Zon­ing Hear­ing Board to con­sider Sat­terth­waite House vari­ance re­quest

The Advance of Bucks County - - FRONT PAGE - By D.E. Sch­lat­ter

LOWER MAKEFIELD — The board of su­per­vi­sors voted 5-0 on Feb. 20 to send the town­ship so­lic­i­tor to the March 5 Zon­ing Hear­ing Board meet­ing at which the two vet­eri­nar­i­ans who have pur­chased the town­ship-owned Sat­terth­waite House will ap­pear to ad­vo­cate for their zon­ing vari­ance re­quests.

“In a mat­ter of im­por­tance we want to par­tic­i­pate,” Su­per­vi­sor Chair­man Pete Stainthorpe said in ex­plain­ing the rea­son for hav­ing the town­ship so­lic­i­tor present.

In Oc­to­ber, the su­per­vi­sors voted 4-1 to ac­cept the lone bid of $255,000 for the 5.14acre prop­erty on Mir­ror Lake Road. The buy­ers, Drs. Amy Bentz and Brad Holm­sten, plan to ren­o­vate the run-down his­toric house, part of which dates to the 1730s, as well as the nearby barn.

The pro­posed large-an­i­mal ve­teri­nary clinic would be lo­cated within the 233-acre Pat­ter­son Farm along New­town-Yardley Road (Route 332) and Mir­ror Lake Road,

which the town­ship pur­chased in 1998 for $7.2-mil­lion.

The hus­band-and-wife cou­ple also in­tends to build an ad­join­ing house to live with their two chil­dren. Be­cause the prop­erty is cur­rently zoned R-1 res­i­den­tial, numer­ous zon­ing vari­ances would be re­quired.

De­spite the ma­jor­ity of su­per­vi­sors sup­port­ing the sale, the board still de­cided to have the so­lic­i­tor present to ob­serve the pro­ceed­ings.

The Sat­terth­waite sale has sparked com­mu­nity con­cerns, ZLWh QHLJhERULQJ UHVLGHQWV YRZLQJ WR fiJhW WhH SURSRVHG SURMect. Some op­po­nents have claimed that that al­low­ing a com­mer­cial ven­ture on the Sat­terth­waite prop­erty would af­fect ad­join­ing home val­ues.

Res­i­dent Donna Doan has launched an on­line pe­ti­tion drive against the zon­ing vari­ances and in fa­vor of preser­va­tion of the farm. So far, she has col­lected more than 300 sig­na­tures. The SHWLWLRQ FDQ EH DFFHVVHG DW ZZZ.FhDQJH.RUJ/SHWLWLRQV/WHll-RI­fiFLDlV-RI-lRZHU-PDNH­fiHlG-WRZQVhLS-EuFNV-FRuQWy-SD-SUHVHUYH­pat­ter­son-farm-now

Doan ar­gues that “pro­posed zon­ing changes will for­ever al­ter Pat­ter­son Farm and threaten its use for grow­ing food. The his­toric homes and barns,” she said, “should not be parceled off for sale, or be de­mol­ished, but should be re­stored as they are es­sen­tial to the farm’s con­tin­u­ing use for farm­ing.”

The sale had been held up for sev­eral months be­cause the vet­eri­nar­i­ans wanted to have more lee­way in restor­ing the prop­erty than the strict town­ship guide­lines which are based on the U.S. De­part­ment of the In­te­rior re­quire­ments. Th­ese in­clude us­ing des­ig­nated ma­te­ri­als to re­pair and ren­o­vate his­toric struc­tures.

The word­ing of the façade ease­ment on the his­toric struc­ture had also been an is­sue with the town­ship.

An in­de­pen­dent ap­praisal of the Sat­terth­waite par­cel in 2010 had pro­jected that at least $265,000 would be needed for “ba­sic re­pairs,” while an­other $400,000 to $600,000 would be re­quired to bring the farm­house and barn up to “liv­ing stan­dards.” The March 5 Zon­ing Hear­ing Board meet­ing is sched­uled for 7 p.m. at the town­ship build­ing on Edge­wood Road.

In other ac­tion at the Feb. 20 su­per­vi­sors meet­ing, at the urg­ing of Jim Bray, chair­man of the town­ship’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil (EAC), the su­per­vi­sors unan­i­mously ap­proved DSS­lyLQJ IRU D VRlDU JUDQW IURP WhH QRQ-SUR­fiW RUJDQLzDWLRQ 3HQQ Fu­ture.

If awarded, the money would be used to help Lower Make­fiHlG SUHSDUH DQ RUGLQDQFH FRYHULQJ WhH LQVWDl­lDWLRQ RI VRlDU pan­els on res­i­dences and busi­nesses.

While sev­eral neigh­bor­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have or are conVLGHULQJ VuFh lDZV, LRZHU 0DNH­fiHlG GRHV QRW hDYH RQH ZhLFh would gov­ern re­quired set­backs, heights and place­ment of so­lar pan­els.

“You don’t want to have some­one putting a 50-foot so­lar panel in their front yard,” town­ship so­lic­i­tor Jef­frey Gar­ton ex­plained.

“This hasn’t had an im­pact on the town­ship yet,” said Chair­man Stainthorpe, “but this is some­thing that we have to do in due time.”

In a 5-0 vote Feb. 20 the board also ap­proved ap­ply­ing for 3HQQD27’V SHUPLVVLRQ WR LQVWDll WZR flDVhLQJ VFhRRl zRQH signs on Quarry Hill Road near the Quarry Hill and Afton Ele­men­tary Schools.

At the same time, the su­per­vi­sors in­structed the town­ship man­ager to see if the Penns­bury School District would share the $15,000 cost of the signs.

The su­per­vi­sors also ap­proved spend­ing $4,300 a year for the next four years to host a county-spon­sored house­hold haz­ardous waste and elec­tron­ics drop-off.

The an­nual event, which has been ex­tremely suc­cess­ful in the past, al­lows res­i­dents to dis­card items such as: paints, sol­vents pes­ti­cides, house­hold clean­ers, auto prod­ucts and car bat­ter­ies; as well as elec­tronic equip­ment, in­clud­ing com­put­ers and TVs.

This year’s drop-off will be held in May, with a date to be an­nounced at a later time.

File photo by John Wil­liams

The Sat­terth­waite house off of Mir­ror Lake Road.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.