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Plans for equestrian academy presented in Upper Makefield


A center for rehabilitating thoroughbred horses that would also serve as a small equestrian academy could be coming to Upper Makefield if a local landowner’s plans come to fruition.

Representatives for Holly Pond Partners, the entity proposing the venture, were before the township’s board of supervisors on Sept. 18 for a conditional use hearing, during which they outlined the plan.

Holly Pond wants to use two existing barns, containing a total of 31 stables, on a property at 43 Van Sant Road to establish a center for rehabbing thoroughbred horses. No breeding would occur.

According to testimony, the property’s stables would be used for the boarding of other horses as well. A proposed horse riding academy, which would likely make use of a riding ring on site, would operate too, offering 10 or so lessons per week, testimony indicated.

The stables would not host more than a maximum of 31 horses at any one time, said Eric Kretschman, the property owner and principal of Holly Pond.

Kretschman, who plans to live in a dwelling on the property with his family, said a professional who would lease the facilities from him would run the horse operation. Kretschman said his daughters’ horses will be boarded on site.

Ed Murphy, a lawyer representing Holly Pond, said there is no intention to build additional structures, expand impervious surface or hold events. Traffic to the property would be limited, and the property owner doesn’t intend to add any industrial or commercial lighting to support the horse operation, Murphy said. Hours of operation would be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“There is no interest in having any events,” emphasized Murphy, attempting to address some of the concerns of neighbors, who might have been worried about the potential for equestrian competitions, weddings and the like.

Animal waste – and its corresponding smell – was a concern, too. Kretschman said manure will not be spread, but rather stored in two dumpsters and removed from the property at least twice a month – more if necessary.

“We want to be good neighbors,” Kretschman said.

Dave Nyman, Upper Makefield’s township manager, said that zoning on the property permits a riding academy, but with conditions established by the board of supervisors following a hearing. Now that the hearing has occurred, the board has 45 days to determine the conditions under which Holly Pond could potentially proceed with its plan, he said.

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