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An application for a special exception to develop an equestrian therapy facility for military veterans on a portion of the former Quentin Riding Club will come before the township zoning hearing board on Tuesday, March 19.

The hearing to be held at the Quentin Fire Hall will begin at 6 p.m., township engineer Jeff Steckbeck informed supervisors Monday.

Riding academies and public, semi-public or private stables are a permitted use in the mixed-use overlay district – which includes the former riding club – if a special exception is approved by the zoning hearing board.

Read More: Equestrian therapy services floated for historic Quentin Riding Club site

As proposed, the equestrian therapy facility will be located on about 16 acres of the 46-acre site at the intersection of state routes 72 and 419. While the design of the facility has not been finalized, it is expected to include a two-story structure with an indoor arena, meeting space, gym, horse stalls and caretaker’s apartment, according to application documents.

Other possible site improvements include walking trails, fenced-in pasture areas with walk-in shelters for between six and eight horses, and a parking lot with 50 spaces, according to the narrative provided by the applicant Louie Hurst, owner of Quentin Associates LLC, the developer of the site.

A single-family lot north of the Maple Lane and Route 419 intersection that had been shown on previous preliminary site plans has been removed to provide space for parking. Maple Lane will provide all access to the facility, according to application documents.

In a telephone interview in January, Hurst had expressed his hope to develop an equine therapy facility on part of the site after he learned about a similar program for military veterans from a television show. 

Read More: Equestrian therapy services floated for historic Quentin Riding Club site

“There was a veteran who had gone through an equine therapy program who said it had saved her life,” Hurst said.

That inspired Hurst to reach out to the Building Bridges Foundation at Anderson Farm in Conestoga, which operates an equine therapy facility for veterans.  Hurst is in discussions with the nonprofit Building Bridges to operate the proposed program at the former riding club, according to the application for special exception.

Besides equine therapy, the facility also aims to provide weekly opportunities for veterans and staff to gather for socializing, therapy and support in a dedicated Vets Café.

Most of the activities at the facility will be during the week and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. although evening programs may occur as happens at Building Bridges, according to the application narrative. 

Aerial shot of the former Quentin Riding Club property in West Cornwall Township. (Will Trostel)

This is the third application for a special exception for the development of the former riding club. Last fall, the zoning hearing aboard approved a special exception for age-restricted apartments and another for a Wawa convenience store.

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Should the zoning hearing board approve the application for an equine therapy facility, Quentin Associates will submit a plan of development for the entire 46-acre site. This will come before supervisors as part of the conditional-use process.

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