Orange Twp. BZA grants variances

LEWIS CENTER — In 2022, the Orange Township Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) heard 19 cases, 16 were variances and three were conditional uses. Township Senior Zoning Officer Brett Wiemken said the Zoning Department had 674 permits in 2022 and more than $130 million in capital improvements.

After the election of officers earlier this year on Jan. 19, the BZA heard two cases, both involving the Estates of Glen Oak subdivision. In addition to the staff review, aerial photos of the properties are shown.

The first case was for a residential swimming pool that would encroach 40% into the township’s 35-feet rear-yard setback requirement. The applicant was asked if they had considered moving it closer to their existing patio to reduce the percentage of encroachment. The BZA explained the applicant could have their contractor modify the plan and either table or continue their request to a future meeting. This wouldn’t guarantee approval, however. A continuance was granted.

The second case was similar in nature, only with a swimming pool that would encroach 34% into the rear-yard setback. The BZA described both cases as “a substantial variance… anything over 25% (or 9 feet) is considered substantial.” It was also said that “every case is looked at separately. There’s different circumstances in every case … that’s one of seven conditions that we look at.” A continuance for the next meeting was also granted.

The two variance applications were heard again on Feb. 16 as old business.

The first applicant reduced the setback encroachment from 40% to 21%, and the design had the approval of the homeowners association. The second applicant reduced the encroachment from 34% to 25%, with HOA approval. The BZA unanimously granted both applicants’ variances.

Also on Feb. 16, a conditional use case was heard for the operation of a home occupation to a federal firearms licensee (FFL). The person said he had a full-time job, was a hunter/skeet- and trap-shooter and has been a Class 1 (single-shot) FFL for 30 years, which is a more formal way of selling/transferring firearms. He said there are thousands of FFLs across the country, but he expected only a few transactions per year, and they would involve background checks. He said since he was at a new address, he needed a new license issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and then it would need to be renewed every three years.

The BZA asked if he would provide a copy of his FFL license once it was approved, so the township would have it on record. The applicant agreed. The board then unanimously approved the home occupation.

The BZA consists of Chairman Aaron Shipley, Jr.; Vice Chair Kelvin Trefz; and members Stacey Neff, Sue D. Ross and Punitha Sundar. Wiemken presides over the meetings and provides an overview of each case. Also in attendance were Zoning Inspector Andrew Koenig and attorney Julia Donnan. The chairman swears in the witnesses (applicants) wishing to testify.

The proceedings are live-streamed. For more information, visit www.orangetwp.org.

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].