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Resident seeks to turn bar into three apartments

Published May 10. 2012 05:01PM

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

To that end, Jonathan Ammary will go before the borough's Zoning Hearing Board at 7 p.m. May 15 in search of a special exception and variance to add two apartments to the building at 590 Mauch Chunk Road.

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.

Ammary is in search of 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.

The request was previously denied by borough zoning officer Duane Dellecker.

In his rejection letter, dated March 29, Dellecker noted the property is located in an R-2 (Residential-Medium Density) zoning district.

Dellecker also stated in his letter that "being as the former use was not a permitted use, the use becomes nonconforming. Both the existing and proposed uses, not being permitted, makes this application a change of one nonconforming use to another."

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.

"The application, as submitted, did not indicate the existing lot size to allow this office the opportunity to adequately evaluate compliance with this requirement," he said. "However, 12,000-square-feet of land would be required to accommodate the requested number of apartments."

Another section of the zoning ordinance addresses the conversion of existing buildings and requires dumpster screening, Dellecker said in his letter. The applicant will need to address this issue, he said.

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. The application, as submitted, does not address this issue, Dellecker said.

"When we previously spoke, I indicated a need to supply a site plan of the property showing existing and proposed layouts for off-street parking and building location," he said. "Also, interior layouts of each floor showing existing and proposed apartment units, sizes, means of ingress and egress. This information was not supplied."

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