Town council OKs horses in town … with restrictions

By Chrysta Carroll -

ELIZABETHTOWN — After a public hearing on Monday, the Elizabethtown Town Council gave its OK to an amendment that will allow horses on private property inside the city limits.

Town Manager Eddie Madden said that he was recently approached by a prospective buyer who wanted to know if he would be allowed to have horses on the property that he was interested in purchasing. Elizabethtown’s current code prohibits animals except for domesticated dogs and cats, and guidelines exist even for those.

“I did some research, and found a number of communities around us that allow for horses, but with strict parameters,” said Madden. “We thought very carefully about (the consequences), and borrowed … from other policies to develop one of our own that would allow for a few horses inside the city limits.”

The proposal would allow for one horse for the first 5 acres of fenced-in pasture and one horse per fenced-in acre thereafter, not to exceed 10 horses. Properties in question must be zoned residential/agricultural, and annual permits would be required for each horse. In addition to other restrictions, equines would have to be kept at least 100 feet from a residence, school, church, or restaurant within the city limits, and any horse dwelling must be 50 feet from adjoining property.

“These types of restrictions, which are basic, commonplace restrictions, are in place to protect residential areas,” explained Madden. He told the board that with the proposed restrictions, only a few properties inside the city limits would even meet the criteria for housing horses.

The property which caused the issue to be raised adjoins Elizabethtown Primary School.

In other business, the council:

— Approved an updated 2016-2020 Capital Improvement Plan in order to satisfy grant applications and to be used as a guide for future projects.

—Heard the proposed fiscal year 2016-17 budget. Under the proposed budget, the tax rate would remain the same, as would water rates, but sewer rates would be increased in order to continue qualification for grants and to reflect Waste Industries’ inflation increase. The proposed budget is $6,181,911, compared to last year’s budget of $6,507,254. A public hearing will be held on the proposed budget at the regularly scheduled council meeting on June 6 at 7 p.m.

— Councilman Dicky Glenn commented to Police Chief Tony Parrish about the number of law enforcement personnel who make u-turns downtown.

— Agreed to discontinue the contract with the town’s current leaf and limb collector after numerous complaints. The effective date of the change is still being negotiated.

— Heard from Madden that public wi-fi has been installed at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market and should be accessible in the downtown area immediately. Visitors to the downtown area can log onto the “etownguest” account.

— Heard that WECT has installed a camera on top of the Corner Cafe with live feed to their station, so viewers may begin seeing downtown Elizabethtown on the nightly news.

— Received the Seven Seals Award for its support of the town’s employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserve.

— Approved proclamations recognizing May 15-21 as National Police Week and May as Older Americans Awareness Month.

— Approved a contract for janitorial services with Butler’s Up Cleaning.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Chrysta Carroll

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