Delays Abound at Zoning Board Meeting

Continuances granted for office building, hotel, water tank.

It's back to the drawing board again for a man who wants to put up a professional office building on Garden Lane, after the Zoning Hearing Board didn't like the latest plan and the applicant's attorney requested a continuance to avoid rejection.

The board also granted continuances Thursday for applications for a proposed hotel and elevated water tank.

Zafar Chughtai was seeking several variances for a 3,600-square-foot office building on an irregularly shaped lot at 2953 Garden Lane, at Street Road.

Project attorney Tom Hecker explained that revisions have been made to the plan over about seven months and that the newest proposal reduced the building from two floors to one. The shape of the lot, he explained, makes development challenging, especially since there are two front yards.

Chughtai plans to demolish a dilapidated single-family house on the property that measures 1,874 square feet.

Board members Al Champion and George Seymour said they were concerned with the size of the proposed building. Champion also suggested the building be turned so it isn't so close to Garden Lane. But Hecker said that reconfiguration had already been reviewed and it would cause problems with the layout of parking.

The application also prompted opposition from neighbors. Pamela Carroll said she was speaking for several nearby residents in criticizing the impact the building would have on traffic and existing storm water management problems.

“I hear that they need a lot of variances but we're the ones who need relief,” she said. “This would have a very negative impact to our neighborhood.”

Hecker responded that his client was planning a “very upscale-looking building that would add value to the community,” and that anything planned on the odd-shaped lot would require numerous variances. He also explained that the project would require further township review of more detailed plans.

But faced with the board's objection to the building's size, Hecker requested the application be continued to allow the project engineer to make changes to the plan again. The board agreed, and expects to see a new proposal at its next meeting, April 7.

The board also granted two other continuances, without any review, to its April 7 session

One is for a plan for a hotel at Lincoln Highway and Old Street Road. Patch earlier reported the applicant is talking to several hotel chains in hopes of building an 80-85-room facility on the vacant 2-acre tract which used to be home to the Golden Horse Inn.

Hecker previously told Patch the required variances relate to parking and storm water management. The delay was requested so that talks with a concerned neighbor could continue.

The other continuance was for variances for a 2 million gallon elevated water storage tank at 3655 Street Road. Board attorney Ray McHugh explained that an agreement for the township to sell the land to Aqua America is still being negotiated.



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