January 2016 Issue - page 1

Vol. 23 No. 1
Our 23rd Year
January 2016
LANC., PA 17604
Guide to Stables, Trainers
& Camps … pgs. 14-18
Check out our directory of public riding
stables in Pennsylvania ….pg. 20
Who knew? Pennsylvania is a hotbed of
Colorado Ranger Horses … pg. 8
Reform coming to state racing structure as
shut down is postponed …. pg. ??
…and much more!!!!
By Suzanne Bush
Newlin Township’s Board
of Supervisors has apparently
decided that more attorney fees
will solve the problems creat-
ed by the so-called Equestrian
Ordinance passed in Octo-
ber 2014. The Township has
retained two attorneys from a
West Chester law firm to meet
with Pennsylvania’s Senior At-
torney General Susan Bucknam.
Bucknam had notified the Su-
pervisors in November that the
Equestrian Ordinance violates
the state’s 2005 Agriculture,
Communities and Rural Envi-
ronment Act (ACRE), and that
the state was prepared to bring
legal action to prevent enforce-
ment of the ordinance.
The ordinance at issue,
passed unanimously by the
three-person board of super-
visors, makes a distinction
between a commercial and
a private equine facility and
creates several regulations for
those farms that are deemed to
be commercial. The ordinance
requires a commercial operation
to have three acres for the first
horse and two acres for each
additional horse on the proper-
ty—the so-called “3 and 2 rule”.
Additionally, the ordinance
places restrictions on the size
and location of indoor arenas,
limits outdoor equine activities
to daylight hours and mandates
off-street parking.
The rural Chester County
township is home to many of the
country’s most accomplished
equestrians, who felt their liveli-
hoods and property values—and
even the rural nature of the
township--were threatened by the
Laura Shannon of Heather Hill Farm intro-
duced the Concerned Citizens of Newlin Town-
ship and its spokeswoman, Susan Hoffman.
“It’s just more money going to defend an ill-ad-
vised ordinance,” Susan Hoffman said about the
Township’s response to the Attorney General.
Newlin Township
Lawyers Up
No Action, No Comment
At the December 14th meet-
ing, Supervisors Chair Janie Baird
announced that in the six weeks
since receiving Bucknam’s letter,
no action had been taken, and the
board would have no comments
on the issue. “Our solicitors were
given a copy of the Attorney Gen-
eral’s letter and they have reviewed
the letter and will be discussing
with the board tonight in executive
session,” she said. “Since this is a
legal issue, the board will not com-
ment on the content of the Attorney
General’s letter at our regular meet-
ing tonight nor address the way
forward. When we have something
to share with you we will do so.”
Baird did not respond to a
phone call and two email requests
for information in the days after
the meeting. But the silence from
the Board of Supervisors has not
discouraged residents from speak-
ing out and seeking solutions.
“They’ve Lost Our Trust”
The residents who opposed
the ordinance formed a commit-
tee called Concerned Citizens of
Newlin Township, to help coor-
dinate responses to this ordinance
and other actions the Board of
Supervisors might take. Susan
Hoffman, the group’s spokesman,
said they are curious about why
the Supervisors hired additional
lawyers, at township expense,
when the township already has a
solicitor paid to represent its inter-
ests. "They (the Supervisors) say
they don’t have money for things.
They can find money for things
they want to find money for.”
She says her group is confused
about why the Supervisors are not
being more forthcoming with infor-
mation, and why they don’t accept
the most obvious solution as far as
this ordinance is concerned. “I don’t
know if the township’s goal is to
try to save this ordinance, or to see
if they can bow out as gracefully as
possible. Susan Bucknam made it
very clear how the township could
fix this.” TheAttorney General’s
letter was partly an effort to point
out the ordinance’s deficiencies,
and partly an offer to the Township
for some kind of dialog that might
alter the ordinance so that it com-
plies with state law.
(Continued on page 26)
(Continued on page 6)
Stable/Trainer issue!
Editor’s note: As we pre-
pared to go to press we received
the following letter from the
Newlin Township Supervisors.
The Newlin Township Board
of Supervisors seeks to respond to
newspaper articles and editorial
comments that incorrectly cite
the facts concerning the adop-
tion of Ordinance 2014-01. This
Ordinance amended the Newlin
Township Zoning Ordinance by
adding a use for a “commercial
equine activity” and clarifying the
regulations applicable to eques-
trian boarding when conducted as
an accessory use to a residential
dwelling. In response to a resident
complaint about a potential new
Newlin Township Supervisors Respond
boarding facility in the Town-
ship, the Board retained special
counsel, MaryAnn Rossi, Esquire,
from MacElree Harvey, and a land
planner, Ray Ott, from the West
Chester based planning firm to
craft amendments to the Zoning
Ordinance that are authorized by
the Pennsylvania Municipalities
Planning Code and adhere to state
and federal laws. The Township
sought the expert advice on ap-
propriate zoning amendments that
allowed the boarding of horses
in the Township as an incidental
and secondary use to a residential
dwelling, as well as a separate
principle commercial use of land.
The amendment was designed to
allow the boarding of horses and
other equestrian activities with
reasonable regulations that are
aimed at protecting neighboring
property owners and preserving
1 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,...32
Powered by FlippingBook