Township law requires that 60 percent of steeply sloping tracts remain undisturbed. But the Seltzer plan for construction of a building and parking lot would have required the excavation of an estimated 70 percent of the tract.
John P. Rush, a real estate appraiser testifying on behalf of the developer, said that the Seltzer organization paid $570,000 for the land. If the developer cut the size of the building and parking lot to conform with the steep-slope restriction, he said, it would result in a financial loss.
Zoning board members, however, said that Seltzer could solve its problem by paying less for the land.
"So the answer may not be to grant a variance, but to go back and renegotiate the price," said board member Alan R. Gordon.
In another matter Wednesday, the board voted unanimously to grant a special exception and variance permitting the expansion of the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania, 801 Ridge Pike. The special exception permits the expansion, and the variance allows a reduction of the number of parking spaces from the required 205 to 153.
The Masonic Home intends to add two wings that will include apartments, rooms, an auditorium, dining room and medical offices. The expansion will add 106 beds to the existing 169 beds.
The board voted 3-1 to deny a variance for the construction of a welding business in a flood plain district at Washington and Cherry Streets. Board member Richard J. Kline voted against denying the variance.
The variance was requested by Joseph Trotter for the 9-acre site and was needed because, according to township zoning, no buildings may be constructed on a flood plain.
Also, the board voted 4-0 in favor of a special exception permitting parking in the front of an office complex on Militia Hill Road, west of Stenton Avenue. The variance was requested by the Campus Drive Associates.