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Dog Breeders Get Permit, But with Conditions

Dog Breeders Get Permit, But with Conditions
BY Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, September 21, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY- A Delaware Township couple who is certified to breed show dogs and preserve certain lines of pedigrees was granted from the township Board of Supervisors at their meeting last week a conditional permit from the zoning office after a neighbor complained about noise from the 20 dogs on their property.

Elisabeth Cologne-Szymanski and husband James Szymanski were at the meeting to heat the supervisors’ response from a correspondence earlier this month when their attorney, Charles Geffen of the Geffen Law Firm in Philadelphia, contacted township Solicitor Thomas Farley on the issue concerning their property on Meadow Ridge Acres Road. The neighbor also attended the meeting.

The couple declined comment afterward because they said their attorney was handling the permit, but they appeared satisfied with the outcome, which specifies 10 conditions in the permit.

“We tried to reach a compromise between the dog owns and their neighbor,” said Farley.

Farley said a key element was the township determining that the couple’s property is not a kennel, a category that falls under township ordinance.  The main point, all sides agreed, was the time allowed for the dogs to be outside; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. except during the months of May through September when dogs can be let out starting at 6:30 a.m.  The permit also requests a stockade wood fence to be built around the back of the property facing the neighbor, to reduce sound. 

We only let them out when they have to get out (to go to the bathroom), which is more than once a day” said Cologne-Szymanski. 

She is President of the Borzoi Club of Greater New York, a district of the American Kennel Clubs, and is former president of the Borzoi Club of Delaware Valley.  Her husband is recording secretary of the Borzoi Club of Greater New York. 

The Borzoi Club is described on the website as a guardian of the elite lines of pedigrees.  The couple also is reminded in the 10 points of the permit to abide by the laws of the Commonwealth on dogs and that they cannot board any dogs other than the ones they specifically own, which prohibits establishing a kennel on the property. 

In other meeting news, the board unanimously agreed, after research by Farley, to no longer require the presence of township Constable Ed Hammond at township supervisor meetings unless specifically requested by the township or if circumstances warrant it.  Hammond had been assigned, with pay, for the past two years as a security precaution after the fatal shooting of a supervisor by a resident at a supervisors meeting in Ross Township of Monroe County. 

Also, the board accepted the resignation of Thomas Ryan as a member of the township Planning Board, effective Sept. 5.  Ryan submitted a letter of interest and was approved for the position earlier this year, a few weeks after he had resigned his position at the beginning of the year as a member of the Board of Supervisors.  In both cases, he said he resigned to allow himself more time for his retirement as a contractor.  The board plans to advertise for letters of interest for the Planning Board. 

“A lot of issues are resolved by that commission before they come to the board,” Farley said, recommending that the seat be filled soon. 

The board also accepted recommendation by Farley to have the contracting company involved to remove the Gravity Rail at Akenac Park and refund the township the $14,940 cost.

“We had some issues with the Gravity Rail and entered an agreement in June and if problems continued, that the company remove and get the money back (to the township) and it’s come to that point,” Farley said. The Gravity Rail, even with the replacement of wheels by the contractor, was not sliding smoothly on an overhead rail with the momentum of the weight of the child sitting on it. 

Also, the board after discussion approved an Oct. 6 date from 7-9 p.m. for its budget workshop.  Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson questioned whether it would be better to convene on that issue after the General Election when two expiring seats of supervisors who resigned would be filled.  He said the interim supervisors now serving may not be serving in the future and interim supervisor Jane Neufeld pointed out afterward that, although running unopposed in November, she could lose to a write-in candidate.   Ron Hough suggested that the board hold two meetings, the one in October and another one in November where the budget could be fine-tuned with the newly elected supervisors, and the board agreed. 

Captain Mary Lou Corbett of the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corp asked the township during public comment period for assistance with expenses.  “We have an ambulance down and need help,” said Corbett, who said one ambulance needs a $30,000 repair for engine and transmission and another has a $900 bill for a compressor because the engine keeps shorting out and it has to be started in the ambulance building and kept on during calls.  Corbett said each ambulance has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer.  Henderson asked for financial records for the ambulance corps and said the board would discuss the matter at the next meeting.  At the workshop prior to the meeting, supervisors discussed the update on the installation of new piers (concrete footings) to replace the deteriorating ones at the Akenac Park Recreation Hall.  Hammond, a township employee associated with the project, said that 17 of the 64 were done, covering 122 manhours of labor, and another four would be installed before the onset of winter seasonal weather that would deter the work.  The supervisors said that, because the hall would not be used much during the winter, it would be best to complete the work in the spring. 

Supervisors during the workshop discussed attendance at the Annual Convention of Township Officials of Pike County 9 a. m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 6 at The Inn of Lackawaxen.  The $200 admission fee allows for no more than nine officials from the township and the Township Administrator Krista Predmore said she did not think Delaware Township would have more than nine people attending.  Neufeld objected during the workshop discussion to participating in a new Census Form available to municipalities, saying that it did not apply to population figures but to other matters.  “There are really strange questions in it for municipalities to address.  It costs a lot of money and I’m not in favor of it,” Neufeld said. 

The board also discussed during the workshop the Akenac Park Electrical Plan and approving schematics for wiring from the lifeguard station to the bathrooms and then to the cabins.  Predmore questioned whether or not to continue in the lines to the cabins if they are not being used during the park events.  Henderson suggested that the circuit breaker panel needs to be redone.  “If we do that, we need to go underground with the wires because if you do it, you do it right,” said Henderson, recommending a cost estimate.  The supervisors recommended that the amp box be in compliance with the amp power of the circuits. 

The board discussed operating hours for Akenac Park during the off season, saying it has been closing at 7 p.m., and Henderson recommending it close by 3 p.m. before dusk with the onset of shorter days and for the park to be closed on weekends.  Board members raised the question on how it would affect operation of the library at the park and whether its volunteers would have access to opening the gate on other hours in which it is open. 

During the announcement segment, the board pointed out that the annual Harvest Festival at Akenac Park takes place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 23. 

The township Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors joint public hearing takes place 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, during the next Board of Supervisors meeting for land development and conditional use on the Birchwood Lakes Community Association maintenance building on Tamarack Road and Evergreen Drive. 


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