Hei­del­berg man can keep horses on his prop­erty

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - VERON­ICA REINER

A HORSE IS A horse, of course, of course ... un­less it’s housed in a set­tle­ment area, at which point it be­comes some­thing of a con­tro­versy.

Chang­ing course from its de­nial of a pre­vi­ous re­quest by a res­i­dent to keep a horse within an ur­ban area, Wellesley coun­cil this week ap­proved just such an ar­range­ment for a Hei­del­berg prop­erty.

In a split de­ci­sion, coun­cil­lors meet­ing Tues­day night ap­proved a zon­ing by­law amend­ment to per­mit the hous­ing of up to three horses and the stor­age of bug­gies at 3058 Lob­singer Line, owned by Isaac We­ber. The move also re­duces the usual min­i­mum dis­tance sep­a­ra­tion (MDS) re­quire­ments between the horse en­clo­sure and nearby res­i­dences.

Coun. Shel­ley Wag­ner was vo­cal in her op­po­si­tion to the plan, how­ever.

“I do have an is­sue with it. I think that the Town­ship of Wellesley has been very clear in the past with some of the de­ci­sions in re­gards to horses within the set­tle­ment ar­eas. More re­cently, a cou­ple of years ago, we stated it was not neces-

sar­ily what we want to see. I think we’re open­ing up a can of worms by al­low­ing it,” she said, not­ing res­i­dents should be aware of the re­stric­tions on keep­ing horses if mov­ing from the coun­try­side into one of the vil­lages.

“I think most peo­ple know that we have the by­law. I think when you’re pur­chas­ing in our town­ship, you pretty much know them.”

Mayor Joe Nowak, how­ever, ar­gued against a blan­ket re­stric­tion on horses used for trans­porta­tion.

“I think you have to look at th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis,” said Nowak in re­sponse. “I think the one that maybe you’re re­fer­ring to was a dif­fer­ent set of cir­cum­stances. It was closer to the core area. This one, in my opin­ion, is back onto agri­cul­tural land; you prob­a­bly won’t even see it from the road. I don’t think it’s go­ing to have an im­pact on any­one in the im­me­di­ate area. I don’t think it’s set­ting a prece­dent be­cause you al­ways deal with th­ese things on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis. And you re­act to the peo­ple that live around; if there’s a sig­nif­i­cant con­cern, you’d step back and take a closer look at it. But that isn’t the case in this sit­u­a­tion. For that rea­son, I sup­port it.”

While look­ing for some con­trols, Coun. Herb Ne­her down­played the pos­si­bil­ity the de­ci­sion would set a prece­dent and open up the flood­gates to nu­mer­ous sim­i­lar re­quests.

“To my knowl­edge, in the 12 years that I’ve been here, we’ve only had two sit­u­a­tions like this,” said Ne­her. “So it’s not like this is an out­burst where all of a sud­den they’re go­ing to in­vade with horse and bug­gies in the town­ship. To not leave any wig­gle room for peo­ple to make that choice, that de­ci­sion, to say out­right no in each case, I would have a prob­lem with that, per­son­ally.”

The sec­tion of land in ques­tion is a mix of both com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, lo­cated near For­well’s Va­ri­ety and Stemm­ler’s Meats and Cheese, and close to many other res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties. The com­mer­cial set­tle­ment zone of the prop­erty does not ex­plic­itly al­low for horses or other live­stock.

Direc­tor of plan­ning Ge­off Vaan­derBaaren pro­posed a set of four con­di­tions to make the use per­mis­si­ble, cit­ing the by­laws of Perth County and how it is typ­i­cally dealt with there.

“The horse must be the pri­mary means of trans­porta­tion for the ap­pli­cant,” said Vaan­derBaaren. “If this by­law gets amended, that it’s not open­ing up for any type of live­stock on the farm. It has to be their pri­mary means of trans­porta­tion.

“Any ma­nure has to be stored in­side the build­ing and then re­moved at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. That would be in a one- to two-week time­frame, and they’d have to move it off to a farm prop­erty some­where. The build­ing con­tain­ing the horse and ma­nure should be set back at least as high as the build­ing is. We want this more or less cen­tred on the prop­erty as far as we can from any other types of uses. As for the MDS re­quire­ment; it just can’t be net here, so we have to ex­empt it be­cause it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily ap­ply. The by­law amend­ment would in­clude those four con­di­tions that I have just gone through.”

Af­ter more de­lib­er­a­tion, the zone change was passed 4-1.

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