May 29, 2013 —
LACKAWAXEN TOWNSHIP, PA — In the Republican primary election on May 21, Michael Mancino received 177 votes, incumbent Brian Stuart received 170 and Ronald Tussel Jr. got 63. With no Democratic candidate in the race, it seems likely that Mancino will replace Stuart on the township board in 2014.
The night before the election, Mancino and Stuart locked horns over a permit for the expansion of Mancino’s horse operation at the Vanderbeek Farm near Hawley.
The farm offers horseback rides and lessons to the public, and Mancino was seeking to add acreage he owns across Route 590, which would then allow him to add more horses to his 27-horse operation, and serve more customers. But because horses and riders would cross the busy road to get to new trials on the property, supervisors expressed concerns about safety. The matter also was discussed at a hearing on May 9, in which neighbors expressed concern about the location of the new trails and how close they would be to adjacent land.
Township Attorney Tony Waldron said that no written plans were submitted regarding either the crossing or the location of the trails, and, he said, “quite frankly that creates a problem in terms of how you render a decision.”
In response, Mancino said, “I don’t know if there was a specific request for a trail map. Right now it’s vacant land and we can trail-ride anywhere we want.”
Waldren responded that the neighboring property owners have a right to know where the trails would be located.
Stuart said, “You represented at the meeting that there would be trails,”
Mancino asked, “Is there any ordinance that says I can’t ride on the property line of my neighbor?”
Stuart answered, “You can ride anywhere you want.”
Waldron said, “But the business part changes that. When you bring in strangers to ride who don’t know the property.”
“But they’ll have trail guides,” Mancino countered.
The three also had a heated discussion about whether the highway horse-crossing location and procedure needed to be committed to paper or not. The discussion ended when Mancino asked for a break and left the meeting room to discuss the matter with his attorney.
When he returned, the board took up the matter once again, Mancino explained that the riding season is near, and if he is going to add more horses to his operation he needs to do it soon so that they could be trained in the three or so weeks before riding becomes very active.
Board members said they would approve the permit, provided that requested additional information be submitted to them in writing. Mancino said he would provide the written information.