Equestrian Committee Reaffirms Rejection Of Comp Plan Input

The Wellington Municipal Complex.

At a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 3, Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Committee reiterated its objections to part of the village’s ongoing revisions to its comprehensive plan.

For several months, the board has been reviewing parts of the comprehensive plan, which provides the aspirational goals and objectives for the community over the next 10 to 20 years. The plan is currently going through a complete overhaul.

The different parts of the plan are going through several rounds of staff input, public input and input from the village’s advisory boards before heading to the Wellington Village Council for final approval.

At issue for the Equestrian Preserve Committee is a standoff between committee members and village staff regarding the use of certain wording. While village staff intended to submit the committee’s advice, it also plans to submit its own.

This became a problem last month, as staff wants to recommend the use of the word “exurban” when describing the Equestrian Preserve Area, along with the committee’s recommendation not to use the word “exurban.”

“Exurban” is a planning term that typically refers to an area outside the suburban portion of a metropolitan area, but not quite rural in nature. Staff feels it is an apt way to describe Wellington’s equestrian areas, but several committee members strongly object to the term.

To call attention to its objections, the committee refused to approve its own changes to the plan at its January meeting, and reaffirmed that decision at the Feb. 3 meeting.

Committee Member Haakon Gangnes complained that there was not an accompanying letter or document that went with the minutes from the previous meeting explaining why they failed to approve their comments on the comp plan.

“Our recommendations will be buried in 800 pages and never get read by the council,” worried Committee Member Annabelle Garrett, justifying the action.

“If you’re not going to do what we say, why are we here?” Committee Member Carlos Arellano asked.

Committee Chair Jane Cleveland also pointed out that the committee had, at the meeting last month, decided to reverse its position on the widening of some roads to four lanes.

The original change had been in response to previously requested input from horse show venue operators. The operators requested that the village make the transportation to and from events more efficient to compete with other markets. But at the January meeting, after hearing public input that road widening could bring cut-through traffic, the committee reversed itself on the issue.

The committee decided to take the action of attending the upcoming Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board meeting, which reviews the comp plan changes next, and then also attend the Wellington Village Council meeting to make sure their voices are heard regarding use of the word “exurban” and the recommendation not to widen the roads.