Horse ordinance goes before public Sept. 27

A horse ordinance created as a result of the Manor Road controversy — where three horses were kept on a fairly small lot, though they’ve now gone — will be up for comment at a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 in town hall.

The draft ordinance would govern “keeping of horses on residential property 1.5 acres or less.” It carries potential fines of $100 to $250 a day for violators.

The proposed ordinance was hashed out by a committee that included both horse owners and neighbors troubled by horses and horse odors. Discussions got  “pretty lively,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi told the Board of Selectmen on Sept. 6.

The proposed rule has a grandfather clause making “any owner who has successfully maintained horses for five or more years” exempt.

Among the proposed requirements are:

  • A minimum “usable lot area” of half an acre “used solely for the keeping of horses and that contains no steep slopes or significant rock outcroppings.”
  • A “run-in shed or enclosed building” that is “sized to simultaneously accommodate all the horses on the property.”
  • Fencing “installed and maintained to safely contain the horses on the property.”
  • Manure “regularly removed from the property to maintain a sanitary condition and minimize odor” with and the property’s “manure pile shall be a minimum of 15 feet from any property line…”
  • Property owners who receive written orders from the Director of Health pertaining to their horses may appeal within three days, or comply within 30 days,

After the feedback at next Wednesday’s hearing the selectmen could vote to send it to a town meeting, where voters would decide whether or not to adopt the ordinance.

The selectmen’s meeting starts at 6:30 in town hall, and if it’s business isn’t finished could resume after the two public hearings scheduled for 7:30 — one on the horse ordinance and another on the proposed acceptance of Ridgebury Cemetery by the town.