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Couple seeks to build addition to their property

Published December 11. 2012 05:01PM

A decision on whether a Palmerton couple may construct an addition onto their property is likely to be rendered.

The borough's zoning hearing board will reconvene at 7 p.m. Thursday, to revisit a request by Fred and Maria Nothstein, of 767 Columbia Avenue.

The couple wants to build an addition that will extend five feet from the side property line, and is seeking a side yard variance. However, Section 307.A of the borough's zoning ordinance requires a 10-foot side yard.

Previously, the Nothsteins went before the zoners last month, at which time it was unanimously decided by the board that the hearing be continued,

As part of that decision, the zoners requested the attorneys for both the applicant, as well as the opposition, to submit briefs to the board for consideration. The board will review the briefs, and could make a ruling.

In September, zoners granted the couple a side variance to erect an addition to their property, that would extend 9-feet, 6-inches, from the side property line at the single family dwelling, which is located in an R-1 (Residential-Low Density) Zoning District.

But, in a letter dated Oct. 19, borough zoning officer Duane Dellecker stated that based on an on-site inspection conducted on Oct. 18, "this office has determined that the addition under construction is encroaching further on the side yard setback that what was approved by the zoners."

Upon discussions with the contractors, property owners and review of the permit files, Dellecker stated that zoning permit number 4922 was rejected by this office on July 24. The rejection letter stated "You propose to erect an addition that is 29'-by-11'6" to the existing single family dwelling" and "The plan, as submitted, indicates a 9-foot, 6-inch setback from the side property line for this addition."

In addition, Dellecker noted that a zoning hearing application was filed seeking relief from the side yard setback requirements of Section 307. A of the borough zoning ordinance; a zoning hearing was held on Sept. 11, at which time testimony was received and a variance was granted for "a six inch intrusion into the side yard"; on Sept. 18, the office received a copy of the zoning board approval and issued permit #4922 for the addition; and on Oct. 18, the office responded to a complaint received indicating the excavation activity was closer to the side property line than approved on the issued permit.

"As a result, a verbal and this written stop work order are hereby issued, and permit #4922 is hereby revoked. Work conducted to this point is limited to excavation activity. No work on any portion of the structure has been started. Any further activity at 767 Columbia Avenue is done at the applicants own risk."

Dellecker further stated "it is apparent, based on a telephone conversation with the application on July 24, this office completed missing information on the zoning permit application. This was the basis for the permit denial."

In addition, Dellecker stated "it is also apparent that neither the applicant, nor builder, realized the denial letter and action of the zoning hearing board did not accurately reflect what they intended to accomplish with this addition."

Finally, Dellecker said "regardless, the documentation only reflects approval of a six-inch intrusion into the required 10-foot side yard."

Immediately afterward, the zoners are scheduled to conduct two other hearings: one for Harold Schisler/Arfan, Inc. Crematory, at 517-519 Delaware Avenue, which wants to create additional crematory capacity, and will request a special exception to section 113. C of the borough zoning ordinance; and the other, a variance request by Daryl and Marileese Lichtenwalner, who wish to convert a single family dwelling unit at 250 Lehigh Avenue into two one-bedroom dwelling units.

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