salisbury Township Director of Planning and Zoning Cynthia Sopka said, adding, “We’re here because of the restrictive covenant, not the design.

“I have fielded a lot of calls for that property and the only thing that they wanted to put there was a church,” Sopka said.

Jane Altobelli said the property has been for sale “off and on for nine to 10 years.”

The April 2 zoning hearing was canceled.