Zoning hearing board approves Stegmaier Mansion expansion and other city projects

By Jerry Lynott - [email protected]der.com | November 18th, 2015 7:55 pm - updated: 8:02 pm.

WILKES-BARRE — The success of the Frederick Stegmaier Mansion brought Joseph Matteo to City Hall Wednesday to ask to expand the sister property a few blocks away.

The city’s Zoning Hearing Board approved his request for a variance to add a social hall-banquet room to the Mary Stegmaier Mansion at 156 S. Franklin St.

“We need a bigger space,” Matteo said.

The Frederick Stegmaier Mansion at 304 S. Franklin St. already holds weddings and special events, but its size limits the number of guests, he said.

“It seemed like a natural progression if we could do another Stegmaier mansion,” Matteo said.

He declined to disclose the cost of the project and said construction would begin next year.

The board also approved three other items on the agenda for the regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

In all cases, Carl Naessig, John Bergold, John Yench, Hayden White and Edward DeMichele cast “Yys” votes.

William Everett received a variance to waive the 25 foot setback for a front yard down to 3 feet in order to build a single family home at 12 Gore St. He owns the adjacent property at 14 Gore St.

David Bertram presented his plans to build 120 self-storage units on a property on Simpson Street. The board waived the requirements for off-street parking and loading. The project still needs approval by the city’s Planning Commission.

Mark Leffler’s plan to convert an office building into a residence for six unrelated people was the only one of the four agenda items to meet with public opposition.

Leffler, a professor at King’s College McGowan School of Business, asked for a special exception to exceed the four-person limit for a communal dwelling housing unrelated people at 111 N. Franklin St. He said King’s students could be potential tenants.

Even though he lives out of town, Leffler said he would not be an absentee landlord. From Monday through Friday, he resides at the school’s President’s House at 124 S. Franklin St. Before board members voted, he encouraged them to check into the other properties he owns. “I take very good care of my properties,” he said.

By Jerry Lynott

[email protected]

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLNews