The hearing for the zoning variance requested by Ardmore Moravian Church has been continued to the March 4, 2004 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting. Questions led to two problems with the site plan filed for the vaiance request.
The problems with their site plan were as follows:
1) In 1990, AMC got a parking variance. They put in twelve spaces, which is the parking lot on Hawthorne Road. They had to get a variance waiving the twenty additional spots the law requires them to have. When land is developed, property must be brought up to current code or variance granted. They got this variance for the twenty spaces. The 1990 site plan called for paving the empty lot at a future time. They never paved the lot and the law changed requiring them to put a fifteen-foot buffer around the perimeter of their property should new development be occur. They were trying to use the 1990 variance to get around having to buffer that part of the property. There is no provision in the law for this. Since they did not put the parking in before the law changed, they UDO states it should be buffered. Part of their current request is to waive this buffer. If the buffer is required they do not have enough room to devlop this lot as a parking lot. Buffering the lot allows the immediate neighbors to retain a residential quality of their own property. A second neighborhood concern is the large amount of increased water run-off that would directly affect several yards should the lot be paved.
2) The site plan also included the residentially zoned home that they have rented until recently as part of their campus square footage. Inclusion of this residential lot would take a zoning change and that would have to go before The Planning Board. It is possible that rezoning that piece of property under its current use would require an amendment to our laws (The UDO). This square footage is import as the law changes that require them to put buffer yard around their property also allows for a sixty percent impervious surface (land that will not absorb water) ratio. If they go over 60% they must get a variance. The variance will allow 75%, but they must double their landscape buffer plantings. As their current variance is requesting a reduction buffer altogether and the buffer areas they have simply have little room for more buffer, such a variance is unlikely. They have not provided a square footage ratio on their site plan. If they build the two additions on the Stelter Haus, the rough estimate made by the zoning staff puts their impervious surface ratio at 59.58%. The Zoning staff requested those specifics as part of the plan before it be heard.