Exception for kennel plan OK'd
By Duane Good, EDITOR
UPPER PAXTON TWP. • The township Zoning
Hearing Board, April 7, voted unanimously to grant a zoning
ordinance Special Exception to resident John E. Riehl, who had
applied to build and operate a commercial kennel for the breeding
and sale of dogs.
Approval of an exception was necessary because the
proposed kennel is in a portion of the township zoned as
Riehl is required to operate
under state Department of Agriculture regulations for commercial
kennels, and he also has not submitted a land development plan to
the township as of this time.
As of press time April 13, the Sentinel could not
confirm whether Riehl has applied for license.
Although many people who attended the hearing
expressed displeasure at the board’s ruling, the newspaper also has
not received any confirmation of a legal challenge, also as of April
The board’s April 7 hearing was the second on the
topic of Riehl’s exception request.
Riehl had made his original application in late 2014.
His request was the topic of an initial ZHB hearing March 10. The
board scheduled a second hearing after consulting with its solicitor
and decided that it needed more time to review testimony presented
at the initial session.
As reported previously in the Sentinel, the proposed
4,280 square-foot structure would include space for:
• Fifteen whelping pens, each 6-by-8 feet in size.
• Three puppy pens, each 10 feet, eight inches-by 12
feet in size; and three outside runs, each 10’8”-by-24 feet in size.
• Six 14-by-14 foot dog pens; and seven 14-by-20
An office and washroom/restroom facilities also are
included in the building proposal.
Heat and air-conditioning will be part of the
facility, according to Riehl’s application, which is on file at the
township office. The application also states that the building will
include a concrete foundation and floor; wood frame; and metal roof
and siding; flooring for the outside run areas will be rubber
At the March 10 hearing, Riehl said he planned to
breed and sell golden retrievers. He also testified that a maximum
of 60 to 65 would be on the property at one time. He added that he
planned to abide by the proper standards for commrcial kennel
construction, amenities and operation.
Several people testified at the first hearing in
objection to Riehl’s proposal.
Six conditions attached. As in March, the April 7
hearing was held at Grace United Methodist Church. Last week’s
meeting was strongly attended; in addition to several residents,
representatives of the groups Paws for a Cause (a locally based
animal-welfare organization) and PACK (People Against Commercial
Kennels) also were in the audience.
Noting that the ZHB had received numerous documents
on the kennel top, board solicitor Michael Crocenzi recommended that
accepting into the record only those documents that would be
considered legal memorandums (i.e. documents based on testimony
given on record at the March 10 initial hearing).
‘‘I recommend not considering them; they would be
considered inadmissiable hearsay,’’ he told the board.
Crocenzi’s recommendation drew
vocal objections by some of the audience. Further objections were
raised when the ZHB stated that the only issue on the table was
whether Riehl’s exception request met, or failed to meet, the
standards set by the township.
In response, Crocenzi said, ‘‘If we continue to have
these outbursts, you will be asked to leave.’’
During its discussion of Riehl’s request, ZHB members
Laura Phillips (chairman), David Fralick and Michael Clark
(substituting for S. Kirk Miller) decided to attach the following
• Dogs could not be anywhere on the property lacking
adequate grass cover.
• Dogs would be permitted outside only between 7 a.m.
and 9 p.m.
• Riehl must submit a dog waste management plan in
writing to the township.
• No more than 20 breeding females are permitted on
site at one time. (Several audience members stood and applauded this
• Landscaping must be established on site to serve as
a barrier against excessive sound and odors emanating to neighboring
• Disposal of any carcasses must be off-site.
After confirming the six conditions, ZHB members
Phillips, Fralick and Clark voted to approve Riehl’s exception
request. Again, there was numerous negative reaction from audience