Council will not change horse laws

West Milford. The Township Council will not act to change the existing ordinance regarding horse owners.

Aug 21 2019 | 12:32 PM

People who have horses on a non-conforming property can continue to sell it with the grandfathered right for new owners to continue that use there.

A proposal to change the current horse ordinance, established in 1988, did not have support when it was discussed at a recent Township Council meeting.

Two property owners living near existing residences with horses wanted the council to change the existing law so that when property is transferred to new owners it would revert to residential use with horses no longer allowed there.

“Every horse owner in the township is affected by this law,” Councilwoman Ada Erik said. “If the law were to be changed new property owners would lose grandfathered rights. Their property that had horses on it before they bought it could not continue as a horse farm and would revert to residential use only. Nothing is wrong with the current ordinance as it stands.”

Erik referred to herself as a horse person, and owner, and that her family has lived with horses on her Macopin Road property since 1929.

She said if the law was changed, as a small neighborhood minority had requested, her land would suddenly become non-conforming after horses were there for so many years.

It would revert back to being residential property and whoever bought it could not keep horses on it.

The spirited councilwoman recalled a fight she spearheaded and joined in back in 1988 to successfully kill an earlier attempt to ban horses.

She said the issue riled up the community at the time.

Other council members agreed with Erik at the recent meeting and said they were not interested in changing the ordinance.

She reported that two people had made several complaints each about people who already had horses.

She said one of the owners, who were the subject of complaints, has had horses forever, and when the woman’s property was inspected, the inspectors found no flies because her horses wear fly spray.

“Anyone with a horse has to abide by the New Jersey Waste Management Plan,” Erik said. “If they do not do so the state will shut them down."