Two houses on one property lot are not allowed according to the township zoning code. So owners Ed and Toni Everett of Dead End Lane appeared before the supervisors to request the ability to build a new house and then abandon the existing one in which Everett's mother lives at the end of the project.
"Ed's mother will be moving in with us after we build our home but she would like to stay in her own home until our house is built," said Toni Everett. She said the issue is without subdividing the lot the zoning officer cannot furnish a zoning permit for the building project without the permission of the board of supervisors.
Zoning Officer LeRoy Leibenguth explained that the zoning ordinance prohibits building two primary structures on one lot. This can be overridden by the board, but otherwise the Everetts would need to subdivide their lot or submit a land development plan both of which could be quite expensive.
Everett told the board that their mother would move in and they were 99 percent sure they would be demolishing the existing home once the new one was built. She said the only thing that would prevent that is the price of demolition and erection of a pole barn which is their desired plan.
"We don't have the prices [for a pole barn]," she said adding that could lead them to want to convert the planned abandoned home into a barn or storage space. She said no matter what the building will be converted to a storage building or demolished.
Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt asked Leibenguth if the ordinance does not allow two buildings or an accessory building in the front yard of a lot. Leibenguth confirmed that neither circumstance is allowed in Mahoning Township. Everett pointed out that the current layout of the property will change when they build the new house.
She and her husband showed supervisors the lot plan and the area in which they plan to construct their new home which would be on frontage on a different portion of the lot placing the old home toward the rear of the property.
Chairperson John Wieczorek said that he would be in favor of stipulating they could build the home provided they tear the old home down within six months. He mentioned the idea of posting a bond in escrow to guarantee that and Everett asked if that would be thousands of dollars. He said it could be, but he said it was only his opinion.
Steigerwalt asked if the utilities would be removed from the building. Everett said the well would be switched to the new house and the other utilities would be disconnected rendering the house uninhabitable.
"Are you looking for some stipulated agreement about the house so you can move forward," Wieczorek asked. Everett said that was their hope.
"Has this been done in the township recently like the last 10 years," asked Steigerwalt. Leibenguth told him it was done in the last four years and the people stayed in a garage on the property until the house was completed.
Supervisor Frank Ruch said he was in favor of allowing the construction to take place provided the other building was made unusable as a residence and said that he felt if that was the case, he was okay with it being converted into an out building. He suggested maybe the top floor could be removed to turn it into more of a barn type structure.
Everett admitted she was hoping they could demolish the home pointing out that she really did not want it on the property once the new home was built. However, they wanted some type of pole barn structure on the property eventually. She said if it cost too much for the excavator to tear the house down, then they would like to convert it.
Ruch moved to stipulate they could build the new home provided that within 90 days of completion the old home would be abandoned and the utilities removed from it. The motion carried unanimously and a letter will be given to the Everetts to provide to Leibenguth for the permit.