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MUNICIPALITY OF MONROEVILLE

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					MUNICIPALITY OF MONROEVILLE ZONING HEARING BOARD JULY 2, 2008 MINUTES

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairman Robert Grimes. ROLL CALL The Recording Secretary, Sharon McIndoe, called roll and the following were present: Robert Grimes, Walter Forrest, Frank Rawson, Robert Bell, Robert Wratcher and Shelly Kaltenbaugh. Mr. Richmond was absent. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE The Pledge of Allegiance was recited at this time and a moment of silence observed. APPROVAL OF MINUTES There being no corrections, additions or deletions to the minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 7, 2008, a motion was duly made by Mr. Rawson to approve them, as submitted, and Mr. Bell seconded it. Upon a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously. OLD BUSINESS 08-5-A OXFORD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY The applicant is requesting a variance to Section 306, Off Street Parking, of the Monroeville Zoning Ordinance No. 1443, as amended, requesting a parking ratio of one space for every 200 square feet for a group unit development that includes restaurant space. The property is located at the northerly side of Mall Circle Drive to include the redevelopment of the Expo-Mart and Radisson Hotel properties. It is zoned C-2, Business/Commercial. The applicant has requested tabling and waived all time limits. Ms. Kaltenbaugh reported the applicant requested this application be heard in September. Mr. Wratcher indicated the zoning officer would be sending the applicant a letter informing them that if they are not prepared to present their case at the September meeting, they should either withdraw the application or the board could act upon it. He

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stated it has been outstanding for six or seven months so it needs to be resolved. Mr. Grimes inquired whether the board should vote to not table but deny the application. Mr. Wratcher answered it could be brought off the table and denied because no one is present to represent the applicant but he advised additional time should be allowed to present the case in a timely manner. NEW BUSINESS 08-13-A KAREN SUE URIAH The applicant is requesting a variance to Table 201, Minimum Side Yard, of the Monroeville Zoning Ordinance No. 1443, as amended, allowing the construction of a residential addition to encroach approximately 11 feet into a required 15-foot side yard. The property is located at 232 Old Haymaker Road and is zoned R-1, Single-Family Residential. Ms. Karen Sue Uriah, the applicant, came forward to explain her request. She stated the variance is for a proposed one-car garage attached to the current one-car garage. Mr. Grimes inquired whether it would be located next to the current garage and Ms. Uriah answered it would be set back six feet but would be attached. Mr. Grimes questioned whether it would be used for parking of another car; Ms. Uriah answered affirmatively. Mr. Wratcher questioned whether there was 21 feet between the existing garage and the property line; Ms. Uriah answered affirmatively. Mr. Wratcher indicated the drawing submitted indicates there is 14 feet and he questioned whether it was to scale. Ms. Uriah answered it is not to scale. Mr. Wratcher asserted the footage must be established for the record to clarify what has been granted. Ms. Kaltenbaugh inquired whether they requested to go seven feet into the yard and Mr. Wratcher clarified it was a required 15-foot side yard and Ms. Uriah agreed. Ms. Kaltenbaugh reported a letter was submitted from a neighbor in opposition to the variance. Mr. Wratcher questioned the location of that neighbor and Ms. Uriah answered it is on the side where the garage will be located. Mr. Vedagiri Velpari, a resident of 230 Haymaker Road, came forward to voice his opposition to this variance. He asserted they have been very good neighbors. He contended the reason there are zoning ordinances in Monroeville is to provide a pleasant, attractive, healthy and safe community environment for the residents. He explained he purchased his property because he liked the neighborhood, property and the spaces between the houses. He felt that any development must conform to the zoning ordinances. He suggested there is room at the back of the property for the garage and he would not have any objection.

