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Magistrate, wife mount legal challenge to zoners' approval of horse farm fence

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Feb 06 2013 10:59:58 PM CST
EASTON, Pa. -

A Northampton County district justice and his wife are mounting a legal challenge to a zoning board's decision that would allow a horse farm's fence near their property.

David Tidd, who is district justice for district court 03-2-04 at 1404 Walter St., Lower Saucon Twp., Northampton Co., and his wife, Vera Tidd, filed a civil suit against the Lower Saucon zoning board Wednesday in Northampton County Court.

The Tidds are asking the court to reverse the zoning board's 3-1 decision on Dec. 17, 2012, to grant Green Gables Investment Partnership a variance for a fence on a vacant 25-acre tract next to the Tidds' land at 1576 Courtney Court. The zoners issued their written decision on Jan. 11.

The Tidds' suit says the zoners abused their discretion and committed errors of law and that Green Gables' owner, Kathleen M. Mills, did not show why she should be granted a variance.

Court documents show that at the Dec. 17 zoning meeting, Mills said the land will be used for a horse boarding and riding business called Lucky Shoe Farms, adding that the business will be run by her daughter, Kathryn Mills, and son-in-law, Luke Dellmyer.

Township zoning rules require the fence be 100 feet away from neighboring property lines, but Green Gables' owner asked that the fence be permitted only 50 feet away, according to court documents.

The zoners were told that if Green Gables had to meet the requirement, six acres -- 25 percent of the property -- could not be used for pasture and corral areas, court papers say.

The Tidds and other neighbors spoke against the variance at the meeting, but the zoners decided to grant it to Green Gables because the 100-foot requirement was a financial hardship, court papers show.