A group child care center is headed to Lower Towamensing Township.
The township's Zoning Hearing Board unanimously agreed on Thursday to grant residents Thomas and Heather Pasquariello the necessary means to conduct the center as a home occupation at 2605 Hahn's Dairy Road.
As part of their approval, zoners granted the couple variances to allow outdoor play toys to be kept outside of the home, specifically in the proposed fenced-in area; permit noise from being perceptible at or beyond the lot boundaries; and to utilize a maximum of 650-square-feet of indoor space. The zoners also granted the couple a special exception to allow for a maximum of 4,400-square-feet of outdoor space.
The home is located in an R-3 (Residential/Medium Density) Zoning District.
Before the board's approval, Heather Pasquariello explained that the couple had a son three years ago, and that she wanted to "spend more time with him, and help other families and their children."
She said in a group child day care home, care is provided at one time for more than six, but fewer than 16, older school-age level children, or more than six, but fewer than 13 children of another age level who are unrelated to the operator. The term includes a facility located in a residence or other premises, Pasquariello said.
Also, Pasquariello said she would like to start with a family day care, which would call for six children or less, not including her own child. Over time, she said the hope is that the business could grow to a group day care, which would call for 12 children or less, including her own child.
In addition, Pasquariello said there would be no more than two people employed other than herself, and that there would be no other advertising, other than a sign of up to two-square-feet in area on each side.
Zoning board member Keith George asked the couple if vehicles backing out of their driveway would be a problem.
"I would be concerned if we had a situation where cars were backing out onto Hahn's Dairy Road," George said. "The speed limit sign posted is 45 (miles per hour), but people go 60."
Thomas Pasqueriello assured George such a problem wouldn't exist.
The couple previously appeared before the zoners on June 12, at which time the matter was supposed to go to hearing. But, the property owners were not properly notified, which resulted in a continuation.
Township Zoning Officer Duane Dellecker had previously denied the request because a section of the township's zoning ordinance prohibits the storage of materials or products related to the home occupation from being stored outside of buildings.
Heather Pasquariello previously indicated in her letter of intent that outdoor toys would be stored in a fenced in area on the property, Dellecker said. However, a section of the township's zoning ordinance prohibits the display of products related to the home occupation from being visible from adjoining properties or streets.
Pasquariello also indicated in her prior letter of intent that outdoor play equipment is requested to be "displayed" and stored in the fenced in area, but Dellecker said it was his opinion that outdoor toys would not qualify as a "product" related to the home occupation.
Another section of the township's zoning ordinance prohibits noise and dust, among other things, from being perceptible at or beyond the lot boundaries. Due to the nature of a group child day care business and Pasquariello's letter of intent, concern exists regarding noise perceptible at or beyond the lot boundaries, Dellecker said.
Finally, another section of the township's zoning ordinance requires a home occupation to be conducted within a dwelling unit, provided that by special exception of the zoning hearing board may permit the home occupation subject to such controls they deem necessary. However, Dellecker noted that Pasquariello's letter of intent indicates that she plans to conduct parts of this home occupation out of a 4,400-square-foot fenced in yard area.
Also on Thursday, zoners unanimously approved a request from David Christman to erect a garage on his property at 2065 Walnut Drive, Palmerton, which is situated in an R-C (Rural Conservation) zoning district.
Christman plans to build a 24-by-32-foot garage. The size of the completed structure would be 768 square feet. The garage itself is proposed to be two-feet from the side property line.
However, the zoners attached three conditions as part of their approval: 1) That Christman secure all other approvals that may be necessary under other federal, state, or local regulations and meet the construction, operation, maintenance or other requirements of Chapter 105; 2) that proper erosion and sedimentation control measures are required during and after construction, and the adequacy of these measures can be determined as set forth by the Carbon County Conservation District; and 3) that he must contact the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission before starting the work, and that the work be performed in such a manner so as to protect fish and other aquatic life.
In his rejection letter, dated May 8, Dellecker states that a section of the township's zoning ordinance requires a 10-foot side yard setback. The application, as submitted, indicated a setback of only two-feet, Dellecker said in his letter.