By a 3-2 vote, Conoy Township supervisors voted to approve plans for a dog adoption center after their solicitor told them it would be very difficult for him to defend a denial in court.
Supervisors John L. Shearer, Kevin S. McKain and Chairman Stephen L. Mohr voted to approve the plan for Almost Home Dog Adoption, which wants to build a 24,600-square-foot building with 62 parking spaces on a 12-acre lot at the intersection of River Road and Prescott Road. Supervisors Clyde H. Pickel and Vice-Chair Gina R. Mariani voted against it.
Solicitor Matthew J. Creme Jr. told supervisors at their meeting on Monday, Jan. 7, that they were required to act that night on the subdivision and land development plan along with the requested modifications. He said the township could reject the plan only if it cited a section of an ordinance that the plan violates and nobody had found any.
Creme said the supervisors could reject modifications, but a court would then rule on whether the township was reasonable in doing so. He noted that the modifications had been reviewed by the township planning commission, the county planning commission and the county engineer with no problems found. He said rejecting the modifications would result in more water pollution and would require a driveway to exit directly onto state Route 441, which would be more dangerous than the plan to have it exit to a less busy road. He said it would be hard to get a court to rule that such a rejection is reasonable.
“I would have a difficult time defending your denial,” Creme said.
Mariani noted that the well water is not safe for human consumption and she wanted assurance that it will be treated before it is given to dogs to drink. Creme said no ordinance regulates water given to animals and noted that the tap water in the township building is not safe to drink, but there is nothing stopping a dog from drinking from a toilet bowl.
A number of people spoke of concerns about barking nuisances. Representatives of Almost Home promised that dogs would be kept indoors at night and would get plenty of exercise during the day so they would be tired and sleep through the night.
In other business, the township went through the annual organization required by state law, keeping the same people as last year for all positions and voting to give township employees who are not elected officials a 3 percent raise. They voted to keep the previous year’s rate of $19.03 per hour for township supervisors working as township employees; that is subject to approval by the board of auditors.
Conoy Township supervisors normally meet on the second Thursday of the month, but state law requires all townships to meet on the first Monday of the new year, unless that day is a legal holiday, in which case the meeting is held the next day.