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Mr. Grimes inquired whether a window on the side of his house faces the current garage and Mr. Velpari answered there are two windows horizontal to that garage. He indicated he would support any development but felt it must conform to the zoning ordinance. He suggested that variances are granted because of a hardship or problems associated with the topography of the land. He was concerned that the applicant was requesting the variance just to build another garage at the side of the current one which would be closer to his house where his bedroom is located. He voiced his concerns about the potential for a fire because it would be closer to his home and again, he pointed out they have a lot of space in the back. Mr. Wratcher questioned how far his house was located from the property line and Mr. Uriah answered it is less than 15 feet. Mr. Velpari answered it was 12.85 feet from the property line when he purchased the house and that is what he liked when he purchased it. Mr. Grimes inquired whether it could be figured out how close this proposal would be located to the property line. Ms. Uriah answered there would be 7.72 feet between the end of the new garage and the property line. Ms. Uriah questioned whether her street was rezoned because the majority of the houses were less than 15 feet from the property line. She inquired whether it was changed over the years from R2 to R1 and Mr. Grimes answered negatively but added the builder probably got variances along the way as needed. Mr. Wratcher asserted the yard requirements for the zoning districts may have changed because that plan is approximately 50 years old. He further explained that it is not uncommon in some of the neighborhoods that are over 30 years old for the side yards to vary and not resemble what is currently in affect. Mr. Shane Bickel, husband of the applicant, came forward to explain there is space in the back yard but it shrinks because of the 15-foot requirement. Ms. Uriah asserted the garage would have to be located in the middle of the yard and she would need a variance for a driveway to go around the house to the back. Mr. Bickel added then they would have to pave half the yard. He explained there are currently hedges located there so that only the garage is visible. Mr. Grimes questioned whether the hedges would be disturbed and Mr. Bickel answered negatively. Mr. Grimes inquired whether they would double wide their driveway and Mr. Bickel answered it would only be done at the top where it branches over to the garage. He explained two hedges would have to be removed and there would still be the view of a garage from that side of the house. Mr. Rawson inquired whether the property between the two houses was measured and Ms. Uriah explained the neighbor indicated his house was 12.2 feet from the property line and Mr. Velpari corrected 12.85; she continued and stated hers is 21.72 feet from the property line. Mr. Velpari pointed out the hedges are located on his property about seven or eight inches but he never objected. Mr. Grimes questioned whether the neighbor was aware that the applicant only wants to park his car in the garage and Mr. Velpari answered affirmatively. He explained

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that he discussed the issue with his neighbors and explained that he objected for all of the reasons mentioned. There being no further discussion, Mr. Bell duly made a motion to approve Application No. 08-13-A and Mr. Rawson seconded it. Upon a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Velpari inquired whether he could appeal the case and Mr. Wratcher advised him that it could be appealed to the Common Pleas Court within 30 mailing days of the decision. He requested the decision form be mailed to Mr. Velpari. 08-14-A BRIAN HOGAN The applicant is requesting a variance to Table 201, Minimum Front Yard, of the Monroeville Zoning Ordinance No. 1443, as amended, allowing the construction of a new residential structure to be constructed on Lot 30 on Berkeley Square Drive. The property has three front yards requiring a 30-foot setback on three sides of the property which would result in a home that measures 20 by 20 feet in size. The property is zoned R-2T, Single-Family Residential. Mr. Vince Cheripka and Mr. Michael Hogan came forward representing the applicant. Mr. Cheripka explained the request is for a five-foot variance and since it is a planned residential community, the setbacks are bigger. He indicated the hardship for the property is because it is located on a corner lot. He explained because of the radius, the house is located in the front right-hand corner and along the back so five feet would be enough room. He added it is a 1,580 square foot home. Ms. Kaltenbaugh inquired whether it would look similar in size to the other single-family homes in that neighborhood and Mr. Cheripka answered it would be slightly smaller. Mr. Hogan explained this would be for his uncle who is in his mid 80s and moving to this location for mobility. Mr. Allen Cohen, a resident of 282 Berkeley Way, came forward to express his concerns about the application. He stated he had no objections to developing in the plan because the more homes that are built, the more it would build up the association’s reserves and make it a better plan. He reported the residents were notified of the variance request but not provided with any specifics. He explained when he went to research the plans because there were no details provided, there were none available or submitted with the application. He felt the property owners and those affected should have that information during the application review. Ms. Kaltenbaugh explained the drawing was brought in the day after Mr. Cohen came in and the applicant was given additional time to submit his drawing so that he

