Sparta Zoning Board Debates Pool Variance Amid Concerns

The Sparta Zoning Board recently convened to deliberate on a significant variance application for the construction of a pool and patio on Forest Hill Drive, raising concerns about the project’s impact on neighboring properties and existing structures. During the meeting, the board and the applicant, Michael McKever, engaged in a discussion about the need for variances related to the side yard and the proximity of the proposed pool to the dwelling. The debate also focused on environmental considerations and construction responsibilities, culminating in the board’s conditional approval of the application.

McKever, alongside his professional engineer, sought relief from township zoning regulations for the side yard patio and pool dimensions, and the distance between the pool and the home. The application underscored a lack of usable space on the property, necessitating the requested variances. The board examined various aspects of the proposal in depth, including lighting, fencing, and the effects on neighboring lots.

One concern was the stability of a rock wall located on an adjacent property. The board’s attorney recommended conditions to address an encroaching fence and the integrity of this existing wall. The board’s professional, identified only as David, presented a report that provided an analysis of the existing conditions. He proposed conditions that McKever would need to adhere to, emphasizing the potential impact on the rock wall’s stability due to the pool’s construction.

The board scrutinized the submission of a revised plan for the project, noting confusion about whether the most current version had been reviewed. Specific details were requested, including the location of the water service line serving the property and the discharge point for the proposed pool equipment.


An important environmental consideration was the need for stormwater mitigation for the pool and patio. The board suggested the construction of a dry well, which would align with township requirements. Additionally, the board underscored the necessity for approvals from the township construction official, a soil erosion permit, and the county health department, pointing to the comprehensive regulatory framework governing such developments.

A board member, whose identity was not confirmed from the transcript, raised issues about the risks associated with the construction of the pool, especially its proximity to the existing rock wall. The member emphasized the responsibilities McKever would have in ensuring the project did not adversely affect the wall’s stability or encroach on neighboring property boundaries.

Ultimately, the board conditionally approved McKever’s application, stipulating the relocation of the existing fence off the neighbor’s property and the submission of an as-built plan upon completion of the project. In an unusual move, McKever waived the right to a written resolution, a step that allowed him to proceed with the project without delay, foregoing the formal process of the board memorializing its decision in writing.


The deliberation of McKever’s pool and patio project was a central focus of the meeting.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.


Zoning Board Officials:
Kenneth Laury, Michael Leondi, John Finkeldie, Richard Rohrbacher, Richard LaRuffa, Mark Scott, Landon Tanyeri

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