Selectmen: Horse ordinance needs more work

A proposed horse ordinance will need to be re-worked, possibly to include a wider range of animals, the selectmen concluded after a rambling two-hour public hearing Wednesday, Sept. 27.

“We should go back, regroup, and redraft,” Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark said at the end of the hearing.

“We’ll put something together and we’ll have another public hearing,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi agreed.

About 25 people, both horse owners and neighbors of horses — including those, now removed, that had caused problems in the Manor Road neighborhood — attended the hearing in town hall.

They debated the pros, cons, and many possible alternatives to the horse ordinance put forward by a committee that had worked with Marconi, after a hearing some months ago found fault with a regulation he’d proposed.

Among the concerns the selectmen said they’d look at are: a limitation on the number of horses allowed by a law already written to apply only to properties of 1.5 acres or less; whether to expand the ordinance so all “hooved animals” are regulated; whether to include Conservation Commission recommendations of 100 foot setbacks to watercourses and 75 foot setbacks to wetlands.

Paula Schmidt, a horse owner who had served on the committee, defended its efforts.

“The ordinance was meant for horses. It doesn’t include donkeys, sheep, bison,” she said. “This is not the task we were given.”