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would not miss the construction period to build his home. Mr. Cohen asserted that if he had the information before hand he may have been able to answer his questions such as what the actual variance was in terms of the number of feet. He asserted that he does understand that the three front yards present a problem and he was uncertain which side the variance request was for, the Northern Pike side, or the first or second Berkley Square side. Mr. Cheripka explained the location of the building line and where it would be constructed. Mr. Cohen inquired whether they were looking for a 25-foot frontage along both Berkley Way fronts. Mr. Cheripka indicated the building line is 20 feet and they are requesting 15 feet. Ms. Kaltenbaugh inquired whether the house would be in line with the other one on the street and Mr. Cheripka answered affirmatively. He explained they would not even need the variance in the front if it was pushed back because then they would not need the corner but it would not conform to the other houses on the street. He felt it would be better to leave it with the other houses and take out the corner. Mr. Hogan explained the corner lot has three roads with frontage on the property and it is the most difficult to build on. Mr. Cohen suggested the corner lot should have been made larger given its difficulty. He felt the request is for a self-inflicted hardship in the creation of the lot which called for a smaller house based on frontages. Ms. Kaltenbaugh asserted the lot is larger than a majority of them in the area and larger than the minimum lot size in that zoning district. Mr. Cheripka suggested the last one or two lots of a plan are usually the most unpopular. Mr. Hogan added this would be a smaller house but would look like the other ones. Mr. Cohen inquired about what kind of house would be permitted if the provisions of the ordinance were adhered to. Mr. Wratcher explained anything over the 20-foot line is where the footprint would be located. Mr. Grimes reiterated that a variance is not needed because they could just move the house back and they are requesting the variance stays within the standards of the other houses in the area. Mr. Grimes further explained the signs are posted in areas to allow residents to attend the hearing which is to gather information about the issue. Mr. Cohen again stated the notice should have been more specific because lack of information leads to rumor and innuendo. Mr. Wratcher explained that the board occasionally finds a situation where the applicant may be delayed in submitting all the information. He suggested the municipality tries to balance the needs of people who want more information with the needs of people who are trying to honestly abide by the regulations but need a little more time. He stated in this case it was just a matter of timing and it is not the practice of the board or the municipality to just present the information at the hearing but occasional it happens. Ms. Kaltenbaugh added her department was trying to help an 80-year old man build a one-floor home. There being no further discussion, Mr. Rawson duly made a motion to approve Application No. 08-14-A and Mr. Grimes seconded it. Upon a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously.

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Mr. Wratcher clarified that it would be included in the decision that the application is approved pursuant to the drawing as described in the decision. He stated the variance granted is slightly irregular because of the way the line curves around. 08-15-A NORTHERN PIKE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY The applicant is requesting a variance to Table 201, Minimum Side Yards, of the Monroeville Zoning Ordinance No. 1443, as amended, allowing the reduction of the minimum side yard from 15 feet to a maximum of five feet for the construction of an auxiliary parking lot for the Gateway Grill. The vacant property is located on Northern Pike across the street from the Gateway Grill and is zoned C-2, Business/Commercial. Mr. Kevin McFadden, owner of the Northern Pike Development Company, came forward along with Mr. Gregg Kourniotis from Mitale and Associates to explain the request. Mr. Kourniotis explained Mr. McFadden is the owner of Gateway Grill and the principle of Northern Pike Development Company. He indicated the owner was hoping to utilize the two lots, Nos. 4 and 7 to construct a two-tiered parking lot because of the topography along Brickell Way. He asserted this parking would relieve the congestion at the current Gateway Grill and will be used for employees or valet parking. He explained the 15-foot minimum side yard requirement between Lot Nos. 4 and 5 and along Brickell Way squeezes the area as to prohibit a parking lot. He requested a variance for a fivefoot side yard along the property line to allow for the parking lot. Mr. Grimes inquired about the number of parking spaces being requested and Mr. Kourniotis answered 19 total; 12 on the upper level and 7 on the lower. Mr. Grimes questioned how it would be tiered. Mr. Kourniotis explained it would be graded in one area to allow for a stairwell and another area to elevate the lower end, he pointed out the location of the stairwell and sidewalks. Mr. Grimes inquired whether the parking lots would be paved and the steps would be concrete; Mr. Kourniotis answered affirmatively. He added each one would have a landing in the middle to give it a little break. Ms. Kaltenbaugh requested the applicant investigate with the state to find out if there is the ability to provide a crosswalk on that section of Northern Pike. Mr. Kourniotis answered they are currently dealing with PennDOT and he would request it. Mr. Grimes questioned where the proposed parking lot would lead to across the street at Gateway Grill. Mr. Kourniotis answered it would not be directly across from the driveway. Further discussion ensued and it was determined the entrance for the parking lot would be west of the driveway before the road for the dry cleaners. Mr. George Mamo, a resident of 495 B Simmon Circle, Export, Pa came forward to voice his concerns for this proposal because it is located directly adjacent to his two rental properties. He reviewed the request was to extend the parking lot an additional ten feet to bring it within five feet of the property line which is a very short distance from his rental property. He reported he has a very loyal tenant who has voiced concerns about

