The members of the East Marlborough Township Board of Supervisors spent a good portion of their monthly meeting Monday night refereeing a dispute among neighbors at the Willowdale Crossing subdivision that was complex enough to be used in a law-school classroom.

The problem centered on the home of Effie and Brian Nocenti, who submitted a plan to the township to build an addition and deck on their house at 861 Waverly Road. The plan was in accordance with the subdivision plan, and the Nocentis were issued a building permit and built the new structures.

But neighbors with homes near the Nocentis said when the original home was built on the corner lot 20 years ago, it was not oriented as it should have been. Currently the subdivision plan for the house requires only a 15-foot setback for the area in question, the actual rear of the house, while the ordinance that governs the subdivision would require a 50-foot setback.

Mark Benzel of the township planning commission said the original builders should have submitted a revised subdivision plan, making the house a nonconforming structure. "They should have resolved it," he said. "At this point it's not resolvable."

Township Solicitor Frone Crawford said that in his view the building permit was granted legally and there was no issue for the township to pursue. But the supervisors agreed to have township representatives go out to the home to take measurements to be sure the addition and deck were within the setback, even though decks can encroach into setbacks under township regulations.

The supervisors told the resident who said the ordinance prohibited the addition, even though it was legal according to the subdivision plan, that he should appeal the building permit with the zoning hearing board.

Ag zoning change

East Marlborough Township supervisors held a pre-meeting hearing to amend the ordinance governing the zoning in the agricultural preservation district. The amendment would permit lots of one-to-two acres and 10-to-20 acres to be subdivided from larger lots in a ratio in numbers that depended on the size of the original lot.

Sears property zoning

Supervisors also amended the conditional use order governing what sort of uses can be made of the property currently housing the Sears hardware store, pet supplies store, and dry cleaner on Route 1. Cuyler Walker, supervisors chairman, said the order as it currently read might be interpreted to only permit operation of a Sears store.

Walker said the amendment, requested by a potential buyer for the property, would include other uses such as retail stores, laundries and dry cleaners, educational uses for preteens, business and professional offices, indoor recreation such as fitness centers and outpatient rehabilitation or personal care.

The supervisors voted unanimously to permit most of the uses asked for, but excluded child care, saying the property was not suitable, especially because it did not readily accommodate outdoor activities for children.

Speed limit on Route 82

'The supervisors discussed the speed limit on Route 82 in Unionville with a resident who was concerned about traffic there. They said PennDOT had repeatedly said that under the agency's rules they would not reduce the speed, but Supervisor Richard Hannum Jr. said as a village resident he was also concerned about the traffic and would contact state legislators about the issue.

Marlborough or Marlboro?

The supervisors also talked about consistency of road names in the township when it came to the spelling of the word "Marlborough." They pointed out that the street in a small development called Marlboro Woods used the alternate spelling, and said it would be preferable to have the spelling be consistent throughout the township. They decided in the end to ask the residents if they would mind having the road name changed.

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