The Wellington Equestrian Preserve Committee voted Wednesday, April 4 to recommend that the Wellington Village Council approve the committee’s Equestrian Plan of Action that has been undergoing development since it was first discussed in 2010.
The committee’s goal is to set guidelines when it comes to equestrian growth and expansion in the village.
During the past two years, the committee has compiled the detailed plan to address the needs and issues experienced by the equestrian community, as well as the impact of the equestrian industry on surrounding areas.
Project Director Michael O’Dell explained the plan of action as the committee’s goals and milestones.
The committee narrowed down the plan of action to cover six key categories: community interdependence, economic impact, horse sports and tourism, land use, infrastructure and environmental management.
Within the plan, each category lists different questions raised about pressing matters within the community of equestrians and non-equestrians. Along with the possible concerns, there are recommendations provided by the committee.
The plan of action topics are not new subjects for the world of equestrians, or for the people of Wellington, but the committee’s objective is to create reliable structures that will set the foundation for a more organized way of approaching equestrian-related concerns, necessities and plans for the future.
O’Dell said that when transmitting this plan to the elected officials, “We can explain to them that this is your work product, that this document essentially lays out your work plan for the next couple of years.”
O’Dell went on to describe this as one step in many that will come, as hard work will follow the approval of the plan.
“You will have in-depth discussions on some of these matters, and some of the discussions will obviously come down to dollars and cents,” explained O’Dell, who said that the village hasn’t yet put dollars toward many of the items contained in the document, and part of the discussion will be the assemblage of what everything will cost and decisions on who will pay for it. “So, further discussion, fine-tuning, coming up with [recommendations] will then be ollowed by any costs associated with it.”
The committee approved the submission of the plan to the council by a 4-1 vote. New Committee Member Carlos Arellano said that he was not familiar enough with the plan to vote to approve it. Committee Chair Jane Cleveland requested that some minor errors be fixed before the plan was presented to the council.
The committee also heard comments from two residents who had concerns about the growing equestrian presence in Wellington.
Glen Fleisher expressed concerns over something he felt was missing from the land use section of the committee’s drafted action plan — the issue of landing planes.
“Horses and airplanes do not mix. While there is a specific project that brought this to my mind, as you think about the action plan, I think it’s really important to identify [what] we are going to do to preserve the reason why many of us are here,” said Fleisher, who asked that the plan not allow a land use that would conflict with the rural equestrian lifestyle. “We should not have airports, and certainly not jetports, in the preserve.”
Mike Nelson expressed his concern regarding clean water, noting that water from southern Wellington’s Basin B is now flowing through northern Wellington’s Basin A.
“The concern that I’ve had for years is that when Basin B failed to meet its water quality standards, they decided to re-plumb Wellington and take the Basin B water and force to go through Basin A,” he said. “We need to take care of the people who live in Basin A and the potential of pollution and harm to residents.”
Another matter briefly discussed by the committee was current construction at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The construction is for a temporary stadium, with a temporary arena polo and dressage ring with bleachers.
Planning, Zoning & Building Director Bob Basehart confirmed that the construction at IPC is in accordance with a land development permit.