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staying in the home if a parking lot is constructed. He stated the current proposed plan is to bring the parking lot to within 15 feet of the property line and the request is to shorten it to five feet. He felt this would jeopardize the rentability of his home. He suggested if the proposed parking lot was not approved to bring it within five feet of the property line, it would diminish a limited number of cars that could be parked there. He indicated the patrons that frequent the Gateway Grill have a parking lot across the street. He felt if this is denied it would only eliminate the availability of a small number of new parking spaces but if it is granted it would jeopardize 50 percent of his income. He stated those are the reasons that he objects. Mr. Mamo explained the view from his rental houses is not objectionable currently but he felt that would not be the same in terms of the parking lot from the houses. He requested large bushes or scrubs be put in place to block the view of the parking lot from the house if it is approved. He again objected to the expansion of the width of the parking lot. Mr. McFadden asserted that it has already been shown that shrubbery would be put in place but the house that was razed last year was closer than this proposed lot. He stated his house is within approximately three or four feet of his property line and the razed house was within two to three feet of his property line. He indicated they are further back than they were previously and the house had been abandoned for ten years so this proposed parking lot would be an improvement in the view. He felt his proposal would be an improvement for the area and Mr. Grimes agreed. Mr. Grimes voiced his concerns about the track from the high school because it is adjacent to the property and one wall has already fallen. He wanted to make sure everything was done properly and would not affect the high school track. He was also concerned about policing the area for garbage and noise. Mr. McFadden stated it would be to his benefit to keep it clean but it would be used primarily for his employees and he did not expect his customers to use it. He further explained it could be utilized by any of the tenants in the plaza or their customers. Mr. Wratcher questioned the buffer that would be used between the parking lot and the house. Mr. Kourniotis explained the parking lot and how it would be lighted for security and to deter any mischievous behavior. He pointed out the location of the lights. Mr. Mamo again came forward to express his concerns for this proposed parking lot. He reminded everyone that this has a limited affect on the income of that business but it would affect 50 percent of his income on the rental properties. Mr. Bell inquired about the difference in the elevation of the land between the parking lot and the house. Mr. Kourniotis answered it is comparable and explained since it is so close to the property line they cannot make the difference too drastic. He explained where the tiers would be located and the house location would be affected by the first parking lot. He stated the back lot would have more fill to bring it up. He indicated they would have enough of a screening buffer between the house and the

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parking lot so the lights would not glare into the side of the building. Mr. Bell questioned whether they could install a sign stating “Employees Only” because he was concerned with people crossing the roadway. Mr. McFadden answered the traffic on that road is very busy and is at a standstill every day between 3 and 6 p.m. He compared it to the Parkway Tavern where every customer had to cross the road way to get there. He felt common sense would lead people to try to park in the parking lot closest to the business. He was most interested in having all the employees from the shopping center park at the proposed parking lot to free up the spaces for customers. He indicated currently his employees have parked everywhere from the Days Inn to the Commerce Building. He also explained that he has been trying to purchase the acre across the street for several years and the property owner wants to use it for an office building. He reported some of his employees have been riding their bikes to work on Northern Pike which is even more dangerous than just crossing it. There being no further discussion, Mr. Forrest duly made a motion to approve Application No. 08-15-A and Mr. Rawson seconded it. Upon a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously. ADJOURNMENT Before adjourning the meeting, Mr. Wratcher welcomed Mr. Bob Bell as a new member to the zoning hearing board. There being no further business to come before the zoning hearing board, at this time, Mr. Forrest duly made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 p.m. and Mr. Rawson seconded it. Upon a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously. Respectfully submitted,

Robert Grimes Chairman RG/sam