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Single home can be converted into two one-bedroom units

Published December 14. 2012 05:03PM

A Palmerton couple may convert a single family dwelling into two one-bedroom dwelling units.

That was the ruling unanimously agreed upon by the borough's zoning hearing board on Thursday, which granted Daryl and Marileese Lichtenwalner a variance for the conversion.

The couple wants to convert their single family dwelling unit at 250 Lehigh Avenue, located in an E-2 (Medium Density Residential) Zoning District, into two one-bedroom dwelling units.

Daryl Lichtenwalner told the board the reason for his request was financial. He said he has an older uncle who lost his job, lost his house, and now lives with Lichtenwalner's mother.

Lichtenwalner said he would like to rent it out, and would offer it to his uncle at a heavily discounted rate so that he could afford it.

"It wouldn't change the appearance of the house," Lichtenwalner said. "I have plenty of off-street parking, and plenty of living space."

Several neighboring property owners spoke in favor of Lichtenwalner's request.

Resident Manny Guedes said "I don't have an objection."

Neither does resident Bonnie Beers, who told the board "I have no objection either. I think it would be great."

Jason Beers also voiced his support for Lichtenwalner.

"I have no objections to it," Jason Beers said. "I think it would be feasible to low income people."

In his rejection letter, borough zoning officer Duane 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 said.

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 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.

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