West Cocalico residents dogged by kennel conditions

By on June 29, 2016

Puppies barking outside “all night” at a nearby kennel had neighbors questioning municipal ordinance laws at the June 21 West Cocalico Township meeting.

“We’re waiting for Mr. Stoltzfus to comply with the zoning variance, it’s been since Feb. 18 that he got the variance and he hasn’t complied yet,” said Bonnie Iwanowski who lives on Wollups Hill Road and is a neighbor of Benuel Stoltzfus.

The supervisors said they were “unaware or what stage” Stoltzfus was in compliance with the ordinance set in place because of previous complaints and violations.

“It’s really a nuisance to us, the dogs bark constantly,” said Iwanowski. “We cannot sit outside and enjoy our yard and pool. I implore you to change the zoning ordinance so that they have to have a bigger property to have these dog kennels.”

Supervisor Chairman James J. Stoner asked Carolyn Hildebrand, township manager, how long Stoltzfus has to meet the requirements.

“Two years,” said Hildebrand. “He didn’t realize all the requirements for a commercial building,” said Hildebrand.

“That may be a little excessive,” said Stoner about the time condition.

“The poop piles are gone, that’s it,” said Iwanowski.

Neighbor Wendy Sweigart brought videos of the scenario and asked the supervisors if they wanted to see them.

“This is what I have to live with every day and night,” said Sweigart. “I can’t have my windows open, I can’t sit in my backyard. I don’t have air conditioning.”

Iwanowski asked if Stolzfus’s kennel can be shut down until he complies because “that would really get him moving quickly if he couldn’t be selling his puppies.”

Stoltzfus started the kennel “without any permits.”

“I know all about that,” Stoner said.

The supervisors will consult with their attorney.

“Until then, he can beat around the bush, and trust me, we’re familiar with that…I can’t talk for the zoning hearing board, but I really doubt they will change their mind,” said Stoner of the current ordinance.

“I don’t want to be a nuisance to you, we kept hoping he’d bring the dogs in at night,” said Iwanowski.

“Please remember, we did have the state there, and they saw it and had no objections,” Stoner said. “We’ve got to give him that two-year period.”

In other news, the supervisors will be looking to “amend the penalties part” of the existing burn ordinance for the township to “add the ability for the township to collect restitution for fire company services.”

This is being done to make tougher penalties for repetitive false alarms.

Supervisor Ray Burns weighed in on the issue:

“…They are sent an admin fee which would incorporate the restitution and an administrative fee and as long as they comply with that, they would not be subject to the violation part.

“Much like many municipalities that have false alarm ordinances, they send a letter saying ‘you’ve violated the ordinance, but if you pay this administrative fee…’

“Really, the idea is to reimburse the fire companies for time and services used for something that is a nuisance and caused by somebody that’s in violation.”

Michele Walter Fry welcomes your comments at michelewalterfry@gmail.com.

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