A Palmerton man has received permission to convert a former barroom with one apartment to a total of three apartments.

The borough's Zoning Hearing Board unanimously agreed on Tuesday to grant Jonathan Ammary a special exception and variance to add two apartments to the building at 590 Mauch Chunk Road.

Three neighbors attended the hearing and expressed concerns about parking, according to board solicitor Jenny Cheng. However, all were in favor of the building project, Cheng said.

A section of the borough's zoning ordinance does not allow taverns or conversions of an existing building into one or more dwelling units as permitted uses.

As a result, Ammary needed to obtain a special exception to allow change from one nonconforming use to another, as well as a variance regarding the minimum lot area required for apartments.

His request was previously denied by borough zoning officer Duane Dellecker, who, in his rejection letter dated March 29, noted the property is located in an R-2 (Residential-Medium Density) zoning district.

Dellecker stated in his letter that since the former use was not a permitted use, the use becomes nonconforming. Both the existing and proposed uses, not being permitted, made the application a change of one nonconforming use to another, he said.

Also in his letter, Dellecker said another section of the zoning ordinance requires special exception action by the board to change from one nonconforming use to another; subject to specific conditions outlined therein.

Dellecker also said in his letter a section of the zoning ordinance requires a minimum average of 4,000-square-feet of lot area for each apartment.

Another section of the zoning ordinance addresses the conversion of existing buildings and requires dumpster screening, Dellecker said in his letter.

Yet another section of the zoning ordinance addresses off-street parking, Dellecker said in his letter. The regulations require two off-street parking spaces for each dwelling unit, and only one off-street parking space per conversion apartment that only includes one bedroom or is an efficiency unit, he said.