Additional crematory capacity sought by Palmerton funeral home
A special exception to create additional crematory capacity is among a pair of requests scheduled to go before the Palmerton Zoning Hearing Board.
In addition, a variance will be sought to convert a single family dwelling unit into two one-bedroom dwelling units when the zoners meet at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Harold Schisler/Arfan, Inc. Crematory, at 517-519 Delaware Avenue, wants to create additional crematory capacity, and will request a special exception to section 113. C of the borough zoning ordinance.
Also, the applicant has appealed borough zoning officer Duane Dellecker's interpretation of the zoning ordinance regarding Section 808.D.3, Nonconforming Use.
In his rejection letter, dated Oct. 17, Dellecker stated the property is located in a Commercial Downtown zoning district. The existing crematory is located in an existing building at 517 Delaware Avenue.
The proposal is to install a second human crematory to the existing crematory. In case #94-95, the Zoning Hearing Board formerly ruled that a crematorium was a permitted use in the CD zoning district.
But, in 1998, a new zoning ordinance was adopted by the borough, whereby Section 306.B.5 of the borough zoning ordinance permits a funeral home, not including a crematorium, as a permitted use by right, Dellecker stated in his letter.
Dellecker also stated in his letter that Section 306.B.7 of the zoning ordinance does not permit a crematorium in the CD zoning district.
"Further, it requires crematoriums to be within a cemetery, have a minimum lot size of 5 acres, and be setback 200' from all lot lines," Dellecker said. "Being as there is an existing crematory at this property that does not meet the requirements of Section 306.B.7 of the zoning ordinance, a nonconforming condition exists."
Lastly, Dellecker stated in his letter that Section 808.D.3 of the zoning ordinance deals with changes to nonconforming uses; requiring special exception action of the zoners in order to extend or enlarge the use in accordance with the regulations contained therein.
"It is the opinion of this zoning office that, by adding a second crematory unit, even if it is within an existing building, is an extension, enlargement and/or alteration of an existing nonconforming use," he said. "As such, special exception action of the zoning hearing board is required."
In the second case, Daryl and Marileese Lichtenwalner will seek permission to convert a single family dwelling unit at 250 Lehigh Avenue into two one-bedroom dwelling units.
The property in question is located in an E-2 (Medium Density Residential) Zoning District.
As part of his rejection letter, dated Oct. 31, Dellecker stated that Section 306.B.4 of the borough zoning ordinance, Table of Permitted Uses by District, does not permit the "conversion of an existing building into one or more dwelling units."
Also, Section 402.A.11 of the borough zoning ordinance lists the extra criteria required to be met for the specific use of "conversion of an existing building into one or more dwelling units, Dellecker stated in his letter.
Additionally, Table 6.1 of the borough zoning ordinance requires two off-street parking spaces per dwelling unit; one per conversion apartment that only includes one bedroom, he said.
Finally, Dellecker stated in his letter that Section 802. C of the zoning ordinance requires each dwelling unit to include a minimum of 500 square feet of habitable, indoor, heated floor area.
"As no details were submitted to this office as part of the application, we could not evaluate compliance with the extra criteria, off-street parking or minimum floor area requirements of the zoning ordinance," he said.