Letter: Give New Council Some Credit

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to a Point of View column by Victor Connor published July 13.

While “two wrongs do not make a right,” it seems members on this council are simply slowing down the process to assess and re-evaluate, not trying to stalwart “good” safe equestrian development. Whether this is legal or the right thing to do is being debated. And whether Wellington’s equestrian future is important to the overall comprehensive plan vision is also under review.

If Wellington can only exist if there is a horse show, then we must question in the first place why Wellington exists and ignore the fact that Wellington is still one of the best master-planned communities in the country, with good schools, lots of parks, trails, recreation options and a year-round climate that is suited to an outdoor lifestyle, not to mention its equestrian zoning for horse-keeping in an almost urban community.

While I empathize with Mr. [Victor] Connor’s position and concern, I do not think individuals on the council are against the equestrian industry; they just don’t want to make a decision that will alter Wellington forever until they really evaluate the long-term costs and ramifications of the rapid fire decisions that were made over the last year. Regardless of their individual beliefs, perhaps naively, I believe our council is spending hours and hours of time trying to understand the issues and make good decisions that will best represent the whole community’s voice. The horse industry in general is not an easy industry to understand and can be very confusing, especially with so many experts voicing various opinions.

Let’s hope that through education, combined with reasonable and rational discussions, we can get through this as a community and use our differences to bring us together toward a common ground. We have some very creative and intelligent folks in our community who could be using their resources for good planning solutions to the number of issues and problems that are arising.

Equestrians communities are built around more than just a horse show, and while the current shows are generally supported by most equestrians and businesses associated with the horse industry, let’s not give up good planning, safe transportation, flood management, clean water and a mutually beneficial lifestyle for all residents. It is a sad statement of a community to have to spend its budget evaluating ethics and on lawsuits in the first place. But the decisions made now will affect Wellington’s future forever, good or bad. So “half halting” and making sure any development is done well and in compliance with the comprehensive plan may protect the village from future litigation and ensure a sustainable future.

The people who have voiced concern on both sides have passion for their beliefs and position, and it would be great if they could be directed toward creative solutions to move forward for the benefit of the whole community. If we cannot get along among ourselves as people who supposedly love horses and the equestrian lifestyle, certainly we are not going to get along with others of greater differences or as we face more serious challenges.

As Wellington equestrians, we should be able to resolve our differences and plan for a sustainable future that includes a broad set of values and goals and have open and transparent communication to keep people educated and informed. This is what the equestrian master plan process is supposed to do.

Today may be a struggle, but rarely is something great achieved easily. I commend all those who are willing to direct their energy and time to voice their opinions, give thoughtful ideas and discuss solutions. Let’s roll up our sleeves, stop fighting and work together as a community.

Mary Ann Simonds


  1. Let me answer some of your questions. Yes the ordinance as I understand it as proposed has some serious enforceability issues. And Yes, the Wellington economy does depend entirely on the equestrian sector.

    I also do not believe that the new members of the council want to destroy the equestrian economy of Wellington, but I do think that that new council members are environmental activists, and believe that the answer to every question is government, and that the only answer to official corruption in government is to create a new government agency.

    I came to Wellington in 1980’s and there was a polo field. That was it. Today there are thousands of horses. There is no other industry in town. By and large retail stores go out of business out of season when the horses leave. What’s that tell you? You don’t’ have to be an Austrian Economists to answer the question why is Wellington, Wellington. You just have to know your history.

    Let me see how clear I can make it. This economy is the result of over governance for the past 70 years. No democrat or republican is going to fix it overnight, or perhaps not at all. The natural and probable consequence is that the 1% who own horses and can still afford them will find someplace else to spend their money, if owning horses and operating a farm in Wellington is too costly.

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