ATV park request denied in Antrim Township

October 30, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Lester Horst's request to rezone his land so he could build an all-terrain vehicle park on his 45-acre Coseytown Road farm was denied on a 3-1 vote Tuesday by the Antrim Township Supervisors.

Horst became upset before the vote was taken. He asked, in a voice quaking with emotion in the crowded supervisor's meeting room in the Antrim Township Office Building, "Why all these lies, lies, lies. You guys are putting me out of business. You people have ruined my life, all because I want to help children."

Horst owns Horst Cycle Inc., an ATV and motorcycle repair shop and retail store at 4495 Coseytown Road.

He has said his ATV park would teach riders, especially younger ones, how to safely operate the open four-wheel-drive vehicles plus provide a safer place to ride than on local roadways.


The issue before the supervisors Tuesday was Horst's request to rezone his land from R-1 low density to R-2 medium density, which has a conditional use clause that allows some outdoor recreation. R-2 density would also allow Horst to build single- and multi-family housing on his land.

Horst's opponents were well organized in their fight against the ATV park. Earlier, they submitted a 230-name petition to the supervisors. They hired Chambersburg, Pa., attorney G. Bryan Salzmann to argue their case at a jammed, hotly debated Oct. 15 public hearing on Horst's plans at the Kauffman Community Center.

Opponents argued that the park would create noise and dust and would lower the value of their real estate.

Supervisors President Robert Whitmore allowed limited public comment Tuesday, provided speakers did not rehash what was said at the Oct. 15 hearing.

Bonnie Johnson, a supporter of Horst, said she grew up on Roberts Road, where many people drove four-wheelers. "We have ATVs in our area now. If he (Horst) builds houses, we'll have more traffic and pollution," she said Tuesday night.

Less than a dozen people spoke before Whitmore cut off the debate and asked for the vote.

Supervisor Larson Wenger said he considered all comments and reviewed notes from the public hearing. "I can see no justifiable reason to change the zoning," he said.

Supervisor Scott Diffenderfer made the motion to deny Horst's request. It was seconded by Whitmore.

Supervisor James Byers cast the dissenting vote. Supervisor B.J. Roberts was not present.

Diffenderfer said Tuesday's vote would have no bearing on a cease-and-desist order the supervisors filed against Horst earlier this month that said his repair shop and retail store violated township zoning laws. He was given 20 days to close his shop, according to the order.

That deadline has since passed. Township Administrator Ben Thomas said Tuesday that Horst and the supervisors met in executive session on the order and that the issue had not been resolved.

Attempts to contact Horst after the meeting were unsuccessful.

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