JMB Transportation, a trucking company, got approval from the Forks Township Zoning Board to relocate from Gun Club Road in the Nazareth area to 1600 Uhler Road in Forks, across from the Tatamy Borough Park.
Janusz Skiodowski, owner of the Upper Nazareth Township trucking company, wants to buy the property so that he no longer has to rent his current facility, but the Uhler Road property isn’t zoned for trucking.
Skiodowski was asking for a variance to allow the use, but in the end, he didn’t need one.
The current owners, Charlene and Peter Nicholasen, operated Pan Companies, a construction, paving and excavating company from the commercial building on the property from 1986 to 2011. They had needed a variance for their construction company because that business did not conform to the zoning either.
The property was zoned light-industrial/manufacturing in 1984. Since then, the area has also fallen under historic preservation zoning regulations.
Michael Shay, the Zoning Board attorney, told the members that their ordinances do not address a change from one non-conforming use to another non-conforming use. He said that anyone seeking such a change would have to show that a variance is needed due to hardship.
Charlene Nicholasen said the hardship is due to the historic preservation corridor zoning.
“We weren’t even aware of it,” she said.
Gregory DeNardo, owner of Bi-State Construction located next door, also told the zoning board that the historic zoning is a hardship. He rents out buildings on his property to a fertilizer company and a doctor’s office.
DeNardo came to the meeting in support of JMB Transportation.
“It’s a hardship for [JMB] and a hardship for myself,” DeNardo said. “If my tenant, the fertilizer company, ever decides to leave, the zoning makes it extremely difficult for me to rent my property [to a different type of business].”
Skiodowski explained to the zoning board that like the businesses operated by the Nicholasens and DeNardo, he also operates a business using large trucks. Instead of construction vehicles, he has 10 tractor-trailers. Two of the trucks are used for short-haul trips; the rest go out on long-haul trips, he said.
Skiodowski said he employees 10 truck drivers, four office staff personnel and another five truck drivers who have their own tractor-trailers.
The property has a structure with 5,000 square feet for garage and maintenance space and about 2,500 square feet for office space. According to Weichert Realty’s web site, the property was listed at $625,000.
As the board discussed the variance, Tim Weiss, the Forks Township Zoning Officer, suggested that if the business was categorized as a truck terminal rather than a transportation company, then it would be considered a permitted use under the ordinance.
The board decided to categorize the business as a truck terminal, which will allow the deal to go through.