Yarnall sued the Honey Brook Borough Zoning Board over its refusal to allow him to expand his business into a neighboring parcel of land owned by a Mr. Stoltzfus. Borough Solicitor, Bill Keen said, "The business sells trailers on a parcel of land it purchased, but it expanded onto the Stoltzfus property behind him. We're saying you can't expand your business beyond your property boundaries.'
The Shenkin ruling holds grave implications for Honey Brook and other municipalities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The borough council warned that unless the Shenkin decision were appealed it would undermine their authority to pass zoning ordinances in the borough. "The decision involved a lot of creative lawyering,' Keen said.
Keen informed council that an appeal of Shenkin's decision would cost the borough approximately $5,000. He said, "The testimony is locked into the Shenkin decision. There will not be any more evidentiary hearings. We assure that you fight it right or wrong. The borough has no choice. If you lose the appeal you might as well kiss the town good bye.'
It will take 30 days for the borough to file an appeal in Philadelphia, and another six months for the issue to come to trial. The borough is unsure how long the appeals process will take. The board unanimously voted to bring an appeal against Shenkin's decision in Yarnall's favor within the next 30 days. Keen told Council, "I am not sure how long the appeals process will take.'
Council also considered the petition of Russell and Michal Jany to establish a four-unit subdivision in the borough. The couple currently owns two double homes in Honey Brook Borough, and they are currently seeking to obtain permission from the borough to subdivide their homes as four stand-alone units.
Russell Jany told Council, "We have been trying to make an application with the borough for our four unit subdivision, but we have been unable to determine what fee to pay for our sketch plan.'
Jany was unclear because the existing ordinance dates back to 1993 and is now somewhat dated in his opinion.
Michael Schuler of the Honey Brook Borough told council, "I was not sure whether or not the rate to charge for a four lot subdivision would be the same as a 10-15 lot subdivision. I am trying diligently to make the fee schedule for formal approval for such things as storm drainage and new roads.'
Jany told council that the 1993 ordinance specified a $100 fee plus $25 per lot, and that he had already written a $200 check. Borough council responded to Jany by granting approval of his $200 application fee.
Jany also expressed frustration that the borough engineer had applied a repealed zoning ordinance during the process of inspecting his sketch plan. A sketch plan is the first step that a building must take when seeking to obtain borough approval for land development.
In his opinion the borough ordinance allowed an individual to obtain a waiver for the preliminary plan and proceed to the final plan. Upon reviewing the ordinance, council recognized the accuracy of Jany's reading of the borough land use ordinance and voted unanimously to grant him a waiver to allow him to proceed to his final plan. The next step will be for the Chester County Planning Commission to review Jany's plan.
The borough council also heard resident concerns about Cingular wireless' plan to erect a cell tower in a borough park.
Michal Jany told Council, "I am opposed to the tower of the size in question because it would take up a lot of valuable recreational space.
"I do not think that the Cingular tower belongs in a residential area of the borough.'
She also voiced concerns about the potential for youth to injure themselves if they climbed on the shed in the area of the tower. She also reminded borough council that the possibility existed for high winds to knock the tower over damaging the borough's water tank.
The Honey Brook Fire Company reported to borough council that it would place its fire siren on a time preventing it from sounding between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. because they received pagers from the county. They said that they were doing their best to be reactive to community concerns.
Council also approved the fire company's plan to hold a boot day fundraiser over Memorial Day weekend in May and issued a reminder to borough residents that they must post their house number both on their home and mailbox.