Older homes don't conform to today's zoning regulations.
That fact was under scrutiny on Monday during a zoning hearing board meeting in Tamaqua.
During the session, held at the Tamaqua Municipal Building, zoners reviewed a subdivision request by the Estate of Dorothy Davidovich, 408-410 E. Union Street.
The estate had requested a variance to create, or revert to, two separate residences at that address.
Professional land surveyor Mike Kafkalas, Jr., of Lansford, told the zoners that the request, if granted, would allow for a single dwelling at 408 E. Union Street and a two-unit apartment building at 410 E. Union Street, and "to separate the lots so they can be sold separately."
The dwellings in question, like most homes in Tamaqua, are over a century old. They are townhouse type buildings constructed adjacent to each other and occupying most of their lots. They were built long before today's setback regulations.
Kafkalas told the zoners that "it's impossible to comply with any of the zoning ordinances."
In fact, the variance request included seven different variances. To show how nonconforming the situation is, it was pointed out that if today's zoning regulations were applied to the properties, there would need to be an allowance for a total of 45 feet of side yards which presently don't exist.
"These are old properties trying to meet new rules, and it's a tough thing to work through," said Chairman Richard Clemson.
Also representing the estate were Leo Davidovich and Robert Davidovich.
Leo Davidovich of Susquehanna, Pa., testified that the properties in question have been in the same family for 108 years.
After several minutes of discussion, the board voted unanimously to allow the subdivision request.
In a second hearing, the board approved a request for a variance to create two apartments at what traditionally has been a single family, brick home at 233 Center Street, formerly known as the Trubilla residence.
Owner Todd Wagner told zoners that he intends to create an efficiency apartment on the first floor and a larger apartment on the second floor, where he currently resides.
Zoners okayed the request.