Scarborough gives beach horseback riders a reprieve

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SCARBOROUGH — Equestrians will have an extra year to obtain horse diapers and train their horses before an ordinance limiting access to the beach goes into effect.

The Town Council Nov. 1 also approved requiring gender-neutral language in town ordinances. 

Councilors voted 7-0 to delay until Oct. 1, 2018, implementation of an ordinance requiring equestrians to strap manure containment bags on their horses if they ride on the beach.

Horses are permitted on Pine Point Beach and neighboring Old Orchard Beach Oct. 1-March 31 with a $20 reciprocal permit from either town.

Councilors at their Sept. 6 meeting initially voted unanimously to amend the Horse Beach Permit Ordinance to require riders to attach “a containment device to the rear of each and every horse so operated.”

No one spoke out against the ordinance change. However, weeks later, a horse owner became aware of the requirement when purchasing a permit and word then spread quickly about the proposal: on Oct. 4, 10 people asked the council to reconsider the ordinance. 

They said the containment bags are not available in Maine, many of their saddles could not accommodate the bags, and their horses would need training.

The delay of implementation received preliminary approval Oct. 18. A handful of equestrians spoke in favor of delaying the ordinance and also asked the council to reconsider. 

Four residents who regularly attend council meeting were at Wednesday’s short meeting, which lasted about 34 minutes. 

Councilor Kate St. Clair said she hopes Old Orchard Beach will work with  Scarborough to align the town ordinances.

St. Clair expressed her frustration with Old Orchard Beach, which required the bags on its beach before the two towns adopted reciprocal licensing in 2009. She said the town should have worked with Scarborough. 

Councilor William Donovan told his colleagues that the ordinance committee will discuss how to keep the beach clean, as well as beach passes for out-of-town permit-holders, at the ordinance committee meeting Nov. 2.  

In other business, the council decided the wording in 35 ordinances should be gender neutral.

The Planning Board unanimously recommended the language change at its Oct. 30 meeting.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

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  • tolersence

    Local government has lost it’s marbles – diapers for horses?? Why not build a giant horseapotty or portapony and they can train them to go on demand.