Wellesley council will be heading to the Ontario Municipal Board after Ervin Albrecht appealed the council’s decision to deny a bylaw amendment which would allow him to keep two horses on his Ament Line property.
Township planner Geoff Vanderbaaren recommended they allow a temporary-use bylaw to let him keep the horses, but the motion was lost in a 3-2 vote when councillors Carl Smit, Shelley Wagner and Herb Neher opposed the motion.
Wagner said she had misgivings about allowing him to keep the horses at his home in the Linwood settlement area.
“I still think he was aware when he purchased the property that these horses weren’t going to be permitted,” Wagner said. “I fully understand that the OMB could overrule that, but I think we’re opening a can of worms if we change our decision.”
The OMB hearing will take one day, with the resultant legal fees non-recoverable even if the decision is upheld.
Major Joe Nowak voted in favour of allowing the bylaw change.
“I’d just like to point out this is going to cost the taxpayers in the vicinity of $12,000. That should always be a concern,” Nowak said.
But Smit expressed concern about the precedent.
“I think it’s going to cost us a lot more if we keep allowing this.”
Neighbourhood concerns at the September meeting revolved around efficient clean up of horse manure and a potential drop in real estate values. The property in question is at 5209 Ament Line and the horses are Albrecht’s primary means of transportation.
Neher was vehemently opposed to allowing him to keep his horses at his property at the first meeting, questioning if council would even consider this if it were in downtown St. Clements or Wellesley.
The issue was first brought to council in July and Albrecht planned to build a 400-square-foot extension on to an existing garage to house the horses. Vanderbaaren suggested restrictions back in July if council were to pass the bylaw amendment, including at least 15 feet of space between the proposed barn and neighbouring homes, and regulation on manure.
Residents previously suggested he keep the horses at a nearby church, which Albrecht said he was open to. In his appeal he has suggested no changes to his original proposal.