We recently sold some new construction to a young first time buyer. A couple of weeks ago she got notice of a zoning board hearing relating to her new home. Contacting the builder she was told not to be concerned and she did not need to attend.
Calling her Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Nick Vandekar, she asked my opinion. It was agreed that she should attend and I would attend with her.
Last night we sat through the meeting, as her case was the last item on the agenda. It was interesting to see how each situation was handled by the zoning board and also by the person submitting the application.
Firstly, a woman with her pool contractor, who already had permission to build a new swimming pool and install decking and paths, in that application it was mentioned that they would be moving the pool equipment, pump, heater etc., to a shed on the property. But it was not an actual part of that application and they had been advised to make a specific application for a variance as the shed sat only 4 feet from the edge of the property.
The board asked how big the shed was and if the equipment could be placed at the front of the shed. Which it could but would make the rest of the shed difficult to use. After some questioning and going into executive session their application was granted.
Secondly, another pool issue. This revolved around building a new pool and a cabana behind a property, but it involved disturbing some slopes considered steep from when the house was constructed in 2005. This applicant came prepared, an attorney, an engineer, lots of supporting plans, maps, documentation etc. However, the board seemed annoyed by the direction of the points being made by the attorney and stopped him, asking very pointed questions. After a long presentation, many questions were asked. Then after another executive session the board came back and making the point that one of the points about the ordinance to do with steep slopes is that disturbance is supposed to be kept to a minimum, and was this plan the very minimum the applicant could propose. The homeowner said yes he felt he could not build anything smaller. At which point the board rejected their application.
We were next up. Well not exactly us, more the builder. So the issue was three small points that arose on the as built inspection. The homes built, a very small project, were supposed to be built to 35 feet high. The as built inspection put them at 35.23 feet. There were two townhomes and each had a deck, both decks had supports which were within the set backs required, however the decks were cantilevered and the edges of the decks were 0.9 ft and 1.02 feet into the set backs required. So the builder was asking for a variance for these issues.
At this stage one of the board members started going on about how rules were there to be complied with and he felt that the decks could simply be cut back so they complied with the rules.
At this stage the meeting was opened up so I stood up to speak not as a witness but to make a comment. I mentioned how the township had granted a certificate of occupancy for both properties, and buyers and Realtors rely upon the accuracy of those certificates to move ahead and purchase the property. It would open a can of worms for the board to require post a sale that decks be cut shorter or the home be lowered by 0.23 feet.
After some further discussion among themselves the builder was granted relief from compliance and given variances for these issues. My client was very pleased, she got to keep her deck without any changes and she said how thankful she was that I came to the meeting.
Sometimes, you don't need an attorney, you just need a Realtor who speaks some common sense.
In the meantime if you are interested in some new construction in Berwyn, Tredyffrin Easttown, call Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line with Long & Foster Real Estate, office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543 email Nick@VandekarTeam.com, website www.SellingtheMainLine.com and watch the video below.
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