Yet again this week, the Village of Wellington stepped back to re-litigate the past. It has been two and half years since the disputed 2012 election divided the community, but the fallout from that campaign remains. Thankfully, Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board passed on the opportunity to reopen the wound this week when it refused to accept an interpretation of village code put forward by members of the Jacobs family that would have left the future of the existing Equestrian Village dressage facility in doubt.
The Equestrian Village project as it now exists is just a small fraction of the much grander plan put forward by Wellington Equestrian Partners before the 2012 election. Plans for a condo hotel, retail space and other amenities were denied by the newly seated council after it took office. However, when some on the council then took aim at the existing dressage facility, many in the community cried foul. Eventually, a complicated settlement was reached that allowed the dressage facility to continue and most of the lawsuits to end.
But the drama that played out in a courtroom on Monday and at the Wellington Municipal Complex on Wednesday is a reminder that some of the lawsuits continue. In fact, the quasi-judicial zoning board hearing is just a warm-up for a court challenge on similar grounds.
While we appreciate that there are people in the community who are unhappy with how the Equestrian Village situation played out, the time for re-fighting old wars has long since passed. Wellington must move forward as one community, and that can’t happen if the same divisive issues, long since settled, keep cropping up.