The process for obtaining a special-use permit was again called into question by members of the Wellington Village Council last week.
The discussion was prompted by requests from the Ridge and Mida farms for a special-use permit to host several shows this equestrian season.
“The council already approved a similar permit several months ago,” Long Range Planning Director Tim Stillings said. “This was brought before you because it’s more than four days and two times a year.”
Vice Mayor Howard Coates noted that the first time the issue came before the council, there was a question whether the permit was necessary.
“At one point they were told they need one, but that changed,” he said. “Are we back again with there still being confusion as to whether it was necessary? I don’t want there being flouting of permit requirements, but I understand the confusion that arises.”
Stillings said that after the council approved the permits earlier this year, there were a few additional dates that needed to be added. “A few dates came out at that meeting, and we said that we need to get those in before you as well,” he said.
Though village staff tried to put the issue on the agenda in February, it got moved to March due to insufficient notice.
Coates said he was concerned because some of the dates on the permit had passed already.
“I have a problem with chronology of this, where it didn’t get back to us, it’s already occurred and we’re being asked to ratify something that’s occurred,” he said. “By the time you learned about this, you couldn’t get it back to us before the show dates?”
Stillings said it was not possible because of notification rules.
Coates said that was cause for concern.
“I understand that situation,” he said. “But, boy, if we go too far down that path, it seems like it could be a problem.”
Councilwoman Anne Gerwig noted that there were two properties being discussed: the Ridge and Mida Farms.
“One of the properties [the Ridge] had show dates before and weren’t aware they would need a permit,” she said.
Village Manager Paul Schofield noted that permitting changes this season meant the Ridge needed a permit, though in the past it had not.
And Stillings said that Mida Farms originally planned only two shows, but because they chose to have more, the council needed to approve the special-use permit.
Coates asked whether Wellington’s permitting process was the issue.
“Do we have timing issues for our requirements for special-use applications?” he asked. “Normally, the event should not have occurred by the time it gets to us for approval, right?”
Stillings said that the process itself wasn’t necessarily the problem, but that applicants needed to be sure to apply for a permit far enough in advance. “Assuming the application gets in on time, it isn’t a problem,” he said.
Schofield said he didn’t think this would continue to be a problem next season.
“Our rules on special permits changed during this season,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll see these kinds of bumps next year. This is not the first time the Ridge has done these shows, but they hadn’t needed a permit before. Next year when they come in, the permit will better reflect the kinds of schooling shows they do.”
Coates asked whether they’d still have to come before the council.
Schofield said it would if the event was more than four days, but Coates said he thought that was unnecessary.
“These used to be approved at a staff level, right?” he asked. “I don’t see a need to constantly come back before the council.”
But Coates said that could be addressed at another time.
He made a motion to approve the permits, which passed unanimously.
ABOVE: The Wellington Village Council.