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Couple seeks permission to keep horse

August 14, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

A Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., couple is asking the Washington Township Planning Commission for special permission to keep a horse on their property in a wooded section of the township - a practice prohibited in areas zoned forest conservation.

The application for conditional use was filed by Robert M. and Helen E. Bryant of 13207 Buena Vista Road. The commission scheduled a public hearing on the Bryants' request for Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

Public hearings are required by the zoning ordinance on conditional use requests.

According to Gerry Zeigler, zoning enforcement officer, township fathers adopted the forest conservation ordinance to protect woodlands, mostly those in the township's mountainous eastern section in the Blue Ridge Summit area.

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The zoning regulations require a minimum of four acres of existing cleared land. "Not many forest areas come with four acres of cleared land," Zeigler said.

"People used to buy land in wooded areas, then clear the trees off to make room for their horses," he said. "Horses were banned in wooded areas because of complaints and to protect the woodlands."

"Some people object to living near property where horses are kept," he said.

The ordinance also requires that the slope of the land where horses are kept not exceed 4 degrees.

"No one remembers why the ordinance was adopted in the first place," Zeigler said. "We're trying to let people use their open land the way they want and still protect wooded areas of the township."

Zeigler said the conditional-use clause requires that the Bryants, who have four acres of cleared land, tell the commissioners how many horses they plan to keep on the property. "They can have more than one if the planning commission and the Township Supervisors approve the conditional use," Zeigler said.

The Bryants could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The planning commission accepted the Bryants' request at its meeting Monday night.

The commissioners also voted to recommend approval of a request from Capital Camps to close the existing entrance on Old Route 16 and replace it with a new entrance on Pa. 16.

That road, which leads up the mountain from Rouzerville, Pa., to Blue Ridge Summit, is being widened to include a climbing lane by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways. The work is expected to be completed by spring, Zeigler said.

The 80-year-old, 267-acre Capitol Camps is between Old Route 16 and Pa. 16.

Headquartered in Baltimore, the camp caters to about 600 children each summer from Jewish communities in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It also is available for private retreats.

The new entrance will be opposite the road leading to the township's recycling center. It will include a welcome center.

The camp is undergoing a $13 million renovation, which is expected to take from two to three years to complete, a camp spokesman has said.

The commission members approved the new entrance, saying it will be safer for vehicles entering the camp off Pa. 16, which will be four lanes in that section, rather than the current entrance, which is on a curve on Old Route 16.

In another action, the commissioners voted to recommend that the township supervisors approve a request from Giant Foods, owner of Martin's Food Market in Wayne Heights Mall, to build a self-serve fuel island in the parking lot between Hardee's and M&T Bank.

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