The stuff hitting the pavement was the stuff hitting the fan this week, as Wellesley council dealt with complaints about horse manure on township roads.
Following up on a presentation last fall, Linwood residents Dave Bax and James Dorscht were in council chambers Tuesday night to hear the township’s reply to their pleas for tidier streets. The response they got wasn’t satisfactory, but officials did agree to continue to investigate options.
The issue dates back to September when Bax approached council with concerns about horse droppings on public roads and facilities where horse-drawn buggies are tethered. He spoke of debris on roadways, noting the accumulation of manure on roads could cause additional maintenance costs over time. He also pointed to the possibility horse droppings could spread disease or encourage flies.
However, a report produced by the planning and development committee presented at this week’s council meeting refuted Bax’s concerns. The report stresses that no major human disease outbreak has ever been attributed to horse manure. Likewise, manure has never been known to have any effect on the longevity or lifecycle of asphalt roads.
In addition to the investigation by the planning committee, Mayor Ross Kelterborn and Coun. Herb Neher met last fall with representatives from the community that make use of horse-drawn vehicles.
“We didn’t tell [the owners of horses and buggies] to do anything,” explained Kelterborn. “We let them know that there was a concern about the particular problem and it was up to them to determine what they wanted to do.”
Ideas outlined in the report included having buggy drivers stop to scoop up manure, providing clean-up stations with shovels and bins at various locations and the use of manure-catching attachments for the horses. All were dismissed as too costly, inconvenient or dangerous.
Presented with the report this week, Bax said he is not satisfied. He has created a counter-report of his own, alongside a plea for councillors to reconsider.
“I was disappointed in the report. [The planning committee] recommended that we do nothing about it, and I really hope the council can reconsider the issue.”
At the meeting, Neher addressed several possible options to solve the problem, but none seemed to be beneficial to both the complainants and the owners of the buggies.
Councillors agreed to consider the issue and discuss potential solutions at their Mar. 16 meeting.