The Zoning Hearing Board will hold a public meeting on Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at New Hope Borough Hall to consider variances requested by real estate developer George Michael regarding a riverfront residential structure he wants to build at 10-14 East Randolph Street in New Hope. The parcel currently serves as a parking lot.
Michael has requested the following variances from the New Hope Borough Zoning Ordinance: (1) from §275-62A to permit a non-conforming building to extend along the same plane of non-conformity as the existing structure for a distance exceeding 10 feet; (2) from §275-31 to allow a rear yard setback distance of six feet, instead of the required 15 feet for portions of the proposed building; (3) from §275-31 to allow a front yard setback distance of four feet instead of the required 10 feet; (4) from §275-22.C.4.a to permit the location of an in-ground swimming pool in the front yard of the property and to permit a setback distance of four feet instead of the minimum required 20 feet; and (5) from §275-31 to permit a building height of 41 feet, instead of the maximum 35 feet.
While no one can predict how Zoning Hearing Board members will greet the application for variances by Michael, that final request to exceed the existing maximum allowable building height by six feet is sure to draw scrutiny, as it sets a significant precedent for the entire borough.
In 2011, the Zoning Hearing Board turned down a request for variances by a proposed restaurant at 46 N. Main St. amid neighborhood opposition. Among the exceptions requested in that application was to have the interior floor of the structure raised by six feet to comply with flood plain regulations.